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What are the qualities of a good compression sock?

I sit a desk most of the day at work and want to start wearing compression socks to help my circulation. After just a little research I see that there are a lot of options available. What should I consider when selecting a compression sock?

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Doctors Answers (5)

You should consider if your legs swell or not and if you have varicose veins or not. Over the counter hose are fine if you have no swelling or large varices. These are a mild compression and should be a graduated compression 15-18 or 8-15. What you choose regarding knee high, thigh high or pantyhose if they are not prescribed is more of a preference of what you like

First, it should fit properly. If the sock is made well, but is the wrong size it will not function as designed. Second, it should be strong enough. Most people without varicose veins use 15-20 or 20-30 mm compression socks. Third, the socks should be graduated. That means they are stronger down low and milder up high to augment venous return. There are several good stocking manufacturers to choose from which will improve your venous return in your legs, but will not affect the arterial circulation.

I would first talk with your physician. While medical grade compression stockings are often beneficial, there are some contraindications.

Medical grade compression socks are rated by their tightness or the pressure they exert, ranging from 15-20 mm/Hg for smaller veins and 20-30 mm/Hg for larger and varicose veins for most people. The socks also vary in length which depends on the distribution of your vein problem, from full length to thigh high and knee high. Finally, there is a difference in materials used so a better made hose is also more comfortable. I find hose made in Italy and Germany is often very well made for the price. As with other things, you get what you pay for, so discount hose can be expected to not last nearly as long and are less comfortable to wear so you are less likely to actually wear them regularly. I will not recommend specific brands, but order a single pair and try them before ordering more. Vein clinics and larger medical supply businesses can also be helpful in deciding what is best for you.

If you do not have any obvious circulatory problems, I would recommend a 15-20 mmHg pressure knee length hose. We recommend a professionally measured and fitted hose. Cheaper is not better. Hose from manufacturers such as Bauerfeind and Sigvaris are medically produced from high quality materials and stylish to boot. They are uch more comfortable and therefore more likely to be worn. They can be sheer or like a trouser sock for both men and women.

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