First Time Buyers Guide
Your doctor or therapist just told you to buy compression stockings. Now what?
Q: What compression level do I need?
A:There are 4 main compression levels which are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The higher the numbers, the higher the compression.
- 8-15 mmHg: mild compression – great for tired, aching legs | makes legs feel energized | very mild swelling
- 15-20 mmHg: moderate compression – travel | standing for long periods | mild swelling | mild varicose veins | pregnancy
- 20-30 mmHg: firm compression – moderate swelling | edema | post-sclerotherapy | moderate varicose veins
- 30-40 mmHg: x-firm compression – severe swelling | edema | venous ulcers | post-sclerotherapy | severe varicose veins
This information should not be construed as medical advice. PLEASE ask your doctor or therapist which compression level you should wear. More information on Compression Levels is available here.
Q: Should I buy knee-highs, thigh-highs, or pantyhose?
A: This is fairly easy to answer. The stocking should cover the area on your leg where you’re experiencing the problem.
- For travel, knee-highs are normally recommended | Pregnancy – pantyhose | Schlerotherapy – thigh-highs
- If you have varicose veins or swelling above the calf – consider a thigh high or pantyhose option
Q: What size do I need?
A: Lower compression levels are often sized based on shoe size or height and weight.
- Higher compression levels are sized based on leg measurements. The circumference of your ankle at the narrowest point, calf at the widest, and upper thigh about 3″ below the gluteal fold.
- If you ‘re short you may need a petite length stocking. Measure the distance from the floor to the bend of your knee and consult the size charts.
- Size charts are on every product page.
Q: How do I measure my leg?
Q: What brand should I buy?
A: This is the hard question. Most brands have an economy line, in addition to premium lines of stockings. The price difference usually reflects the quality of the fibers, the transparency, ease-of-use and available options.
Economy Compression Stockings
- Less spandex – they don’t stretch as much
- Can be less comfortable depending on the fit and fabric
- Unwrapped spandex – more difficult to put on and take off
- Basic colors and fabrics
- Less sizing and style options
- Less expensive
Premium Compression Stockings
- More spandex so the stocking moves with your leg
- Wrapped spandex, much easier to put on and take off
- Sheer and very comfortable
- More color, fabric, and sizing options
- More expensive
If you have questions, need help with sizing or deciding what brand to buy, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our certified fitters are available by phone M-F from 9AM to 6PM, ET at 1-209-683-4731. Email is always available, just click Contact Us.