What is Compression?

When you hear "compression support hose," what do you think? Most people associate the term with those ugly white medical stockings they make you wear in the hospital. But when it comes to knowledge about what purpose they actually serve or when they are needed, many people – even some medical professionals – just don't know too much about them. So what do compression stockings actually do for you, besides make you look like you belong in the hospital? Is compression an outdated method that has been replaced by more recent technology? Surprisingly, it is quite the opposite. Compression has been refined over the years to be more comfortable and fashionable such that it is much easier to incorporate into your lifestyle. Let’s take a look at where compression started and how far it has advanced today.

TED Hose

A brief history of compression:

If you have heard the term "TED hose" before, then you are most likely familiar with the generic white medical stockings we talked about earlier. About 25 years ago, everything was essentially referred to as TED hose. These "support" stockings had a light, consistent compression throughout and was meant for bed-ridden patients to aid in circulation and prevent ulcers. While this is good for patients who are sedentary, a low and consistent compression is not effective for ambulatory patients.

Graduated Compression

Over time the industry leaders found that graduated – or gradient – compression is more effective. This means the stocking is tightest beginning at the ankle, and lessens as it goes up the leg. The idea behind it is to promote the unidirectional flow of blood back up to the heart, so as to avoid venous disease. Ever since then, compression stockings have been revolutionized and modernized to fit anyone's lifestyle.

So what is compression like now?

Sigvaris Running Sleeves

Compression has come a long way and is quickly becoming a part of many peoples' lifestyles. Now more than ever people are beginning to realize that maintaining leg health is a crucial component to overall well-being, right up there with diet and regular exercise. The industry leaders recognize this fact, so they have worked extremely hard to make compression more of a fashion statement, as opposed to a medical necessity. Now compression stockings come in all different styles and colors suitable for both men and women. There are different options for casual wear, dressing up, and even for sports. You may have already seen some runners with the bright colored sleeves and wondered what they are. They're not just leg warmers; they're compression running sleeves. Regardless of what you do on a daily basis, everyone can use compression (although please do be careful, there are some medical conditions in which compression is not appropriate, so talk to your doctor first!) If you ever feel like your legs are fatigued at the end of the day, compression just might be your answer. Try it out today and let us know what you think. LegSmart is a team of certified compression fitters and we are all very knowledgeable about leg health and compression. Contact our Customer Care Team if you have any questions!