Frequently Asked Questions

Get some help from our online Frequently Asked Questions. Many of these questions were from emails that our customers sent us and we thought they might help you too.

Q: How can compression stockings help me?

A: Blood returning from your legs must overcome gravity to return to the heart and lungs, where it is re-oxygenated and travels to the brain, vital organs and the rest of the body. Blood circulation to the legs is often affected when people stand or sit for long periods of time and when people age.

This is a common problem in our modern world when long flights, desk jobs and long standing jobs are a part of everyday life. Problems that could arise from poor circulation may include, aching, swelling, stiffness and weakness in the legs and feet. These signals can become more serious in some individuals and develop into varicose veins or Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Compression stockings boosts your circulation and helps support your veins. Increased blood flow in your veins means more oxygen and nutrients flowing to your legs.

Q: How do compression stockings and socks work?

A: Compression stockings put graduated pressure on the legs to help increase circulation and venous return. The compression socks and stockings are graduated in compression, which means that the amount of pressure applied by the stocking to your leg at your ankles is the greatest, and then becomes lighter as you move up the leg. Compression stockings usually apply 100% of their strength at the ankle, about 70% of their strength at the calf, and 30% of their strength at the thigh. These strengths and percentages vary depending on the level of compression and manufacturer.

Compression stockings come in different levels of compression (15-20 mmHg, 20-30 mmHg, 30-40 mmHg, etc). The stocking will support your legs more or less depending on the level of compression. The various levels of compression are used for different symptoms and leg health issues.

Q: What is the difference between anti-embolism stockings (TED) and compression stockings?

A: Anti-embolism stockings, or TED hose, are intended for non-ambulatory patients. This means that the individual is not mobile, lying flat on a bed. TED hose are virtually ineffective for an individual who is walking, standing and sitting. Compression stockings are made especially for individuals who are mobile and are much more effective than TED hose.

Q: How do I know which level of compression is right for me?

A: There are many levels of compression that compression stockings come in and they are all for different purposes. Some work better than other depending on the situation. Just because 30-40 mmHg is a higher level of compression than a 15-20 mmHg doesnt mean that its more effective for you.

The 12-16 mmHg and 15-20 mmHg compression are low levels of compression. They are perfect for air travel, long car rides and supporting your legs if you stand or sit for long periods of time. Many people find that wearing a lower level of compression is great as a daily sock. You dont need to have a problem with your veins or legs to wear compression stockings. I wear them and a lot of the staff at Leg Smart wear them everyday as well.

The 20-30 mmHg, 30-40 mmHg and 40-50 mmHg levels of compression are stronger and have more sizing options. Youll also notice that they come in more style options such as knee high or thigh high. The higher level of compression also limits the kinds of materials that are used to make the sock or stockings. These materials are usually advanced synthetics to help regulate heat and moisture. In addition, they also help the compression stocking be more stretchy. So you dont find a lot of compression socks with a high cotton content in a 40-50 mmHg thigh high. If youre not sure what level of compression to choose, always consult your doctor or medical professional.

Q: Will I get the same amount of compression depending on which style I choose?

A: Yes! As long as the level of compression is the same, it doesnt matter how a compression sock or stocking looks. Advancements in technology have allowed manufacturers to provide the same amount of compression regardless of the style. Compression socks and stockings vary from cotton socks to dress socks to sheer nylon-like stockings.

So dont worry when youre choosing between a cotton sock or a sheer nylon or a dress sock. Whatever the level of compression is indicated is what youre getting.

Q: What does "mmHg" stand for?

A: "mmHg" stands for millimeters of mercury. This is a scientific unit of measurement for pressure and is used to indicate the strength of compression stockings. Millimeters of mercury is also used in blood pressure.

Q: Whats my size?

A: Everyone has a different size for the compression stockings that fit them. For example, some 15-20mmHg compression stockings are sized by shoe size and 20-30mmHg and 30-40mmHg are sized by taking measurements of the leg. Ankle, calf and thigh circumference are needed as well as the length of leg. If you have more questions about sizing, please refer to the tutorials in our blog.

Q: What is DVT?

A: DVT stands for Deep Vein Thrombosis, a condition that occurs in the veins of your legs. DVT is the formation of a clot within your veins.

Q: What can I do to take better care of my veins?

A: Proper exercise, good diet and using compression therapy are ways to promote and preserve good leg health. Veins do not grow back, so there is only prevention. If you know that youll be traveling on a plane or in a car for long periods of time, consider graduated compression therapy. Also, if you stand or sit for long periods of time, graduated compression may be right for you. Be sure to consult your doctor if you have any questions pertaining to your health.

Q: Are compression garments stylish? Or do they look too "medical"?

A: Advancements in technology has allowed manufacturers to make graduated compression garments in a variety of styles and colors while maintaining their effectiveness. Compression stockings and socks now come in cotton sports sock styles, dress sock styles, and ultra-sheer styles. The materials used by some manufactures can even help to wick away moisture and reduce heat. Each manufacturer utilizes different materials and techniques to make their compression garments. Please refer to product details.

Have more questions?

Have more questions? Or need help on a topic thats not listed here? Email us at support@legsmart.comand we might even put your question here.