Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Reviewing Choosing Compression Socks

Not All Compression Socks Are Created Equal

If you find yourself having to wear compression socks, are they digging into your legs? If so, you do not have a proper fit. Let's review the things you need to know before purchasing another pair.

compression socks
These ankles don't seem to need compression socks. Do yours?
image courtesy of pixabay.com
We might assume that if this type of stocking has been recommended by a physician that the correct size would be prescribed or at least the information you need to purchase them if they are not covered under your insurance. That isn't always the case. Even in a hospital or assisted care facility, the correct fit isn't always chosen. If they are so tight they cut into your leg or so loose you have to pull them up; they are not the proper fit for your legs.

Factors To Take Into Consideration:

I think most of us would opt for a lower cost in this type of stocking that is supposed to help our circulation because we don't plan on having to wear them for an extended length of time. First of all, the cheaper ones don't usually ask for measurements of your calf or your ankle and that is important for a proper fit. They also don't normally tell you the degree of pressure the socks will provide and that is also important. 

The amount of compression that you need is determined by why you are being asked to wear these socks. 
  • Mild compression (15-20 mm Hg) is used for the relief or prevention of minor to moderate varicose veins, minor swelling of the legs and ankles, or tired and aching legs
  • Moderate compression (20-30 mm Hg) is needed for moderate to severe varicose veins, moderate to severe lymphatic edema, ulcers, or post thrombotic syndrome
  • Firm compression (30-40 mm HG) is used for ulcer management or post thrombotic syndrome
The better quality socks will provide a chart to determine what size you need. You will need to measure the circumference of your calf and your ankle in order to know what size will work best for you. A proper fitting stocking will feel snug but not tight. 

Usually if a physician has recommended that you wear the socks, they will give you some guidance on what to select. They do not have to be prescribed in order to wear them, though. Athletes often wear compression stockings to help with blood flow as they perform. They are also often used by people who have to stand on their feet for long periods of time during their work day. 

Compression socks like the ones below give you the option of the sizing and compression provided before you order them: 

Disclaimer: I am not a physician. Be sure to discuss the use and purchase of compression socks with your medical professional before using them. This is information you can be armed with when you have the discussion.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Thanks for this review Bev, compression socks can make the difference in how you feel at the end of the day. Walking, standing and any activities that you may undertake, when you have varicose veins can really make you feel tired, sore and cranky. These socks can take away that soreness, but do speak with your doctor first.

  2. Many years ago I had to wear these, they helped a lot. Fortunately I no longer need them, however, even wearing a snug legging feels good - so for those with a need for these, absolutely give them a try. Being able to choose the level of compression, as you indicated above, is important.

  3. Definitely good information to have. Thanks very much, Beverly.

  4. Wow, this is really excellent information! I never would have guessed there would be a difference and I am most grateful to know that BEFORE I, or someone I love, need them. Thank you Bev for thinking to share this knowledge.

  5. Thanks for these helpful tips! My dad needed to wear compression socks in his later years. They were challenging to get on and off, both for him and, later, for me, when he needed me to do it for him, but it was worth the effort, as they provided some much-needed relief.

  6. My husband has been wearing these socks for a long time, but they often are too tight, making him very uncomfortable. I'm wondering if he might be using the wrong size or the wrong compression. I believe he had medical guidance, but that was years ago. Maybe it's time for a change. Thank you for the tips.


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