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TED Hose: Effective Anti-Embolism Stockings (Complete Guide!)

If you have ever needed to visit a hospital for the treatment of embolism and varicose vein symptoms, then you will be quite familiar with the name T.E.D. Hose. T.e.d. Hose are Stockings made for the management of DVT. They help enhance blood flow in the legs. It is also ideal for preventing the effects of venous distention which occurs as a result of surgery. This article aims to provide you with all the vital information as it relates to t.e.d. hose.

What is the difference between T.E.D. Hose and Compression Stockings?

stockings t.e.d. image

I may not be able to count how many times I walked into medical facilities, rehabs, and hospitals, in 18 years as a medical professional. One observation I made is that the majority of the patients in these facilities are not putting on the proper pressure. Indeed, there is a difference between the two. Keep reading, and I hope you enjoy it every bit.     

Any persons suffering from extreme conditions like edema and DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis, or blood clots), may be prescribed a lower extremity pressure. These conditions are similar and may require the use of Compression garments that provide pressure to the lower extremities. The most common garments commonly prescribed are T E D pantyhose and Compression Stockings.

Compression Hose for varicose veins
Compression Hose for varicose veins

Even professional health practitioners sometimes refer to all compression garments as T E D pantyhose. You may think this to be abnormal, but this mistake is common among health practitioners. It is wise then for health professionals to know that there is a very outstanding difference between the different types of compression garments. Let’s discuss the difference between the two most popular compression garments; t. e.d. Hose and Stockings.

T.e.d Hose: Thrombo-Embolic Deterrent Hose, or t.e.d. hose as it is popularly known, is used for patients who are non-ambulatory (persons without the ability to move around) or immediately after surgery, to help the blood flow freely in the legs to prevent blood clot. The pressure level of t.e.d. stockings is below 20mmHg, and its highest point is at the calf.

This is because blood usually pools at the calf, especially when in bed. mmHg stands for millimeters of Mercury, which is used in describing the amount of pressure exerted (note, that this is also the same unit in which blood pressure is measured). TED’s are made to be very durable and last for a long time. A good pair of TED’s can last at least three weeks. They were made like that to assist patients who may be immobile for a long time after the surgery.

Compression hose
Compression hose

Compression Hose: Compression stockings are prescribed for non-ambulatory patients. Patients who are mobile, but are suffering from circulatory problems that need a very high level of pressure. Patients with conditions like VNS, lymphedema, and so on may need to wear the stockings. These stockings are perfect for patients with ambulatory problems, as continuous movement will aid the return of blood while also preventing excess blood from remaining in the lower extremities of the leg. In these, the level of pressure may vary at different levels in the garment.

prescribed compression stockings and compression level

The levels are divided into 15-20 mmHg, 20-30 mmHg, and 30-40 mmHg. Some patients may require pressure levels at 60mmHg. For most brands, the pressure is usually higher at the ankle, where gravity is higher on the veins when the patient stands. A good quality pair should last 6-months or more if properly managed.

Comparison between Anti-Embolism (T.E.D. pantyhose) and Medical Stockings: The significant distinction between Anti-Embolism Stockings (T.E.D. pantyhose) and Medical Stockings can be summarized into two; the pressure level and the medical reason for wearing it. When measured, Anti- Embolism Stockings range between 8–18mmHg while in medical versions are 15–20mmHg or higher. Anti-embolism stockings are worn to support/restore venous return in a bedridden patient. 

Anti-embolism stockings
Anti-embolism stockings

Compression Hosiery and Socks are used in the treatment of lymphatic and venous disorders in the category of patients referred to as ambulatory patients. These graduated garments are worn by people with all types of Chronic Venous Insufficiency, from varicose veins, stasis skin changes, edema, and venous procedures. They can also be used to prevent Post-Thrombotic Syndrome and treat such as well. Medical research has proven that ambulatory patients with Chronic Venous Disorders need more pressure than Anti-embolism garments can offer.

A Simple Rule of Thumb:

  • For bedridden patients, use anti-embolism T. E. D. products
  • In the case of ambulatory patients, use graduated garments


  • It prevents the effects of damage as a result of venous expansion which happens during surgery
  • Graduated pressure pattern, clinically proven at 18mmHg at the ankle, 8mmHg at the popliteal, 14mmHg at the calf, 10mmHg at the lower thigh and 8mmHg at the upper leg
  • Set of 2 ply gusset and uninterrupted thigh band
  • Pressure break at the popliteal
Compression knee highs
Compression knee highs


  • A heel pocket, well defined to help in correct attachment
  • Inlay circumferential knit provides a one-way horizontal stretch.
  • Toe opening, for inspection of skin and pedal pulse.

