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TED Hose Sizing – (An Illustrated Guide To Knee High Stockings!)

image meme asking what he is wearing for comfort
What are you wearing?

There are many differences between compression socks and ted stockings and today we will guide you on TED hose sizing. But before we can delve into that, you need to first know what are ted stockings, their benefits, how to choose them and how to use them effectively.

Ted stockings are hosiery which offers compression on the lower extremities to ensure that there is no pooling of blood in the veins. They are recommended and prescribed by doctors after a patient has undergone surgery and on bed rest. Through the compression pressure applied on the legs, these socks help improve blood circulation as you recover from the surgery.

They come in different sizes and styles. you will find knee-high, thigh-high or waist-high. They are also made with different materials which make them durable and offer effective compression pressure on your legs.

The hosiery comes in different compression levels which range from mild (8-15 mmHg), Medium (15-20 mmHg), Firm (20-30 mmHg) and X-Firm (30-40 mmHg). The lower compression strengths do not need a prescription but with the higher compression strengths, your doctor is the best resource. This is because using the wrong compression level can bring more harm than benefits. With the lower compression strengths, they can be bought over the counter from the local pharmacy or online.

ted hose sizing example
Extra wide calf socks

What is a TED Hose

TED hosiery is an abbreviation for thromboembolism deterrent socks. These socks are designed and worn to support venous and lymphatic drainage of the leg. This means when a patient recovering in bed these stockings help stop blood clots from forming in the legs.

However, if you are non-ambulatory, then gradient stocking is combined with the actual muscle pump effect in your calf area. These two aspects work together to improve blood circulation and lymph fluid through your lower limbs.

TED socks are available in different styles such as knee-high and thigh-high. As far as using the hosiery, you should first seek advice from your doctor to find out which is better for your hospital stay and recovery. Blood clots can form for up to six weeks following surgery or extended hospital stay.

You will continue to use TED socks long after you leave the hospital. Thromboembolism deterrent socks are like compression socks, and for a patient to fully gain the benefits of these socks an accurate ted hose sizing is required. It is a good idea to take accurate measurements using a ted stocking guide.

image showing effects of correct ted hose sizing
Varicose veins vs compressed veins

Types of TED Hoses

There are different types of ted stockings and it all depends on the need for the stockings. These socks come in different styles and they are used basically the same way. You will find knee-high, thigh-high and waist-high stockings and depending on your medical condition and the doctor’s advice you can use one or the other. So, the main question is what is the difference between a ted stocking and compression socks?

Well, ted stockings as stated earlier, ted stockings are used after a surgery or when you are non-ambulatory. This means when you are bedridden, there is a high possibility of pooling of blood in the calves and the ted hose can be won to apply pressure to the legs so that there is no pooling of blood and increase blood circulation.

Ted socks come in different compression levels which range from mild to firm. The light ted hosiery is prescribed for patients with mild medical conditions. These socks also offer various compression at different parts of the body. Unlike compression socks which the gradient pressure decreases as you move up your body. In a ted hose, the pressure will rise and fall depending on the body part.

On the other hand, compression socks are stockings which offer the same benefits but recommended for ambulatory patients. They also come in different styles such as ankle-high, knee-high, thigh-high and waist-high. They usually come in a graduated form, where the pressure is greatest at the bottom and decreases as you move up your legs. Compression socks also have different gradient pressure just as the ted stockings which range from mild to firm.

Both of these socks offer compression pressure which is measured in mmHg millimeter of mercury. You will also find two numbers in front of the unit measurement which means a low compression point and a high compression point. For example, 20-30 mmHg compression socks mean the pressure will not fall below 20 mmHg and not rise above 30 mmHg.

image showing ted hose sizing on a sleeve
How gradient compression works

Getting started with TED hose

When you buy a ted stocking, a doctor must have prescribed them to you. These socks offer strong compression pressure and cannot be worn by any person rather by those who have a healthcare profession recommend the socks to them. You will need a wall chart, tape measure and ted stocking sizing chart.


To get the full benefits of T.E.D stockings you need proper sizing and application. The packaging will instruct you on how you can use the socks effectively but if you are in a hospital, then your nurse will help you wear them. Below are steps you will use to get optimal benefits when wearing these stocking.

Thigh-length and thigh-length with belt

  • Measure the upper thigh circumference at gluteal furrow. (Measurement #C)
  • Measure the calf circumference at the greatest dimension. (Measurement #B)
  • Measure leg length from gluteal furrow to the base of the heel. (Measurement #A)
  • Consult the wall chart or back of this guide to determine the appropriate size.
  • If the right and left legs measure differently, order two different stocking sizes.
  • If thigh circumference is greater than 91.4cm, select a knee-length stocking.
  • If calf circumference is outside the specified range of the recommended thigh length stocking based on Measurement #1, select a knee-length stocking
ted hose sizing guide
Ted measurement guide


  • Measure the calf circumference at the greatest dimension. (Measurement #1)
  • Measure length from the bend of knee to base of the heel. (Measurement #2)
  • Consult the wall chart or back of this guide to determine the appropriate size.
  • If the right and left legs measure differently, order two different stocking sizes.
sizing chart
Knee-high measurement guide

As a side note, Order two pairs of stockings to ensure that prophylaxis is uninterrupted during laundering care or to send a pair home with the patient.

Application of TED Hosiery

Ted stockings need practice wearing them and we have provided the best way you can do this through this ted hose sizing guide.

