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TED Stockings: All You Need to Know (including Pictures!)

In the world of fabrics, compression technology refers to a special kind of hosiery technique, used to make products that can put pressure into different areas of the body. As a technique, it is used in a wide variety of clothing, or should I say stockings. T.E.D. stockings are one of these products. However, due to the use of similar techniques, its quite common for people to get confused, and mix one type of socks with the other.

confused physician
Physician figuring out the right compression stockings.

Even when it comes to medical assistants and caregivers, there are a surprisingly great number of instances where they mixed-up TED stockings with other types of compression stockings. Considering how important it is to wear the right kind of compression stockings for the right purpose, we discuss everything you need to know about T.E.D. stockings here.

What are T. E. D. Stockings?

According to the medical dictionary, T.E.D. stockings are elastic stockings that are capable of compressing the superficial veins in the lower extremities, and doing so, can push blood through the deep veins of the thighs and calves.

Prescribed to be used by postoperative patients and others with immobility; T.E.D. stockings are made using graduated compression technologies. Different levels of pressure are spread across the garment, in order to regulate blood circulations in specific parts of the lower veins.

thigh high ted stockings

What Does TED Stands For? TED or T.E.D. is an abbreviation that stands for Thromboembolism-Deterrent. The name derived from their medical use to prevent blood clots from forming in patients suffering from a number of different conditions. T.E.D. hoses are also commonly known as Anti-Embolism stockings. You would also come across stockings that are called TED hose.

Are They Also Known As TED Hose? Yes and no! In many medical and marketing communities, TED hose and T.E.D. stockings often get used interchangeably. Therefore, it is safe to say that they are the same thing. Yet, there are manufacturers who sometimes use these two terms for two different products. So, to put it simply, the ideal thing to say would be that all the TED hose are T.E.D. stockings, but not all the T.E.D. stockings are TED hose. While the majority of the places, they are used to define the same products, the difference is the length of the stockings.

White Coloured, Two Sizes: Anti-Embolism stockings are usually available in two sizes: knee-high length and thigh-high length. The knee-high compression stockings are usually referred to as T.E.D. stockings, while the thigh-high stockings are known as TED hose.

different styles of ted stockings
TED Stockings: Thigh-High | Knee-High

The reason is, obviously, TED hose’s similarities with the regular pantyhose. However, the similarities pretty much stop at the look and length. All varieties of the TED stockings are usually made in white. They also come with gradient compression technology to exert pressure in certain areas.

Moreover, quite different from regular compression stockings, T.E.D. stockings or anti-embolism stockings are also designed with a hole around the feet. As they are mainly used to prevent the formation of the blood clots in post-surgical patients, this hole enables the nurses and caregivers to check the blood circulation in the superficial veins.

Which T.E.D. Stockings to Wear?

Whether you should wear knee-high or thigh-high anti-embolism stockings varies from person to person depending on their conditions. Therefore, it is always advised to talk to a doctor about the specific type of product to use for the most benefit.

Are T. E. D. Stockings The Same as Compression Stockings? Similar to T.E.D. stockings and hose, compression stockings are also elastic stockings that look pretty similar to regular pantyhose. These stockings also use pretty similar gradient compression techniques. Yet, they are different products made and used for different purposes. Compression stockings and anti-embolism stockings are different from each other in terms of design – there is no hole in compression stockings, color – they are available in a variety of colors, compression levels, as well as their purpose.

Compression stockings use a significantly higher level of compressions to exert pressure in the lower extremities. While they also use gradient compression techniques, they differ in the way the pressure points are spread. Anti-embolism stockings put the maximum pressure around the ankles, whereas, compression stockings feel the tightest around the calves.

Importance of Choosing the Right Stockings

The importance of choosing and wearing the right type of compression stockings is no less than using the right medicine for the right purposes. As mentioned above, compression stockings use significantly higher pressure levels than anti-embolism stockings. Therefore, they are also prescribed for different medical benefits.

Different comression levels and their use

Mainly, compression stockings are for walking. used by people to comfort their legs while standing for a long period of time, prevent pain in the leg veins and leg swelling, etc. They are also prescribed for patients with venous insufficiency, lymphedema, varicose veins and so on.

Whereas, anti-embolism stockings are prescribed for bed-ridden patients, mainly after surgery. They are also used to prevent and tackle different medical conditions, making it essential to recognize the difference and wear the right kind of stockings for the right cause. To understand the differences in detail, you can refer to our comprehensive blog about the difference between anti-embolism stockings and compression stockings.

Compression Levels used in TED Stockings

TED Hose or anti-embolism stockings use gradient compression technology to exert pressures between 8 – 18 mmHg. As you can see, the pressure is calculated with mmHg or millimeters of mercury, the same measurement scale used to measure our blood pressure. The highest pressure in T.E.D. stockings can be felt around the ankles, with the pressures decreasing as it goes up the leg. The clinically-proven pattern indicates the maximum 18mmHg at the ankles, 14mmHg at the calves, 10mmHg at the lower thighs, 8mmhg at the popliteal and upper thighs.

For Whom These Stockings Are Made For?