Difference Between T.E.D. pantyhose & Stockings for Nurses

nurses ted compression socks and stockings

You may have heard people say they wear compression stockings or T.E.D. pantyhose as a nurse or nursing student. In the world of nursing, people make use of both product terms interchangeably. Nevertheless, the two are NOT the same. Each one performs a different function.   

What are T.E.D. Hoses? The term T.E.D. stands for Thrombo-Embolic-Deterrent, a word which goes to say that they help in the prevention of blood clots. These T.E.D. pantyhoses are available in thigh-high, knee-high, and come in a variety of colors. Bedridden people should wear T.E.D. hoses or post-opt, to stop blood clotting. When the patient has undergone surgery or the person cannot walk with the blood pools in the lower extremities that can result in a blood clot.    

T.E.D. pantyhoses are capable of providing pressure similar to if the patient is walking as it prevents blood to pool in the leg. This makes T.E.D. hoses an excellent choice for people who aren’t capable of walking. Thus, they are not an ideal option for nurses. Furthermore, these T.E.D. hoses are to be used just for about three weeks, then replaced with a new pair.   

Compression hose design
Compression hose design

What are Compression Stockings for Nurses? Most models look somewhat like the material in pantyhose, unlike T.E.D. hoses with pressure in the ankle area of the stocking. People who can walk but have fatigue on their legs, varicose veins, or even stand the risk of developing it use compression socks or stockings. People with lymphedema or swelling at the legs also use these products.

They are most effective in people who are always on their feet. They deliver pressure to the ankle area, thus preventing the pooling of blood and fluid in this area. This is because pools of fluids and blood can result in venous stress, causing a break or formation of a spider or varicose veins.    

Most brands come in varying ratings like 15-20 mmHg, 20-30 mmHg, 30-40 mmHg. In general, 15-20 mmHg is enough for a nurse. It is available in thigh-high or knee-high lengths. A good pair should last about six months under normal daily wear. 

open toe stockings t.e.d. and hose

As a nursing student, Do I need Compression Stocking or T.E.D. Hoses? Judging from the distinctions between the two, T.E.D. pantyhoses and Compression Stockings, the best choice is to find a pair of stockings suitable for nurses. They work better to prevent fatigue in the leg and development of varicose veins. T.E.D. hoses are designed for the prevention of blood clotting and non-ambulatory patients, while Compression stockings are made for nurses and ambulatory patients.

TED’s or Compression Stockings? Most patients on hearing the names – T.E.D. Hose or Compression Stockings, may think that the two are the same and can be used exchangeably. The opposite is the case because these two types of products are different and are used for different patients. Patients suffering from edema (fluid retention), and Deep Vein Thrombosis, are usually prescribed one of these. When patients use the right compression garments, it can speed up the healing process while keeping them safe from Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and other venous conditions.

Compression hose for pregnancy
Compression hose for pregnancy

T. E.D.: Non-ambulatory patients often get a TED Stocking prescription. These patients get this prescription because health care providers often think that Non-ambulatory patients run the risk of a blood clot that could develop in their legs. This condition isn’t a pleasant one because clots can break free and move through the bloodstream to the lungs, leading to pulmonary embolism. However, with the prescription of this specific compression garment, these patients can experience a reduction in the risk. The function of the these special socks is to administer pressure on the lower part of the feet and legs, as the most pressure will occur at the calf muscle. 

By placing the patients on the bed, he or she is likely to pool in the calf, thus creating the right environment for the clot to form well. TED Stockings pressure levels are accurately measured in Millimeters of Mercury(mmHg). The measurement is similar to the analysis of blood pressure. The duration of wearing these varies. For instance, patients may wear T.E.D pantyhose for more than twenty-one days (3weeks). Or it could be that another prescription will be given to them to limit their risk of blood clots. Regardless of their condition, it is only removed when patients have experienced a significant change. 

Compression Socks: Unlike T.E.D that is prescribed for Non-ambulatory patients, compression socks take a different application. It is being applied for patients that are mobile – able to move around. In general, socks are prescribed for patients whose problem is based on circulatory complications like venous insufficiency, varicose veins, and lymphedema. For some patients, this can be temporary complications during pregnancy. 

The pressure level ranges from 15-20mmHg, and it can also span to 60mmHg. Although, a level above 50mmHg prescribed for patients is considered to be of high strength. The use of this compression sock is to disable the pooling of blood in the ankles where we have the most considerable pressure. Also, it can be worn for more than six months. 

Will I Need T. E. D Anti-Embolism Stockings? 

