Compression Stockings Strength Chart

Have you wanted to use compression socks, or are you in need of a pair? Do you think you need it because of your rigorous activities, occupation, pregnancy, or medical condition? If you say yes to any of these, you would need to learn about the basics of compression socks to know what best fits you and your needs.

1. What You Need to Know First

First up, compression hosiery like socks, stockings, and sleeves provide pressure to the lower extremities. This pressure fixes the dilated veins that are embedded within the muscle tissues. Dilated veins may cause different problems on the legs, such as, but not limited to
  • Spider and varicose veins
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Fluid retention (edema)
  • Swelling
  • Blood Clotting
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Etc.
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Blood flow runs in a single direction in the blood vessels. When the vein dilates, the blood flow gets disrupted, meaning blood pools in the enlarged veins that trigger those mentioned. The root cause has to be treated to address the issue, which is the dilation of the veins.
The only way to address this is to apply outside pressure to the muscle tissues to constrict the dilated veins back to their average size. This is what compression socks do specifically and is the only suitable treatment.

2. Compression Level Chart

The most important thing to know when buying compression socks is the pressure. That is the primary feature that has to be determined by users or patients. The second most important perhaps is the length of the compression hosiery; these are knee-high, thigh high and tights.
So the measurement used for compression socks is mmHg which stands for millimeter per Mercury. This is the measurement used to determine pressure levels.
Here are the different pressure levels of compression stockings:
  • Light Compression: 8 to 15 mmHg
  • Medium Compression: 15 to 20 mmHg
  • Firm Compression: 20 to 30 mmHg (medical grade)
  • Extra Firm Compression: 30 to 40 mmHg (medical grade)
  • Severe Compression: 40 to 50 mmHg (medical grade)

Use Per Level Of Compression Socks

For each compression level, there is a corresponding usage. You can’t just point a finger and say, “I think this extra firm compression will be better for my workout.” If you do that, you may put your health at risk,
Here is a guide that you can refer to for usage:
a.) 8 to 15 mmHg
This compression level is ideal for daily use. Compression is at the lightest level, safe but still not recommended for those with medical conditions.
  • Relief for aching feet and calf muscles
  • Ideal for hiking, jogging, running, and brisk walking
  • Inhibits fatigue due to long periods of standing and sitting
  • Hinders spider and varicose vein growth in pregnant women
  • Maintains healthy and robust leg muscles
  • Alleviates mild swelling of the ankles, feet, and legs
b.) 15 to 20 mmHg
This is a more popular over-the-counter compression level of socks or stockings. The pressure level is perfect for certain activities. Still, it is not recommended for individuals with health problems without a doctor’s advice.
  • Same function as the light compression socks.
  • Ideal for flying and long travels
  • Perfect use for athletes, pregnant women, pilots, and flight attendants
  • Inhibits deep vein thrombosis (DVT), also known as the economy syndrome
  • Hinders the development of moderate cases of varicose veins
  • Worn after sclerotherapy treatment to restrain the regrowth of spider and varicose veins
c.) 20 to 30 mmHg
This level of compression socks needs a prescription by a doctor or a health professional for guidance to the length of use, fitting, and type.
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  • Post-sclerotherapy and post-surgical treatment to avoid regeneration of varicose and spider veins
  • For therapy of moderate to severe lymphatic edema and edema
  • Avoids DVT
  • Hinders orthostatic hypotension
  • Alleviates superficial thrombophlebitis
  • Relieves the manifestation of post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) and assists with the management of active leg ulcers
d.) 30 to 40 mmHg
Compression level also needs to be prescribed by a health professional or a medical doctor.
  • Blocks the development of DVT
  • Prevents manifestation of PTS and for the management of severe leg ulcers
  • Decreases the symptoms of both Postural and Orthostatic Hypotension
  • Treatment for severe cases of edema and lymphedema
  • Inhibits the worsening of varicose veins
  • Post-sclerotherapy and post-surgical treatment to avoid regrowth of varicose and spider veins
e.) 40 to 50 mmHg
Same as the two previous compression levels, this is also prescribed by a medical doctor and has to be strictly supervised since the pressure level is exceptionally tight.
  • Compression is gradient, Tightest at the ankle and gradually decreases upwards
  • Treatment for chronic DVT and vein insufficiency
  • Acute swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet
  • Severe venous problems
  • Wound and fracture management

Note: If you have cardiovascular problems with diabetes or other medical conditions that can complicate your health when using compression socks, speak to your doctor before doing so to avoid health risks.

3. In Conclusion

Compression socks have different pressure levels for various uses and treatments. Over-the-counter compression socks, stockings, and sleeves are okay to be used if you don’t have any underlying medical condition. Don’t forget to refer to compression charts for you to be appropriately guided. Lastly, always speak to your doctor before buying a pair of compression hosiery to prevent health risks or medical emergencies.

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