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TEDs Stockings – Step-By-Step Guide (With Pictures!)

meme showing a cat after using teds stockings
After using teds stockings

You may be wondering what are TEDS Stockings? The difference between TED socks and compression socks, the benefits of TED socks and how you can use them effectively. Well, we dive down into the fundamentals and take you on a journey to understand these stockings.

TED socks are stockings which offer compression on the lower extremities ensuring that there is no pooling of blood in your veins. These socks are recommended and prescribed by doctors after a patient has undergone surgery and is 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.

These stockings come 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. Lower compression strengths can be purchased over the counter from your local pharmacy or on an online compression store.

What are T.E.D (anti-embolism) stockings?

TED stockings an abbreviation for thromboembolism deterrent socks. These are stockings designed and worn to support venous and lymphatic drainage of the leg. This means that when you are recovering in bed these socks will 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 extremities.

TED socks are available in different styles such as knee-high and thigh-high. As far as using these stockings, 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. This means that 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 sizing is required. It is a good idea to take accurate measurements using a compression stocking guide.

image showing compression sizing chart
Compression sizing chart

Difference between TED Stockings and TED Hose

There are no major differences between TED socks and hose. Yes TED Stocking is also referred to as a hose and there are different names used to refer to these socks. The names are used interchangeably even on the same web page. Over time, many things in the medical community take on different names and almost used with equal frequency.

Sometimes the name difference seems to be linked to the style of anti-embolism compression. For example, if the stockings are knee-length, then they are known as stockings, if they are thigh high they are referred to as hose.

However, this is not the case and you should always check out the product description before purchasing the socks to make sure that you are buying the correct version. The most important part of the name is T.E.D because that will help you ensure that you are getting anti-embolism stockings or hose.

image showing benefits of anti-embolism stockings
Benefits of compression hose

Compression levels in TEDS stockings

Anti-embolism stockings and hoses work differently than traditional compression socks and stockings. TED hos changes compression levels as it goes up the leg. It offers the highest compression levels at the ankles and then the compression gets less as the stockings move up your leg, You can expect 18 mmHg at the ankle, 14 mmHg at the calf and lower thigh will be around 10 mmHg and then 8mmHg at the upper thigh.

The anti-embolism hose is meant to be worn when you are recovering from an illness or any time you are bound in bed for a long period of hospital stay. They are not meant to be used when you are up and moving around. For daily active-wear, you will use a regular compression stocking.

compression levels on a teds stocking
Compression levels of a teds stockings

Deep Vein Thrombosis

DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) is a blood clot which forms in the deep veins of the body. Generally, the blood clot causes leg pain or swelling and sometimes DVT causes no symptoms at all. Deep Vein Thrombosis is a serious medical condition because the blood clot in the veins can break loose and travel through the bloodstream. The blood clot can be lodged inside your lungs and block blood circulation. this is called pulmonary embolism.

Anti-embolism hose like TED stockings is designed to prevent the forming of these blood clots. Deep Vein Thrombosis can be caused by a variety of medical conditions however, they are commonly caused by being confined to a bed or if you are unable to move in a long period. This is why T.E.D stockings are used by patients in hospitals. Hospitals recommend their patients to use anti-embolism socks to reduce the risk of DVT.

Caring for TEDS stockings

It is important to also know how to take care of your TED stockings to realize the full benefits of the socks. Because these socks have different compression pressures on different parts of the lower limbs, these stockings need caring by ensuring that you follow a systematic way to put them on.

different compression levels
compression levels

The easiest way to take care of your TED socks is to rinse them out with cold water after taking them off each day. After a few days of wear, hand wash them with a gentle cleanser and if they become soiled you will need to cleanse them more often. Make sure to remove oil and dirt from these stockings to keep them in top working condition.

When you purchase these stockings, the packaging it is shipped in will instruct you on how to take care of the socks. Most packaging will inform you to wash them using cold water in a washing machine. However, hand washing the stockings makes them last longer.

You can dry them by hanging them or laying them flat. Do not put them in a dryer because this will damage them by shrinking and warping the fabric. It is always recommended that you get two or three pairs of stockings so that you can wash and rinse them each time you use them and still have time for the anti-embolism stockings to dry off completely before wearing them again.

Wearing ted stockings

Putting on a ted stocking takes a little practice. But by following the following steps you can put them on with ease and reap its full benefits:

  • Insert your hand into the stocking as far as the heel pocket.
  • Grasp the center of the heel pocket and turn the stocking inside out to heel area.
  • Carefully position the stocking over your foot and heel. make sure that the heel is centered in the heel pocket.
  • Begin to pull the body of the stocking around the ankle and calf. The stitch change(change in fabric sheerness) should fall between one and two inches below the bend of the knee.
  • As thigh portion of the stocking is applied, start rotating the stocking inward so the gusset is centered over the femoral vein. The gusset is placed slightly towards the inside of the legs and top band should rest in line at the bottom of the buttocks. Smooth out any excess materials. Pull the toe section forward to smooth ankle and instep sections.
effects of venous insufficiency
Effects of venous insufficiency

Difference between TED stockings and compression socks

Patents may be prescribed with lower limb compression to assist in treatment of various medical conditions. Two common examples of conditions which need compression therapy include edema (fluid retention) and DVT Deep Vein Thrombosis). The treatment for these conditions is similar and involves use of garments that offer pressure to the legs.

