Support hose deliver a squeezing to the leg that is tightest at the feet & ankles and gradually decreases up the leg, this is known as gradient compression. This compression is measured in mmHg (millimeters of mercury) and provides two main benefits.
- Compression reduces and helps prevent swelling
- Helps the blood flow more quickly up the leg toward the heart
Support hose (also known as compression stockings) range from light compression (generally 8-15mmHg) to firm compression (generally 30-40mmHg).
Below are some of the indications for using compression hosiery:
Tired, Aching Legs
Standing or sitting for long periods of time can cause blood to pool at the ankles and have a hard time returning causing legs to ache and feel tired.
8-15mmHg compression stockings give a gentle squeeze at the ankles and up the leg to get your blood flowing back toward the heart. Helps relieve the tired, aching feeling in your legs.
Enlarged ankles/calves/feet. Painless swelling may be caused from medications, injury, vein problems, heart problems or other reasons. Prolonged swelling or painful swelling of the foot or leg should not be ignored and your physician should always be consulted. Mild swelling is often managed with 15-20mmHg of compression. Moderate or severe swelling may require higher compression and your physician should be consulted.
Varicose veins can be mild to severe. They are caused from pooling of blood in a damaged vein. Symptoms include bulging veins, aching and discomfort in the leg, heaviness of the leg and/or inflammation of superficial veins. 20-30 mmHg is the most commonly used level of compression for varicose veins. The compression level that is best for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms and you should consult your physician before wearing support hosiery with of compression 20 mmHg and greater.
Damaged valves in the veins can cause blood to pool in the leg and lead to swelling and pain. This condition is called chronic venous insufficiency which can lead to skin damage and leg ulcers. Symptoms include varicose veins, daily swelling of the leg, skin color changes, especially around and above the ankles, and fragile skin that easily breaks down. Compression of 30-40mmHg (generally knee length) is the most commonly used to manage this condition. Consult your physician before wearing any compression 20 mmHG and greater.