Two Words: Compression Socks

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Two Words: Compression Socks

I’m sure you’ve heard about compression socks before. But how much do you really know about them? 

Compression socks are often referred to as “gradient elastic stockings”, a term first coined in the 1950’s by Conrad Jobst. The term is used to describe the function of a compression sock, where the squeezing to the leg is tightest at the ankle and gradually decreases up to leg. Compression socks work to prevent the feeling of tired, heavy, aching legs caused by poor blood circulation, and they’re also a great way to prevent blood clots and keep leg muscles strong and healthy.


Compression Socks - Healthwick

Compression Sock Uses

A lot of people from all walks of life could benefit from wearing compression socks and stockings by helping to improve leg circulation. However, they’re especially effective for those dealing with leg swelling, varicose veins, venous insufficiency, post-thrombotic syndrome, healed and active venous ulcers, lymphedema, and tired, aching, and heavy feeling legs. Check out our Guide to Compression Socks to learn more.


While compression can be a great tool for many people, there are some people who should avoid the use of compression socks and stockings. Those with conditions such as; Ischemia of the legs, uncontrolled congestive heart failure, untreated septic phlebitis of the leg, incompatibility of garment, impaired sensitivity of the limb, Phlegmausia cerulea dolens, immobility (confinement to bed), and skin infections should consult with their healthcare professional prior to using compression socks or stockings. 


Compression Levels

There are different levels of compression, which are measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). The higher the number is, the higher the level of compression. There are 4 main compression levels: Light/Mild compression (8-15mmHg), Moderate compression (15-20mmHg), Firm compression (20-30mmHg), and Extra firm compression (30-40mmHg). It’s important to seek the advice of your healthcare professional to determine which level of compression will be most useful for you. 


  • Light Compression (8-15 mmHg) is perfect for daily use and to simply avoid the feeling of tired, heavy legs. Socks with this compression level are often recommended for travellers and those who spend a lot of time on their feet including; nurses, retail and hospitality staff, and construction workers. They’re also useful for pregnant women who have tired legs either from sitting or standing all day. Shop light compression socks and stocking on our website.

  • Moderate Compression (15-20 mmHg) is especially useful for those who are on their feet all day. Long-haul drivers, airline passengers and healthcare professionals. This higher compression level works to prevent minor leg swelling, and keep your legs actively circulated and healthy. You can shop moderate compression socks and stockings on our Healthwick website.

  • Firm Compression (20-30 mmHg) is usually recommended to a wearer by their healthcare professional. This compression level is used to treat conditions associated with circulatory or venous disorders. They can also be useful for edemas caused by underlying health conditions. Shop firm compression stockings and socks on our website.
Compression Socks Levels - Healthwick

Sock and Stocking Lengths

Typically, compression socks are available in three options: calf-length, thigh-length, and full leg stockings/pantyhose. The different lengths offer different benefits to the wearer. 


Knee-length compression socks are generally recommended to manage or prevent the symptoms and signs of chronic venous insufficiency (also known as chronic venous disease) or other causes of lower leg swelling and skin changes. 


Thigh-length socks are useful when there is swelling or varicosities that are above the knee. In these cases, a thigh-high compression sock or stocking may be a more effective option.


What’s next?

Healthwick proudly carries a wide variety of compression socks for men and women. Ranging from light to firm compression, we have a solution to fit your unique needs. If at any time you need some help, please don't hesitate to contact us. Our knowledgeable customer care team would be pleased to assist you and answer any questions you may have. We’re here to help. 

Compression Socks for Men and Women - Healthwick

If you’d like more information, check out our Guide to Compression Socks and Stockings, Compression Socks Measuring Guide, and Compression Socks Compression levels. You may also be interested in Save Our Soles: The Compression Sock Revolution on our Healthwick blog.


*Please note that this article should not be construed as medical advice. Please ask your healthcare professional if you are a good candidate for compression socks and what compression level you should wear.

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  • Amy C
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