Compression Science

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Doctors generally recommend compression socks or stockings to address certain conditions and especially those susceptible to blood clots, lower limb edema and the pooling of blood in the legs and feet commonly caused by prolonged inactivity such as sitting. Besides these, they are also prescribed for cellulitis, lymphedema, thrombosis and diabetes. These compression stockings are made in such a way as to compress higher at the ankles and tapering as they get higher towards the knees. They have been designed to remedy impaired musculovenous pump action caused by problematic leg vein valves.

Medical grade compression socks are rated in millimeters of mercury or mmHg. For just the right measure of compression, as in the case of compression stocking, calf and ankle circumference have to be considered besides shoe size. Compression of 15-20 mmHg is generally fine.

HOW MUCH COMPRESSION?

There is no certainty on exactly how much compression you may need unless thorough measurements and doctors’ consultations have been met. When it comes to measuring, always measure in the morning; and again in the evening if you are able to. As a general guide, the following is a simplistic estimation.

15-20 mm/Hg
Minor or occasional swelling or discomfort.
20-30 mm/Hg
Regular ankle and feet swelling by the end of the day.
30-40 mm/Hg
Severe swelling or if you get swelling while wearing compression.

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