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What are Medical Socks? – (Should You Wear Them?)

Last Updated February 12, 2020

Introduction to medical grade socks

Medical grade socks have become a growing trend since they became available in a wide range of colors and prints; gone are the days when they were plain grey or brown and only worn by elderly men and women.
If you are new to the world of medical grade socks, this article will help you understand what they are and why you should wear them.

What are Medical Grade Socks?

Different styles of medical grade socks
Different styles of medical grade socks

Medical grade socks are pressure socks that are usually prescribed with some specifications and require professional fitting.

Improves Blood Circulation

Medical grade socks stimulate blood flow
Knee-length medical socks
Ankle-length medical grade socks
Ankle-length medical socks

Medical grade socks are known for stimulating blood flow in the feet and legs. These socks squeeze your legs gently in a way that helps blood flow easily from your legs back toward your heart. Your blood can pool if you have poor circulation or certain medical conditions, which could cause pain, leg and foot swelling, and overall discomfort.

Elastic Material

They are tightest at the ankle and become less constrictive upwards towards the knee and thigh. They are usually two-way stretch socks, meaning that they are elastic longitudinally and transversely. This elasticity compensates for factors such as feet lengths and facilitating joint movements.

How do Medical Grade Socks Help People?

They are designed to provide consistent pressure on the legs. Studies have found them to be useful to people with or without medical conditions.

Medical grade socks help people in a lot of ways, such as:

1. Treating Several Medical Conditions

Different medical conditions
Can medical grade socks help people

There are several medical conditions that can make the legs and feet swell, thereby causing discomfort. Circulation issues, for instance, can lead to problems with blood flow. Despite the fact that medical grade socks can be used by anyone, there are certain medical conditions that compression therapy is prescribed for.

If you have circulatory issues, like plantar fasciitis, in the feet and legs you may need medical grade socks that are suitable for such in order to promote better circulation, quicken healing, and provide extra support for your heels and Achilles tendon.

People who are at risk of developing clotting disorders, like deep vein thrombosis, or leg ulcers can also benefit to limit swelling, reduce chances of clotting, and prevent more chronic health issues.

2. Assisting During Post-Surgery Recovery

Medical grade socks are usually recommended as recovery tolls for post-surgery, particularly for surgeries that require a patient to stay off their feet for a long time, ranging from a couple of days to over a month, placing them to be bedridden. Being sedentary for long periods places a risk of developing blood clots due to the decline in proper circulation; these socks can reduce this risk greatly.

Medical grade socks help after surgery

3. Providing Support During and After Exercise

These socks have become commonly used in the sports world for its support in athletic performance and recovery post-training. These socks can help runners, footballers, and other athletes by providing comfort during exercise and reducing lactic acid build-up after exercise. After a strenuous workout, these socks help to improve blood circulation, reduce soreness, and speed up recovery.

Medical grade socks help athletes

4. Providing Comfort During Traveling

If you have ever traveled long distances, either by car or airplane, you may have noticed how tired and heavy your legs get from sitting for an extended period of time. This is because being sedentary can cause blood to clot in your legs and also cause leg fatigue. People who fly frequently, like pilots, flight attendants, and passengers, may need medical grade socks to provide stimulation in the circulation in their legs.

Medical grade socks help frequent flyers

5. Providing Support During Pregnancy

Medical grade socks were introduced for pregnant women as a panacea for many ailments associated with pregnancy. Circulating blood back to the heart from the legs may be difficult because of gravity. Swelling that tends to occur in the feet can be prevented with the help of medical grade socks.

Medical grade socks help during pregnancy

What is the Right Size and Height of Medical Grade Socks?

The size of medical grade socks depends entirely on the person’s foot and leg size, whereas selecting a certain height or length is a matter of preference.

Ankle length
Ankle length
Knee length
Knee length

The length of your medical grade socks depends on your needs.

Ankle-length and knee-length socks are the most commonly used, easy to wear, and comfortable socks. Even people who do not have serious medical issues can wear them, such as athletes, travelers, people who sit, stand or lie down for too long, and people who just want to have healthier legs.

If, however, you are wearing medical grade socks to treat a medical condition, your healthcare provider will be in the best position to determine the socks that will work best for you. Thigh-length socks are often recommended for post-surgery patients to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

How are Medical Grade Socks Measured?

A tape measure can help you take measurements of different parts of your leg, for instance:

– Measuring the distance from your knee to the floor will give you the length of your calf;
– Measuring the distance from your thigh to the floor will give you the length of your leg;
– Measuring the circumference of your ankle, circumference of your calf, and circumference of your thigh can inform you what size to purchase a pair of medical grade socks in.

In order to get the best-fitting medical grade socks, you will need to take correct measurements of different parts of your legs.

Ankle Measurement

If you are going for knee-length socks, measure the circumference of your ankle, the length of your calf, and the circumference of your calf.
For ankle measurements, you need to take measurements around your ankle. Place the measuring tape above the ankle bone, at the ankle’s narrowest part, then measure from the ankle to the floor.

Calf Measurement

For calf measurement, measure the circumference of the calf at its widest part. You will have to sit on a chair and place your legs at a 90 degree angle, then measure the distance from the part where the knee bends to the floor.

What Compression Level Should Medical Grade Socks be at?

A doctor would best be able to prescribe the right compression level that will provide effective relief without causing damage.

Too much compression can increase discomfort and worsen any underlying medical condition you might have had. Although pressure needs may change over a period of time, some people can maintain a particular level of pressure. Your healthcare provider will determine whether your level of compression will be increased, decreased, or maintained.

Pressure levels of medical grade socks
Pressure levels of medical grade socks

8-15 mmHg Compression Level

This level of compression provides mild support and very light compression. With this pressure level, you can find relief from tired, aching legs, as well as get some help to control any minor swelling you may have in your legs.

Mild support

15-20 mmHg Compression Level

Medium support is needed for people who stand or sit for too long while working or traveling. This provides relief from varicose veins and minor swelling which usually occur during pregnancy. Some may also use this to treat temporary conditions and keep their legs healthy.

20-30 mmHg Compression Level

Firm compression is used for preventing venous thrombosis, particularly during long travels. It also provides relief for conditions like lymphedema, mild to chronic varicose veins and swelling, superficial thrombophlebitis, and venous insufficiency.
This medical class 1 level of compression is also prescribed for prevention of venous stasis ulcers and post-sclerotherapy.

Consult your doctor before choosing medical socks
Consult your doctor before choosing medical grade socks

30-40 mmHg Compression Level

Also referred to as extra firm compression, the 30-40 mmHg is a medical class 2 that is used to help in relieving edema, lymphedema, and chronic varicose veins. They are recommended for patients who had just had deep venous thrombosis to prevent it from recurring. Extra firm compression can also be used for treating post-thrombotic syndrome or severe chronic venous insufficiency. You should not wear this level of compression without doctor’s supervision.

40-50 mmHg Compression Level

This medical class 3 level offers very strong compression. It is highly recommended to consult with a doctor first before purchasing these. Medical conditions that this level of compression is used to treat include severe venous stasis, lymphedema, and wound management.


Medical grade socks help to provide overall comfort and can be worn even if you do not have a medical condition; they improve blood circulation and prevent various circulatory issues in the legs and feet from occurring.

Buy high quality medical grade socks from ComproGear today!