Leg discomfort can affect anyone at virtually any time and for any number of reasons—from a job that has you standing or sitting for long periods and leading to achy, tired legs, to health conditions impacting your circulation, like swelling or varicose veins. Factors as varied as lifestyle habits and your family history can influence leg health. Wearing gradient compression socks, compression stockings or other types of support hosiery can help.
The concept behind compression socks and stockings is to promote circulation,
reduce swelling and improve leg health, relieving that tired aching feeling. Support socks and other hosiery offer different levels of compression, measured in mmHg. Your leg problem will determine the best mmHg pressure for you.
Gradient Compression Choices
8-15 mmHg gradient compression stockings offer a gentle squeeze at the ankles and up the legs to get blood flowing back toward the heart. This should be enough compression to help relieve that achy feeling.
15-20 mmHg compression stockings and socks help with mild swelling—a build-up of fluid in the body's tissues, often in the lower leg and ankle. Note that moderate and severe swelling usually needs higher compression, but you need a physician’s specific advice; don’t try a higher compression product on your own.
20-30 mmHg is the most common level of compression suggested for managing varicose veins, which can be can be mild to severe. Caused by the pooling of blood in a damaged vein, varicose veins often run in families. Your doctor will determine the right level of compression for you based on your symptoms.
30-40 mmHg knee length compression stockings and hosiery are the typically the prescribed compression for a condition called chronic venous insufficiency—when damaged valves in the veins cause blood to pool in the leg, leading to swelling and discomfort. This is also the product prescribed to manage acute symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and help prevent long-term effects. DVT is described as a blood clot that forms in a deep vein and blocks the flow of blood.
Correct Sizing, Great Styling
Compression stockings, socks and other hosiery sizing generally follows your shoe size and/or a simple calf measurement. To get an accurate calf measurement, use a cloth tapemeasure to take the circumference at the thickest part of your calf. Perhaps the greatest advance in support socks and other is design improvement—today’s products look as stylish as any regular hosiery you might buy, including those from industry leader Jobst. Women can choose ultra sheer knee highs with the same features available in regular knee-highs. For instance, Jobst Women's UltraSheer Support Knee High Stockings, 8-15 mmHg, are available in beige or sun bronze, are run-resistant and have a soft comfortable knee band and sandalfoot styling.
Men can also choose dress socks with traditional styling. Options from the line of Jobst compression socks, a leading name in the industry, include black Jobst for Men dress socks, 8-15 mmHg, in a stylish, comfortable ribbed design ideal for everyday work or leisure and comes in a wide variety of sizes. Jobst compression socks in the knee-high design come in 20-30 mmHg and 30-40 mmHg designs and look like fine quality dress socks. They have a ribbed design with knit-in anatomical shape and fit, a comfort band keeps socks up all day without binding or pinching, smooth, flat toe seams and a reciprocated heel.
An important note about using compression socks and other hosiery: Prolonged swelling should not be ignored, as it may be a sign of serious disease or chronic vein insufficiency. These and any other serious symptoms need to be evaluated by your physician. Always talk with your health care provider before wearing any type of products with a compression 20 mmHg and greater.