What are the different levels of compression hosiery?

Anyone who wants a little relief from aching legs may be able to find it in compression hosiery. Some medical conditions need firmer support than others to provide relief for swollen and aching legs. The degree of compression is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) just like air pressure is measured. No matter which grade of support a pair of knee high stockings can provide a great deal of relief.

Light Compression (8-15 mm Hg)

This is the lightest degree of compression. Almost anyone who has tired, aching legs from standing all day can use this amount of compression. It can help your legs to feel much more rested and comfortable after a long day.

This is also a very useful amount of pressure for diabetics. If there is not a great deal of swelling in the legs, this light pressure can promote better circulation and may help prevent ulcers. If you are diabetic it is important to consult with your doctor before deciding to use any degree of compression.

Moderate Compression (15-20 mm Hg)

Moderate compression is most commonly used for travelers who have to sit or stand for long periods of time. Using compression products during long (around 8 hours) plane or care rides can help prevent minor swelling and general fatigue associated with sitting on one position for long periods of time.

This amount of compression can also help relieve the symptoms of mild varicose veins. Moderate compression can also help pregnant women combat fluid retention and swollen ankles that are a common complaint during late pregnancy.

These are also used after patients undergo sclerotherapy in order to treat spider and varicose veins. They can support the veins that have been treated as well as helping to prevent the development of other spider veins.

Firm Compression (20-30 mm Hg)

Firm compression is most commonly recommended by doctors and is useful for more severe cases of varicose veins. Firm compression can prevent blood clots in the veins (deep vein thrombosis). It is also helpful in treating many types of swelling, such as lymphedema.

People who will be flying for an extended (more than 12 hours) period of time may need more support to counteract the swelling that comes from the hours of forced immobility.

Who Shouldn’t Use Compression Hosiery

Compression hosiery can be a great help to anyone who is suffering from problems with their vein returning the blood to the heart. If a patient is suffering from the opposite problem, difficulty delivering blood to the limbs, compression hosiery is not recommended. Because it provides constriction it can decrease blood flow to the feet. Also, congestive heart failure is a condition that can be exacerbated by the use of compression stockings. Anyone with heart issues should confer with their doctor before using compression stockings.

Compression stockings can provide relief to anyone who suffers from tired, heavy feeling legs. If you have a vascular condition that you think would be helped by some type of compression stocking consult your doctor. He or she can tell you which grade of compression will give you the best results.