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Support Stockings: All-You-Need-To-Know

support hose meme
Wear my socks at your own peril

We all have that tired feeling after a long day of work especially if your job entails standing for long hours at a time. People wear support stockings for comfort and also improve their productivity and also help prevent serious medical conditions.

These stockings improve blood flow and also lessen swelling and pain in your legs. They also lower chances of you getting DVT (deep vein thrombosis) which is a kind of a blood clot. These compression stockings come in different sizes, and compression strengths depending on your need and if you have a medical condition what was prescribed by the doctor.

But there is always a chance that purchasing these compression stockings over the counter can be detrimental especially if you do not have a clue on the right compression strength.

In this article, we take you on a journey in which you will discover everything you need to know about support hosiery. You will also understand the benefits these stockings offer and the consequences you will suffer if you choose the wrong compression stocking.

What are support socks?

woman wearing support hosiery
Knee high support hose

Well, support hosiery are stockings which have been designed for compression therapy. They have been manufactured to apply gentle pressure to your ankles and legs thus promoting blood flow from your ankles to your heart.

Compression stockings are made to snugly fit to squeeze your feet. They are designed tighter at the ankle and looser as you move up your leg. Getting compression stockings depends on your need. And yes you can get these stockings over the counter in your local pharmacy or online. If you have a serious medical condition, then you will need to get a prescription from your health care provider.

Who uses them? Many people use them and medical professionals prescribe them as a compression therapy for serious diseases. Here are some of the people who use them include:

  • People with circulation problems like varicose veins, DVT or diabetes.
  • Those who have just had surgery
  • People who stand all day at work
  • Those that can’t leave their bed or have a hard time moving their legs
  • Athletes
  • People spending long periods travelling
  • Pregnant women

What does compression hosiery do? These stockings put pressure on your legs helping your blood vessels work better. The gentle squeeze helps your muscles relax so that blood can flow freely helping the veins get a boost pushing blood back to your heart.

Compression hose can keep your legs from getting tired and also ease swelling in your feet as well as treat varicose veins. They will also help stop you from feeling light-headed or dizzy when standing up.

image showcasing difference between healthy and varicose veins as a result of compression socks
Advantages of compression stockings

Some athletes use compression stockings and sleeves on their arms and legs to improve their performance. However, this has not been proven but it is known that these stockings will help blood circulation. In theory, during the activity, there is better blood flow helping the athlete get oxygen to their muscles and also prevent tissue damage. This will, in turn, help the muscles recover quickly afterwards.

Different Types of Compression Hosiery

There are three types of compression stockings. These are:

  • non-medical support stockings
  • anti-embolism hosiery
  • graduated support hose

Non-medical support stockings: Non-medical support stockings do not typically require a prescription. These stockings include elastic support hosiery and flight stockings which are sold as a potential relief for aching and tired legs. They deliver uniform compression which exerts less pressure than prescription support hosiery. These stockings can be purchased at your local pharmacy or online.

Thrombo-embolic deterrent (TED) hose: Anti-embolism stockings (TED hose) are used to reduce the possibility of deep vein thrombosis. They offer a gradient compression, however, the level of compression differ and are designed for those people who are not mobile.

Graduated Compression stockings: Graduated compression stockings offer a level of compression which is strongest at the ankle and decreases gradually up your leg. They are designed for mobility and to meet certain strength and length.

These stockings typically require professional fitting. Stockings which end just below the knee help limit lower leg swelling or peripheral edema due to fluid buildup. Stockings which extend to the thigh help in reducing pooling of blood in the legs thus preventing orthostatic hypotension.

effects of compression stockings
Effects of compression socks

Using Compression Stockings: Compression hosiery is designed to help in blood circulation in the lower limbs. If you have recently undergone surgery or experiencing leg trauma, then your health care provider may prescribe compression hose to ease up the pain and help in the blood flow. But you can also purchase these support stockings online or your local pharmacy.

There are different levels of compression available and you do not want to get the wrong compression strength. If you are in doubt about which compression level best suits you, you should contact your doctor for correct fitting. But this should not be a problem if you know your needs or if you have used compression stockings before. Most retailers will provide a fitting chart which you can use to determine your size to avoid the consequences of wearing the wrong compression strength.

colorful medical support hosiery
colorful support socks

So how should you use support hosiery? Well, you need to first understand your need as these stockings are used after DVT diagnosis and to reduce discomfort or swelling to your legs. These compression stockings were previously used after acute DVT to reduce chances of post-thrombotic syndrome but this is no longer the case.

You can also use these support stockings as a preventative measure and for the best results, these compression stockings must be worn the first thing in the morning before getting out of bed. Wearing compression stockings after moving around can cause swelling and at this point, it may be difficult to put on the hosiery. You will also need to take off the stockings before taking a shower.

Since support hoses are elastic and tight, you will need to apply lotion on your skin before attempting to wear them. This will help the material glide up your leg but remember to make sure the lotion is well absorbed.

To put on support socks you will require rolling the top of the compression stockings and rolling it toward the heel. Then put your foot inside the stockings and slowly unrolling the stockings up your leg. This is the easiest way to ensure that it is a neat fit.

