Measuring for Compression Stockings
By: LegSmart - November 18, 2011

Getting the correct measurements for compression stockings is one of the most important aspects to achieving a good fit. Some compression socks size using your shoe size. However most require simple measurements from your leg.

LegSmart encourages proper fitting because the compression stocking will apply its compression more effectively on the leg and it will be more comfortable when wearing.

This tutorial will guide you step by step in how to measure for compression stockings.

It is recommended that you take these measurements in the morning because it will help avoid your measurements being biased by swelling.

If you have a tape measure, great! If not, use some string and measure the string with a ruler. It is also encouraged that you write down these measurements on a notepad.

LegSmart Customer Care team members are all trained and certified in compression fittings. If you ever need help with your sizing or measurements, feel free to call or email us with your measurements and we can find the right size for you!

Let's start measuring!

Step 1) Ankle circumference

Measure the ankle in the smallest part of the ankle, just above the ankle bone.

Measure the ankle circumference

LegSmart Pro Tip: If the foot is swollen, measure the circumference above the foot to the heel (red line). This diagonal measurement will determine whether or not you will be able to get your compression stocking or sock over your heel when there is swelling in the foot. If this diagonal measurement is 4 inches greater than your ankle measurement, you will experience some difficulty when putting on your compression stocking. Sometimes you might not be able to get the stocking on at all. If this is the case, you will need to put on your compression stockings when your foot is less swollen.

Step 2) Calf circumference

Measure the largest part of the calf. You may need to search for the largest part of the calf by measuring above and below the middle of the calf.

Measure the largest circumference of the calf

LegSmart Pro Tip: When measuring your legs, make sure that your tape measure is straight. A twisted or crooked tape measure will get inaccurate measurements.

Step 3) Knee length

For the knee high compression stocking, measure from the back of the bend of knee to the floor behind your heel. Do not wear shoes as you will get an inaccurate measurement.

Measure the length of your lower leg

LegSmart Pro Tip: When measuring the back of the knee, make sure that you are measuring below the bend of the knee. Measuring too high or too close the bend of the knee may result in a sock that is a bit too long for your lower leg. Please pay attention to this detail, especially if your length measurement is right on the edge of the Short and Long lengths.

Step 4) Thigh circumference

Measure the largest part of the thigh at the top.

Measure the largest circumference of the thigh

Step 5) Thigh length

For thigh high or waist high (pantyhose, maternity/plus size and leotard), measure the length of leg from the top of the thigh to floor behind the heel.

Measure the thigh length

Congratulations!

You're now ready to find your size in the sizing charts using your measurements.

Quick Reference

Knee Highs

  • Ankle circumference: Measure the circumference of your ankle just above the ankle bone.
  • Calf circumference: Measure the largest circumference of your calf. This is not necessarily at the middle of your calf. Sometimes you need to hunt for it.
  • Knee length: Measure the length of your lower leg. Sitting with your foot on the floor (no shoes), measure from the floor next to your heel, up to right below the bend of the knee. Take this measurement on the inside of your leg.

Thigh Highs and Waist Highs (Pantyhose, Maternity/Plus size, Leotard)

  • Ankle circumference: Measure the circumference of your ankle just above the ankle bone.
  • Calf circumference: Measure the largest circumference of your calf. This is not necessarily at the middle of your calf. Sometimes you need to hunt for it.
  • Thigh circumference: Measure the largest part of your thigh at the very top of your thigh.
  • Thigh length: Measure the length of your total leg. You may need someone to help you with this measurement. Standing without shoes, measure from the floor up to the top of your thigh, below the fold of the buttock. This is just like measuring your inseam. Take this measurement on the inside or behind your leg. You might knee someone to help you with this measurement.

Shoe Size and Height

  • It's also helpful to note your shoe size and height.
  • Shoe size: If you have size 14 feet, then it's recommended to consider an open toe compression stocking to prevent your toes from feeling cramped. Unless the sock specifically indicates the size of the foot, people with long feet should be aware.
  • Height: Height plays a role in the length of the leg and is a good way to check if your length measurements are consistent with your height. For example: If you're 6' 2" and are considering purchasing a "short" or "petite" length compression stocking, consider double checking your length measurements.

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About LegSmart

LegSmart has been helping customers with Compression Socks and Stockings since 2006 and is made up of a dedicated team of Certified Compression Fitting Specialists. We're fully trained in all ready-made and custom compression garments for all kinds of leg health issues. We strive to be the most knowledgeable team of Compression Fitters on the web and we hope that you enjoy the free resources on our blog.