  • Insert your hand into the hose as far as the heel pocket.
  • Grasp the center of the heel pocket and turn the socks inside out to heel area.
  • Position stocking over the foot and heel. Make sure that the heel is centered in the heel pocket.
  • Pull a few centimeters of the socks up around the ankle and calf.
  • Continue pulling the hose up the leg. The stitch change (change in fabric sheerness) should fall between 2.5 to 5cm below the bend of the knee.
  • As the thigh portion of the stocking is applied, start rotating the hosiery inward so that the panel is centred over the femoral artery. the panel is placed slightly towards the inside of the leg.
  • If you are using the thigh length stocking with a belt, make sure the side panel is at the hip bone and upper hem rests at the gluteal furrow.
  • Smooth out the wrinkles.
  • Be sure to align the tow not to stick out.
  • Make sure that you maintain proper stocking positioning to ensure that there are no incorrect positioning.
improved blood circulation using ted stocking
Improved blood circulation

Maintaining T.E.D hose

When using ted hoses you should also know how to take care of them without disrupting the product design to continue getting the full benefits of the stocking. Here is a short guide on how you can best do this.

  • Properly sized stockings need to be removed daily during bathing to inspect the condition of skin if possible.
  • Wash every 2 to 3 days to remove bodily secretions.
  • Machine wash, temperature not to exceed 70°C; Machine dry for 15 to 20 minutes, temperature not to exceed 80°C.
  • Keep stockings free from ointments, oil, lanolin and substances which deteriorate elastic.
  • With correct care, stockings last 2 to 3 months
different levels of compression on a ted hose
Ted sizing chart

Choosing your T.E.D hose

There are a variety of support stockings sold in the market. These socks differ in compression strength, material, style, length and size. We understand that it can be overwhelming when selecting your compression hosiery. Below are some of the factors which can guide you when purchasing your first compression stocking. However, if you are choosing compression socks due to a medical condition, then it is best that you first seek medical advice from your doctor.

Compression level

The compression level is the first aspect you will need to check before buying a compression sock. as stated above, the standard compression strengths include:

  • Light-moderate compression, 15-20 mmHg – these are perfect for travelling. If your work entails standing all day, pregnant or experiencing mild leg swelling, these types of socks will come in handy.
  • A moderate compression, 20-30 mmHg – these are great for legs which experience moderate swelling and varicose veins because of pregnancy or another condition. You can also wear them when your legs feel tired and heavy.
  • Firm compression, 30-40 mmHg – these are usually required when you have moderate to severe varicose veins, moderate oedema, or after vein treatment such as vein stripping. They also come in handy for combating lymphedema.
  • Extra firm compression, 40-50 mmHg – they help with severe oedema, or varicose veins, chronic venous diseases or severe post-thrombotic syndrome.
  • Heavy compression, 50-60 mmHg – this is the strongest standard compression level and is primarily used in relieving Post Thrombotic Syndrome and lymphedema.

The mild and medium compression levels can be purchased from your local pharmacy or online shop but the stronger strengths will need a doctors prescription. The stronger strengths are used to treat and remedy serious medical conditions and using them may bring more harm than good.

parts of a ted stocking
Parts of a compression stocking


The material used to make the medical tights will depend on the need for the compression stockings. Some are made of rubber, Lycra or spandex and they come in different lengths like knee, thigh or full. If your need for compression socks is because you are flying for a long period, then you need to choose a sock that is comfortable for you.


You need to find the correct size when choosing your socks. Retailers will provide a measurement chart which will instruct you on how to best determine your size. These charts depend on what type of compression hosiery you desire. You may require measurements for ankle circumference, calf-length and calf circumference.


Choose a style which will fit perfectly with your attire. Retailers will give you an option from which you can choose from. You can choose from plain colors to a blend of colors, all depending on your need. You can also choose between closed or open-toe compression socks.

image showing various compression points on a ted hose
Sizing chart

Benefits of T.E.D stocking

Anti-embolism socks offer a variety of benefits to users. It provides pressure to the ankles and calves thus reducing swelling and aching of the legs. The pressure applied helps improve blood flow in your legs back to your heart. Below are some of the benefits offered by ted tights.

Speedy Injury recovery

Doctors recommend using compression socks to naturally stimulate the healing of the body. Compression stockings are helpful after a patient has undergone surgery and when managing chronic illnesses and pain. But be sure to consult your healthcare provider as compression socks are not recommended for some medical conditions.

Maternity relief

Pregnant women will find immediate relief from aching and swollen feet when they use compression hosiery. The compression stockings and sleeves offer a comfortable, cooling effect and are easy to put on.

pressure zones on a ted hose
Different zones on a ted stocking


Lack of mobility may cause low blood flow and puts you at risk of dangerous blood clots. This is highly reduced when using support stockings.

Side effects of wearing wrong t.e.d compression strength

Using anti-embolism stocking wrongly can be detrimental to your health. This is why they are prescribed by doctors so that a patient can have full benefits. Above we have taken you step by step to ensure that you can find the right compression ted stocking, however, wearing the wrong size can cause serious health complications. Below are some of the side effects of not wearing the correct compression strength:

  • uncomfortable feeling in the legs
  • corns and calluses on the lower limbs
  • feet tingling
  • itching
  • joint pain in knees
  • loss of blood circulation
positive ted hose sizing
Gradient compression pressure on a stocking


TED Hose and Compression stockings are two different types of stockings although both are used medically, they have different purposes. The names may be interchanged but make sure that what you are buying is a one or the other. The packaging will tell you which type of support hosiery it is. T.E.D hose is used for non-ambulatory patients (those who cannot move around on their own) while compression stockings are for ambulatory patients (those that can move around but require a level of pressure). The above ted hose sizing guide will help you find the right stocking after a doctor recommends it. If you are unsure, you can ask your doctor for advice and he/she will recommend the best type of support hosiery.