3 STEPS TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT COMPRESSION SOCKS
There are so many different compression socks, lots of people don’t konw how to choose the right one. We have been certified by IAF to design, develop, produce and serve on medical compression socks, so let us tell you the answer!
Step 1: Choose your Compression
8-15 mmHg Mild pressure, used for proactive leg health — Compression strength for preventative care.
15-20 mmHg Moderate pressure, common starting point for first time wear — Compression strength for minor conditions. Great for daily wear, travel, and sports, these easy to wear compression stockings help improve circulation without being too tight on your legs
20-30 mmHg Firm pressure, typically used when recommended by a certified fitter or healthcare provider — Compression strength for pronounced medical symptoms. Ideal for varicose veins, spider veins, swelling (edema) and after surgery. You don’t have to have a condition to wear 20-30 mmHg. People looking for a bit more support than the 15-20 mmHg usually choose to wear 20-30 mmHg.
30-40 mmHg Extra-Firm pressure, used only when prescribed by a doctor — Compression strength for severe medical conditions. This stronger level of compression is recommended for blood clots (DVT), lymphedema, severe swelling (edema), severe varicose veins and post surgery.
Pro tip: What does "mmHg" stand for?
The medical abbreviation "mmHg" stands for "millimeters of Mercury", which is a unit of measurement for pressure. It’s the same unit of measure when you take your blood pressure. Compression stockings use a range for how much pressure it provides because the compression changes depending on your size.
Step 2: Choose if you want a sock or a stocking
Knee High - stops below the knee
Knee high compression socks stop below the bend of your knee, just past the curvature of your calf. Though some compression socks or stockings are stretchy enough to pull up over your knee, please do not do so. Pulling your knee highs over your knee might cause them to roll or slide down, which is uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous depending on your condition and the compression you’re wearing.
Thigh High - worn at the top of the thigh
Thigh high compression stockings cover your entire leg, stopping at the top of your thigh, below the fold of the buttock. Thigh high compression stockings are made to cover your entire thigh because it is intended to improve circulation throughout your entire leg.
Pantyhose / Waist High / Maternity Pantyhose - also includes Plus size pantyhose
Waist high (pantyhose, maternity pantyhose & Men’s leotard) compression stockings have both legs connected by a torso portion. Waist high compression stockings are able to bring swelling up and out of your legs through your hips. This is a key distinction between waist high and thigh high compression stockings. For women, maternity (or plus size) pantyhose have a highly expandable belly portion.
Which one do I pick?
The general rule of thumb is to ask yourself where the affected area is on your legs. If you have swelling only in your ankles, then a knee high sock should be sufficient. If you have swelling on or above the knee, consider a thigh high or pantyhose / waist high compression stocking.
Step 3: Choose what style to wear
Materials that are opaque leggings or like a Men's dress socks
These "middle of the road" fabrics are the most common and are ideal for both men and women because they are comfortable, easy to wear and are strong enough to provide enough compression to your legs. Opaque fabrics are more durable than sheer stockings and are ideal for after surgery, varicose veins and swelling.
Sheer fabric styles for Women
Sheer materials are lightweight, transparent and fashionable. Available from all our brands, sheer compression stockings make compression easy to pair with any stylish wardrobe. Sometimes, sheer fabrics do not provide as much containment for swelling and are less durable against snags and runs. The trade off here is that Sheer styles look better, but are not as durable or in some cases effective.
Sports materials that are high tech blend, cotton or wool
Compression socks for running or sports are made of durable materials that control heat and moisture. Because of demanding wear and tear use, sport materials are constructed differently to increase durability. Sport and casual compression socks are still a great choice as a daily wear socks for post surgery, varicose veins, spider veins and swelling. However, these sport materials are generally only available in lower compression levels such as 15-20 mmHg and 20-30 mmHg. For conditions that require 30-40 mmHg or higher compression, opaque fabrics with strong containment is recommended.