Compression stockings

Compression stockings are used to support the venous and lymphatic systems of the leg. They offer graduated compression where maximum compression is achieved at the ankle and decreases as you move up the leg. This compression, when combined with the muscle pump effect of the calf, aids in circulating blood and lymph fluid through the legs.

Today, compression stockings are available in a wide range of opacities, colors, styles and sizes, making them virtually indistinguishable from regular hosiery or socks.

Indications for use

Compression classes

Compression stockings are constructed using elastic fibers or rubber. These fibers help compress the limb, aiding in circulation.

Compression stockings are offered in different levels of compression. The unit of measure used to classify the pressure of the stockings is mmHg. They are often sold in one of the following pressure ranges:

Support - over-the-counter

  • 10-15 mmHg
  • 15-20 mmHg

With the advice or prescription of a physician or medical professional and proper sizing from a trained fitter.

  • 20-30 mmHg
  • 30-40 mmHg
  • 40-50 mmHg
  • 50+ mmHg

Compression levels used by some manufacturers for custom made, flat knitted products in the US. Also used in Europe.

  • 18-21 mmHg
  • 23-32 mmHg
  • 34-46 mmHg
  • >50 mmHg


  • Knee-high (AD)
  • Thigh-high (AG)
  • Pantyhose (AT)

Commonly used terms for compression stockings

  • Anti-embolism - Worn when non-ambulatory or post-surgical to help prevent pooling of blood in the legs that could lead to a venous thrombosis.
  • Custom - uniquely made for a specific individual.
  • Circular Knit - Seamless stockings that offer greater aesthetic appeal.
  • Flat Knit - Stockings made with a seam that can be constructed in virtually any shape or size. Most often used in higher compression classes.
  • Silver - Stockings constructed using special silver textile fibers. Silver offers natural anti-microbial protection.
  • Lymphedema - compression stockings used to manage edema resulting from the onset of Lymphedema
  • Support - mild compression stockings sold over-the-counter and without a physician's prescription

See also

External links

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