Compression Socks: How to Choose and Use Them

It’s reasonable to think that all compression socks do the same thing. But you’d be wrong! Compression stockings and socks are designed to be used by all sorts of people for all kinds of reasons.

With this in mind, do you know how to choose compression socks?  Which socks and stockings are the best choice for your condition and/or needs?  How is compression measured?  These are good questions to be asking.  In this guide, we’ll answer them all.

woman wearing knee-high socks

Why Choosing and Using Correctly Matters

If you’ve never worn compression socks before, it may be tempting to simply buy a random pair and to see how you get on.  However, this could be potentially dangerous.

  • It’s always important to measure up and to wear compression socks properly. Knowing how compression socks work will help you in making your decision.
  • Compression stockings and socks need to be a snug fit, and entirely flat on your legs and feet. That is because any slight wrinkles in the fabric could leave you in more pain than you started with.
  • Wearing the wrong size compression socks could lead to additional pain and discomfort, as well as further health problems..

Measure for the Right Fit

All reputable brands of Medical Grade graduated compression socks and stockings are sold with ankle and calf measurements, as well as the measurements between your knee and the floor.  Therefore:

  • With your feet flat on the ground, measure your ankle around the narrowest part.
  • Measure your calf around the widest part.
  • Measure downwards from the back of your knee to the floor.
  • If you’re buying thigh-high socks or pantyhose, measure around your thighs.
  • Do also make sure you measure yourself in the morning as you will not swell up until later in the day!

Once you have your measurements, you’ll need to consider sock strengths and purposes.

Finding the Right Compression

Let’s look at pressure.  Compression socks are designed and measured in millimetres of mercury, or mmHg.  The higher the compression level, the more support you’ll get.

  • Everyday wearers or those suffering from mild aches and pains will likely benefit from mild compression. Socks between 10-15 mmHg will probably help in these cases.  Pregnant women may also choose low compression to prevent spider veins.
  • If you suffer from aching legs and feet regularly, are pregnant or are travelling long distances, it’s recommended you look for 15-20 mmHg socks.
  • 20-30 mmHg is recommended for those wearers who have severe vein problems or need help managing ulcers and preventing DVT (deep vein thrombosis).
  • For more intense situations, 30-40 mmHg is advised. These are typically used post-surgery.
  • You can even get socks which offer 40-50 mmHg – though these are reserved for very severe cases and people suffering from certain diseases.

The Right Socks for You

Want to know how to choose compression socks?  Our friendly team is always here to help.  Take a look at our online store here at TXG, or call us today on 0800 894 769.

Please note: The information provided here is for general information only and is not intended to act as medical advice. We advise anyone interested in this subject to seek qualified, professional advice.

About Heather Gatland

Chief Sock Checker at TXG Socks

After finding that compression socks sped up the healing of an injury, Heather wanted to help others do the same, so founded TXG Compression Socks in Australasia in 2013. With her 6 years of ‘hands-on’ experience working with medical professionals, extensive business experience and Chartered Accountant qualification, Heather knows all the ins and outs of the compression socks market. Heather’s goal of helping baby boomers, like herself, has finally come true. Heather loves researching and sharing her findings on the TXG blog as well as enjoys supporting her customers to get back to feeling happy, energised and active.

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