It is also recommended that for best results, you wear the support socks throughout the day and remove them before jumping into bed. You should also get at least 2 pairs of compression stockings so that when one is drying after washing you can use the other one. This will enable you to follow through with the therapy and not skipping a day.

How to Choose the right support hosiery: There are many types of compression stockings available and they differ in size, material, style and compression strength. We understand that it can be overwhelming when trying to find the correct medical compression hose. Below are some of the factors which you need to check before settling on your compression stockings. If you need compression stockings because of a medical condition, your doctor is the best resource you have.

Compression Strength: Compression stockings come in different strengths and it all depends on your need. The standard levels include:

Catch me if you can
Catch me if you can!
  • Light-moderate, 15-20 mmHg – these support socks are wonderful for travelling. they come in handy as they improve blood circulation while you travel for long periods. they can be used by pregnant ladies, those experiencing mild leg swelling or your work entails standing all day.
  • Moderate compression, 20-30 mmHg – these are wonderful compression hosiery for those experiencing moderate swelling or have varicose veins because of pregnancy or another condition. these can be worn when your legs are heavy and tired.
  • Firm compression, 30-40 mmHg – for those who have severe varicose veins, moderate edema or undergone vein treatment, then this compression level is right for them.
  • Extra firm compression, 40-50 mmHg – these support hosiery come in handy with severe edema, chronic venous diseases, varicose veins or severe post-thrombotic syndrome. this compression strength requires a doctors prescription for the best result.
  • Heavy compression, 50-60 mmHg – the strongest compression level support socks will need a prescription from a healthcare provider. it is primarily used in relieving Post Thrombotic Syndrome and Lymphedema.
Support stockings for sports
Support stockings for sports

Style: You should consider a sock-style which will complement your attire perfectly. Retailers have various options which you can choose from. There are compression stockings which range from plain colors to a blend of colors, open toe or closed toe, knee-high or thigh-high. It all depends on your desired use and sense of style.

Material: Support Socks are made from different materials depending on the use of the support hose. Some are made of Lycra, spandex or rubber and they come in different lengths depending on your use. If your need for compression stockings is because of standing for long periods, then be sure to choose a material which is comfortable for you.

showcasing support socks strength
Support socks compression strengths

Size: When selecting your compression hosiery, you need to find the right size. Retailers provide a measurement chart which will instruct you on how to best determine your size. These support socks need correct fitting otherwise you will suffer consequences. These charts depend on what kind of compression hose you desire. The size of compression stockings is based off a ratio between height and weight. You may also check ankle circumference, calf-length and calf circumference.

Colorful support stockings
Colorful support stockings

What are the benefits of Support Hosiery?

Wearing support hose can help in preventing your foot from discomfort. These compression stockings are well-known health tools and help in improving blood circulation. Support hosiery help in promoting comfort by relieving joint pains. So here are some of the benefits of using compression stockings:

Promote comfort: One of the most important aspects of compression stockings is it reduces discomfort. This can be due to joint paint and using compression stockings will result in better circulation and improve comfort during your day.

Top grade support stockings
Top grade support stockings

Better blood circulation: Support socks help in improving blood circulation through the compression on your foot which will prevent blood from pooling and forming a clot. Better blood flow will result in a healthy body but if you are still unsure about the compression level best suited for your needs, your health provider is the best resource.

compression levels on the legs
Compression strengths

Treats Varicose Veins: Compression stockings are medical tools used for various therapies. one disease which is treated is varicose veins. Wearing these compression stockings allows for pressure to be applied thus maintaining regular blood circulation. A varicose vein is a condition where veins are swollen. At best compression strengths of between 15-30 mmHg will help you relieve aches and pain related to varicose veins.

Reduce swelling: For those who work standing up for long periods can use support hoses to help alleviate pain and swelling as it will maintain regular blood flow.

Women support socks
Women support socks

Prevents fatigue

Using compression stockings is an amazing way to prevent fatigue. The right compression strength improves your health. There are five compression levels with the higher the compression the higher the number of mmHg. So choosing the right compression strength can help you avoid fatigue after a long day at work.

Prevent edema

Wearing compression stockings helps in the treatment of varicose veins, increase blood circulation, and prevent post-surgical blood clots. Choosing compression strengths starting from 20-30 mmHg or more will help you gain these benefits.

Men compression stockings
Men compression stockings

Consequence of choosing the wrong support strengths

It is always important to always have all the facts before purchasing compression hosiery. There are always side effects when you choose the wrong compression stockings which can worsen your condition. To begin with, if you have a serious medical issue, make sure to get your support stockings fitting from your healthcare provider.

Wearing the wrong compression strength have various side effects which include:

Chilling in stockings
Chilling in stockings
  • discomfort
  • Corns and calluses
  • feet tingling
  • itching
  • joint pain
  • loss of circulation

Following the above information can help you get the best fit and also help you in your compression therapy.


support hose meme
Everyday mission

Support stockings apply pressure to your ankles and legs to help improve blood circulation from your legs to your heart. For those who have a serious medical condition, your first stop before getting your compression stockings is your health care provider. But if you do decide to get yours from your local pharmacy or online make sure to find the correct compression strength.