The most common names for these garments are compression stockings and TED hose. Many people, including healthcare professionals, mistakenly identify all compression garments as simply as TED hose. Health care providers, patients and caregivers must be aware that there are specific difference between these compression garments.

TED stockings

TED hose or Thrombo-embolic deterrent socks is used for individuals who are non ambulatory (not walking). They are made for beds or used after immediate post surgical to assist in preventing pooling of the blood in the legs which can lead to blood clot. TED stockings have a compression level at or below 20 mmHg which is the highest at the calf where the blood tends to pool when patients are in bed.

compression sleeve
Gradient compression sleeve

The mmHg stands for millimeters of mercury and is used to describe the amount of pressure exerted. TED hose are made to last approximately three weeks, since patients have either mobilized again after surgery or have another preventive measure for blood clots.

Compression stocking

Compression stocking may be prescribed for mobile patients with blood circulation problems and require a more aggressive level of compression. These stockings are used for conditions such as venous insufficiency, varicose veins and lymphedema. These garments are best for patients who are ambulatory as walking aids blood return while the stockings prevent excess blood from pooling in the lower extremities.

In these garments, the compression levels are generally divided into 15-20mmHg, 20-30mmHg, and 30-40mmHg categories, with some patients requiring special custom garments up to 60mmHg. Generally, garments that exert 20 mmHg or higher to a leg will need a doctors prescription. In compression stockings the pressure is greatest at the ankle, where the effect of gravity is high on the veins while standing. Compression hosiery should last approximately for 6 months or more if taken care of as needed.

colorful compression sleeves
Compression socks

Patients who are looking to use compression socks should seek information about these garments to incorporate them as part of their treatment.

When to wear TED stockings or compression hose

When patients hear the term TED hose and compression socks, they may think that they are interchangeable. They are two different types of compression hosiery for two different types of patients. In general, patients are prescribed one of the two for different conditions of which the most common is edema and DVT. Using the right compression garment for the right condition will expedite healing and also keep the patient safe.

TED Hose

These stockings are prescribed for patients who are non-ambulatory and not moving around on their own. These patients have increased risk of blood clots developing in their legs which is the main concern for healthcare providers. These clots can break free and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism.

TEDS Stockings will help reduce the risk by administering pressure on the lower part of the feet and leg. The most compression occurs at the calf muscles as patients lay in bed, blood is more likely to pool in the calf creating the right environment for a clot to form. Patients can wear TED stockings for up to three weeks at which time they will be mobile again or have another treatment prescribed to them.

compression socks
Compression socks

Compression socks

Whereas TEDS Stockings are prescribed for non-ambulatory patients, compression socks are best suited for people who can move around. Generally, compression socks are for patients which circulatory problems such as venous insufficiency, varicose veins and lymphedema. People can use compression socks during pregnancy, when travelling or if their jobs entail standing for long periods. Higher compression strengths need a doctors prescription so that patients can gain its full benefits.

Various names for TEDS Stockings

  • Support Hose- this refers to a light to medium level compression that is in a “pantyhose” style
  • Support Stocking – refers to compression that is knee-high or thigh-high in a variety of compression levels
  • Compression Stocking – a generic term for compression that can mean any level or length
  • Compression Hose – in general, hose means “pantyhose”
  • Compression Socks – this would refer to a variety of compression levels but would only be knee-high and can be in the sports compression style or the business socks style
  • Pressure Stocking- this is an older term for compression stockings or socks
  • Medical Compression Stockings- this refers to compression levels that are 15 – 20 mmHg and above
  • Anti-Embolism Stockings – commonly known as TED Hose and they are typically found in hospitals and are used by non-ambulatory people recovering from surgery or illness
  • Lymphedema Stockings – refers to the compression used to treat oedema and other venous issues
  • Athletic Compression Socks – this term refers specifically to the compression socks designed to be worn by athletes during exercise to increase circulation as well as improving their post-workout recovery time
image showing open toe TEDS Stockings
Open toe compression socks


Teds stockings are compression hosiery which is used for patients who cannot move and are bedridden. There are differences between these socks and compression graduated socks. These socks help in reducing the risk of blood pooling in the calf and developing DVT or blood clots. TEDS hose provides different compression levels on the ankles, calves, knee and thigh.