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How to Choose Compression stockings

Gradient compression stockings help relieve achy legs and manage medical conditions like leg swelling, varicose veins, lymphoedema and leg ulcers. These stockings are also used to prevent deep vein thrombosis.

Compression stockings are useful at different stages of life: when pregnant; recovering from surgery; if you are on your feet for a long period of time; or elderly with slowing mobility.

Gradient compression stockings apply greater pressure at the ankle, with gradually reduced pressure as the stockings go up the legs. This gradient pressure helps improve circulation.

Which one is right for me?

1.    Compression stockings come in different lengths including knee-high, thigh-high and waist-high.Knee-high socks are generally easier to use. As thigh-high stockings reach over the knee to the mid-thigh, they can cause discomfort with increased tightness or risk of falling down. Both knee-high and thigh-high compression stockings have the same function – to help to improve the circulation of blood through the legs, and to prevent varicose veins and/or deep vein blood clots in the legs. 

2.    You may also choose between closed toe and open toe styles

3.    Determine the level of compression needed to manage your condition.Ideally, consult with your health care professional so you can correctly choose what's right for you. They may even give you a prescription. You want compression socks that feel supportive and comfortable.  Compression ranges vary:

    • moderate compression is about 15-21 mmHg,
    • firm compression is about 20-32 mmHg.

When to wear compression stockings

  • Compression stockings should be worn first thing in the morning and taken off at night. When not wearing compression stockings, the legs should be elevated by a pillow or cushion to keep blood flowing appropriately.
  • Some people will have to wear compression stockings for the rest of their lives if they suffer from conditions such as lymphedema, varicose veins and venous ulcers.
  • Compression stockings are ideal during pregnancy as they significantly reduce feet swelling.

Measuring for Support Stockings:

Measuring is ideally done at the beginning of the day.

1.    Start with the smallest part of the leg---the ankle circumference. Measure the ankle just above the ankle bone (malleolus).

2.    Measure the calf at its largest circumference.

3.    Measure the thigh at the point of largest circumference. You'll need to stand up to take this measurement.

4.    Measure the length of your entire leg. Based on your preferences for compression stocking style, you have two options in taking this measurement: if you prefer knee-high stockings, run the measuring tape from the back of your knee to the base of your heel. For thigh-high stockings, stand up and measure from the top of your thigh to the base of your heel. (You may need assistance to measure the length of your leg for thigh-high compression stockings.)


Circumference (cm)

SMALL

MEDIUM

LARGE

X-LARGE

cBAnkle

19-23

23-26

26-29

29-31

cCMid-calf

29-39

33-42

36-45

39-47

cDBelow the knee

28-38

32-41

35-44

38-46

cGThigh

48-63

54-67

58-72

63-74

 

 

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