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Home » Knowledge Center » Injury Treatment » Compression Wear » Compression Socks & Stockings » Graduated Compression Stockings – Questions & Answers
A Knee High Graduated Compression Stocking.

Graduated Compression Stockings – Questions & Answers

Graduated compression stockings are a specialized form of hosiery that is used to treat venous disorders such as phlebitis, thrombosis and edema. These stockings are designed to exert maximum pressure at the ankles, with the pressure gradually decreasing as one moves upwards to the waist (or the knees in the case of knee high stockings). This pressure gradient forces the patient’s blood to return to the heart through the veins instead of pooling around the ankles, as characterized by many venous problems. In this post, we set out to answer some of the most common questions from patients who are about to start wearing these stockings.

How Long Should I Wear My Graduated Compression Stockings?

The best answer to this question should come from your doctor. However, the most common guidance is probably that you should wear them throughout the day and take them off only just before going to bed. Put them on again right after getting up in the morning. In short, you should try to wear them whenever you are standing and there is a risk that your blood may start to pool around your ankles. Of course, you should remove them when showering.

What Are The Differences Between Opaque and Sheer Stockings?

Opaque graduated compression stockings are less transparent than sheer stockings and may therefore be a good choice if you are looking to obscure skin blemishes or other unsightly marks. They will also provide greater warmth than sheer stockings during the colder months while maintaining a fashionable look. Finally, they also provide a better (more snug) fit when worn with looser fitting footwear.

What Are The Advantages Of Panty Hose Compression Stockings?

Panty hose stockings offer support over the entire leg including the hip and groin areas. Patients suffering from inadequate circulation in these areas are especially likely to appreciate the more comprehensive coverage of these stockings.  Additionally, some people have difficulty with thigh high stockings not staying up during prolonged wearing periods. These individuals could find panty hose stockings to be a preferable alternative.

What Are The Advantages Of Thigh High Compression Stockings?

Compared to knee high stockings,  thigh high graduated compression stockings can offer a number of advantages. They

  • cover the entire leg and so can address problem areas that may not be reached by knee highs e.g. swelling above the knee;
  • will improve circulation throughout the entire leg;
  • can help treat spider or varicose veins in the thighs.

Some patients regard thigh highs as a more comfortable alternative to panty hose, since they do not have a waistband cutting into the midsection all day. In addition, you do not have to remove them during visits to the restroom.

What Are The Advantages Of The 15-20mmHg Compression Level?

Graduated Compression Stockings come in various compression levels. The most common of these are 15-20 mmHg, known as moderate compression, and 20-30mmHg, known as medical grade compression. When reading these numbers, the first or lower number represents the compression at the top end of the stocking. The second, higher, number represents the compression level around the ankles.
15-20mmHg compression is a great choice for daily wear, travel, and sports. It will help improve circulation without being too tight on the patient’s legs. It allows the patient to treat a mild condition without experiencing undue discomfort.

What Is The Advantage Of The 20-30mmHg Compression Level?

20-30mmHg compression is also known as medical grade compression. It is a great choice for individuals with varicose veins, spider veins, swelling (edema) or for those who need to maintain optimal circulation after surgery. It will also normally be recommended for more serious venous conditions such as Deep Vein Thrombosis. Bear in mind, though,  that you don’t have to have a medical condition to wear 20-30 mmHg. For example, individuals looking for a bit more support than they are getting from 15-20 mmHg stockings may choose to wear 20-30 mmHg instead.

What (If Any) Are The Side Effects Of Wearing Graduated Compression Stockings?

The side effects of wearing these stockings can include in some cases:

  • Corns & Calluses;
  • Tingling Feet;
  • Itching;
  • Knee Joint Pain;
  • Loss Of Circulation.

Should you experience any of these side effects, please notify your doctor immediately and seek his/her guidance.

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