Anti-embolism stockings shouldn’t be worn when a person is recovering from a long illness or surgery, or the person is bedridden. These specialized garments aren’t meant to be worn when a person is walking around, going about his or her daily routine. 

The word Ambulatory refers to a condition when a person can walk around and walk, while Non-ambulatory is the opposite of that. Anti-Embolism stockings come with a different kind of pressure structure; the structure alternates as the stocking moves up the leg. Besides, this style of compression is the best for non-ambulatory applications. To get the best result, it shouldn’t be worn when he or she walks or when moving about.   

Do I need T.E.D. Pantyhose or Compression Stockings or Compression Socks? 

Compression legwear could be worn anytime a person steps out of bed and can also be applied for treating complications like fatigue or achy legs or deep vein thrombosis.  Medical pressure is made available in a variety of levels. Each level is designed for several uses, and it can be beneficial to read our guide on Compression stockings and socks so you can get a complete understanding of how to measure yourself for the stockings and how to decide the best level that is required. 

Difference Between Various Compression Garments

TED is intended to be worn during a prolonged hospital stay. They are best applied when a person isn’t able to move around. When applied correctly, TED stockings can have impressive results. Nevertheless, they mustn’t be used interchangeably. The guidelines given must be strictly followed. 

Compression Socks / Stockings = Ambulatory 

Ability to walk around and or move your legs and the level required will be verified by any medical team or physicians attending to you

T. E. D. Anti-Embolism Stockings = Non-ambulatory 

Inability to freely work due to illness or recovery from surgery, or if you are on bed rest, the person is considered “non-ambulatory.” TED stockings are precisely designed for Non-ambulatory usage. 

The Many Names of Compression Socks

I have often maintained that some standard medical supplies are identified with their different names. This is especially true of compression garments like T.E.D. Pantyhose or Compression Socks. Several manufacturers include variety to their offerings and would dub that new item with a new name. When the name gets recognition through its repeated use, it then starts to be applied to forms, and over time it transformed  from specific to generic name

Frankly, it could be confusing at times. For that reason, below are some names that socks could be identified with. 

Common Names for Compression Legwear:

  • Compression Stockings – this is a generic term used for pressure that can mean any length or level. 
  • Compression Hose – in general, this term hose means “pantyhose.” 
  • Compression socks – this term refers to a variety of pressure levels. 
  • Pressure Stocking – this term is older and  it is used for compression socks or stockings
  • Support Stocking – this term refers to pressure that is either thigh-high or knee-high in a variety of pressure levels. 
  • “Medical Compression” – this term refers to pressure levels that are within the range of 15-20mmHg and above. 
  • Lymphedema Socks – this term refers to pressure that’s applied in the treatment of venous issues and edema 
  • Support Hose – this term, in general, refers to a light to medium level pressure that is in a pantyhose style 
  • Athletic Compression Socks – this term means specifically, compression socks that are designed to be worn by athletes during exercise to enhance circulation and improving their post-workout recovery time. 
  • Athletic Compression socks – they are typically seen in the hospitals and are applied to Non-ambulatory people that are recovering from illness or surgery. 
Black TED Hose
Black T.E.D. Hose

Compression levels

Compression socks and stockings are applied to help in the relieving of achy and fatigued legs, swollen ankles and feet, and to enhance the flow of blood. Both versions are available in varying pressure levels. The measurement that is often used for compression socks is mmHg, or also recognized as millimeters of mercury. The higher the number of mmHg, the higher the pressure will feel. The different levels of pressure are worn to fight different medical conditions.  The best way to confirm the best pressure level for you is to discuss it with your physician or doctor. Below are the breakdown of the varying pressure levels.

8-15mmHg (Mild Compression) 

  • It provides relief to achy legs and fatigue
  • It helps to relieve minor swelling that’s associated with long hours of sitting
  • It accurately energies legs.

15-20mmHg (Moderate Compression) 

  • It’s used during pregnancy to help prevent varicose veins
  • It’s the best pressure to use when a person is traveling long distances
  • It’s used for the relief and prevention of minor to moderate spider veins and varicose
  • It is used in post-sclerotherapy treatment to assist in the prevention of reappearance of spider veins and varicose veins.
  • It’s used in Depp being thrombosis treatment.

20-30mmHg (Firm Compression) 

  • It’s used in the treatment of minor to chronic lymphatic edema and edema
  • It’s applied during pregnancy to help the person prevent varicose veins and for slight swelling of the ankles
  • It’s for the prevention and relief of severe and moderate varicose veins
  • It assists in the management of signs of post-thrombotic syndrome and active ulcers.