As the saying goes, TEDs are for Beds. Any types of anti-embolism stockings are made to be worn by bed-ridden patients. If you are confined to beds or wheelchairs, whether it’s for surgery or other diseases; wearing anti-embolism stockings would reduce the chance for blood to pull in the lower limbs and from the blood clots.

postoperative patient

They are usually made for three types of people:

  • People who are immobile/ can’t walk on their own.
  • Post-surgical patients confined to hospital beds.
  • People with a history or in risks of suffering from venous thromboembolism (VTE).

They are not meant for providing comfort while standing or keeping blood circulation regulated while moving around. So, wearing them other than when immobile may not bring any benefits to your health condition whatsoever.

Medical Benefits of T.E.D. Stockings


TED hose are only prescribed to immobile or non-ambulatory patients. When a patient isn’t moving around much on their own, or just recovering from a surgery, the risks of blood clots forming in their legs get higher. To prevent that, the mild external pressure provided by T.E.D. stockings can be highly beneficial. They are also prescribed for patients with the risk of suffering from the most common venous thromboembolism diseases (VTE) like a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). People with a history of VTE can also benefit in preventing future occurrences by wearing these stockings.

What Are Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Diseases?

In medical terms, venous thromboembolism or VTE is a condition in which a blood clot forms in the vein and get dislodged to travel through the blood. The name is derived from the term thrombus, which is used in medical science to refer to a blood clot. There are two most common types of VTE disease, which are:

deep vein thrombosis
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): When blood clots form in the deep veins of the legs or pelvic area, it is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It is the most common occurrence of VTE that comes with the risks of blood clots getting dislodged and travel through the bloodstream. Therefore, blood flow in the affected veins get affected and results in pain and leg swelling.
  • Pulmonary Embolism (PE): When the blood clots or thrombus get dislodged and travel to the lungs and to the pulmonary arteries, the condition is called pulmonary embolism (PE). It is not very common, however, the condition can be fatal in some cases.
TEDs for beds
TEDs for beds

People in their golden age of over 60 years old are more susceptible to suffer from the symptoms of VTE. Other major risk factors include patients with obesity, immobility, acute medical conditions, cancers, etc. People such as pilots and air-hostess who has a history of prolonged travel can also be at risk of suffering from DVT or PE.

White hose
White hose

How to Find the Right Sizes for Anti-Embolism Stockings?

Whether its anti-embolism stockings or any other types of compression stockings or socks, measuring the size accurately is essential to experience the benefits. In fact, as compression stockings come with different pressure points at different areas of the legs, it is the most vital element to consider while purchasing T.E.D. stockings. It is advised to find the exact measurements of both legs, as they may be of slightly different sizes. It is also better to take the measurements first thing in the morning, as swelling remains at the minimum. To find your perfect size:

measuring for compression stockings
  • First, measure the narrowest point of your ankle area – just above the ankle bone.
  • Then, measure the widest part of your calf.
  • Finally, measure the distance between feet touching the floor up until the bend on your knee for the knee-sized stockings, or up to the thighs (2-3 inch widths down) for TED hose.

How to Wear TED Stockings?

Being elastic in nature, it is not straightforward to put on a pair of anti-embolism stockings. Before putting it on, it is better to lie down and prop up your legs on top of a pillow for around 15 minutes. If you need to make it easier, rub some powder around the ankles recommended by the healthcare professionals. After the initial preparation, you can just follow the step-by-step guide shown and described below:

How to wear TED stockings
  1. Insert your hand into the stocking and reach as far as the heel pocket.
  2. Grab the center of the heel pocket and turn the stocking inside-out up to the heel area.
  3. Position the stocking over your feet and the heel. Be careful about placing your heel in the center of the heel pocket.
  4. Start pulling up the stocking through the ankle and the calves until the stitch changes in the fabric reach a couple of inches below the bend of your knee. If it’s a thigh-length stocking, pull up the thigh portion around the designated area.
  5. Once the thigh-length stocking is worn, rotate it inwards in order to place the gusset over the femoral vein. The top band of the gusset should rest in the gluteal fold – the curvy line at the bottom of the buttock.
  6. Finally, pull any excess area to smooth it out, especially around the ankles and insteps.

How Long Should You Wear TED Hose?

Depending on the health condition and the process of surgical recover, doctors may prescribe to wear T.E.D. stockings for a period of 3 weeks – 6 weeks. In general, postoperative patients are advised to wear these specialty stockings until they are mobile, or other prescriptions are given to prevent blood clots. However, blood clots may steel form within the first few months of recovery. As a result, consult with your doctor to find the recommended duration of use for any particular case.

Knee length ted hose
Knee length ted hose

How to To Care for Anti-embolism Stockings?

When you take these stockings off every day, just rinse them off with cold water and hang in your clothe hanger or lay them flat for soaking. Once the stockings get swelled from dirt and oil after a few days of use, use a gentle cleanser (preferably a compression cleanser) to wash them off.

clothes hanger

Some packagings of T.E.D. stockings may advise to give them a cold wash in your washing machine. However, to keep them in top conditions, it is better to perform a hand wash. Also, it is strictly recommended not to use a dryer, as doing so can easily shrink or warp the fine fabrics used in T.E.D. stockings.