30-40mmHg (Extra Firm Compression) 

  • For relief and prevention of chronic spider veins and varicose
  • Used in post-sclerotherapy and post-surgical treatment to assist in lessening the reappearance of spider veins and varicose
  • Recommended for application during pregnancy only under a doctor’s guidance
  • Used in the treatment of chronic lymphedema and edema
  • It helps in the reduction of Postural Hypotension and Orthostatic Hypotension symptoms.
  • Helps in the management of manifestations of Post-Thrombotic Syndrome and Venous Ulcers.
  • Applied for treating and the prevention of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Ways to measure compression socks: Compression socks are hard to use, especially when they don’t fit right. A lot of people have found themselves buying compression socks for men in the bigger size category. Meanwhile, they were looking to buy compression socks for women. People with longer toes will feel more comfortable wearing open toe versions. Open toe socks are better because the toes will feel freer instead of being cramped up like in the closed-toe versions.

picture of medical compression socks measurement for patients

Make sure to measure your feet before buying compression socks, so you will be able to get just the perfect size and fit for your feet. Make sure to take the measurements early in the morning before your ankles and feet begin to swell. You can take the measurement immediately you get out of bed first thing in the morning. This is also the best time to wear your socks.

You can use a body tape measure to take the measurements of your feet. You can also use a string and then measure the string with a ruler after measuring your feet, that is if you don’t have a body tape measure. Make sure to use straight and untwisted strings and tape measure when measuring your feet, unless your measurements will be inaccurate and you will end up buying uncomfortable compression socks.

Make sure you take the measurements with your bare feet and do not put on shoes or socks while taking the measurement. It does not matter if you are looking to buy knee-high or thigh-high versions, you will have to take measurements. Even doctors understand how important accurate measurements are to this process

Ankle Circumference: Turn the tape around the smallest part of the ankle, directly above the ankle bone

Calf Circumference: Take the measurement around the biggest part of your calf. You may have to measure various parts of the calf to ensure that you measure the biggest part of the calf

Knee Length: You will need to know the length of your knee if you are buying Knee High variants. Start your measurement from behind your knee, just below the bend to where your heel stops. Make sure your measurement starts from below the curve of your knee.

Thigh Circumference: Take the measurement around the biggest part of your thigh.

Leg Length: You will need to know the length of your entire leg if you are looking to buy Thigh High variants. Start your measurement from behind your heel to the top of your thigh. Ensure that you make use of a straight tape measure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is T.E.D. hose? T.E.D. pantyhose are described as stockings used for the prevention of swelling in the leg and blood clots. If you just had surgery or have difficulty coming out of bed, you will most certainly need these. You may also require this if you have a history of blood clotting, or you are aged. Healthcare professionals will take measurements of your legs to ensure the compression garments fit perfectly. They also educate you or your care provider of how to put on these T.E.D. Hose.   

What you should know about putting on T.E.D. hose?

  • Lie down, placing your legs on a pillow for about 15 minutes before putting on the garment. 
  • Apply a small amount of powder to your ankles to ease the stockings on your legs. Consult your healthcare provider or doctor on the kind of powder to be used.       
  • Pull up the stocking onto your foot. Gather the loose material, applying such methods as a short, quick pull to get the whole compression garment up your leg. 

What else do I need to know about T.E.D. hose?

  • Your stockings should be worn all day or as prescribed. You may be instructed to put them on while sleeping at night, as well.
  • Ensure to check your toes frequently for color or temperature changes every 4 hours during the day. If you notice changes in your toes, remove the pressure garment immediately.
  • Always keep the fabric smooth and in one place. Don’t allow them to roll down at the top or even wrinkle. This is because wrinkles under your ties can prevent blood flow to your feet and legs. Creases or wrinkles, along with the leg cause pressure resulting in damage to your skin.
  • Take off your compression garments as directed and wash them. Also, wash your legs and look out for damaged skin or rash every time you undress.
  • Wash the T. E.D. Socks using warm water and mild soap. You may also be instructed to put on another pair while you wash the first pair of socks.
  • If your stockings don’t fit properly or get damaged, get new ones.

When do I contact my healthcare provider? Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You feel cold, and your toes swell, look blue, or you have difficulty moving them.
  • You have pain or leg cramps.
  • You have concerns or questions about your condition or care.


TED Stockings and Compression Stockings are two different types of socks. Although both are used in the medical field, both have different uses. The T.E.D. Hose is used for non-ambulatory patients (patients that can’t move around on their own), while Compression Socks are used for ambulatory patients (patients that can move around but need a level of pressure). Make sure that you seek advice from your doctor before buying either the T.E.D. Pantyhose or Compression Socks. Your physician will then decide which type of the two are best for you.