Compression socks are the perfect garment for active athletes and people who spend many hours on their feet. They reduce leg fatigue and also decrease the risk of problems like varicose veins. To experience all of the therapeutic benefits, however, it’s important to choose the right size.
Manufacturers have sizing charts that are specific to the respective brand rather than universal. This is the first factor to examine when buying such products. Choosing the right size will also depend on following a couple of basic but important tips.
Take the Right Measurements
Depending on the type of sizing chart being used, you may have to take several measurements in order to determine the right compression sock size. The measurements will also be dependent on the length of the socks you’re interested in (ankle high, knee high or higher).
For a start, use a tape measure to determine the circumference of your ankle. Place the measuring tape at the narrowest part of your ankle. This place is usually located about half an inch up from the ankle bone.
If you’re getting knee-high compression socks, you’ll also need a calf measurement. This time, place the measuring tape at the widest part of your calf. Measure the circumference and record the number.
The final measurement you’ll have to take is the sock length. Sit on a chair, having your leg bent at a 90-degree angle. Measure the length from the floor to the place where your leg bends. This is going to be the length of the compression socks if you’re opting for a knee-high model.
Some sizing charts may call for different measurements but these are the standard ones that manufacturers require. Use the numbers that you’ve recorded in conjunction with the sizing chart to pick the right pair.
Additional Tips and Recommendations
Even if you take these measurements correctly, you may still have some questions about sizing compression stockings and socks. This is particularly true for the individuals that fall right between two of the available sizes.
If this ever happens to you, it would be best to call the manufacturer and get their recommendation. The elasticity of the socks and the snugness of the fit will determine which pick is better. A general rule of thumb is to go for the smaller pair. This way, you’ll benefit from a higher level of therapeutic compression.
People who have never worn compression socks in the past may want to put on a pair and test it prior to making a purchase. Compression socks will feel a lot tighter than regular garments. This is the whole idea. Still, the level of compression may be uncomfortable at first. If that specific level of graduated compression doesn’t feel right, you may opt for a smaller number when choosing that very first pair.
The Compression Level is Also Important
Apart from choosing the right sock size, you should take a look at another number that happens to be even more important. The level of compression will tell you what types of people the stockings are intended for and what benefits they’ll bring to the table.
The mildest graduated compression is usually in the eight to 15 mmHg range. These are best for individuals that suffer from leg fatigue in the end of the busy day. The compression is minimal and it can also be used to relieve minor leg swelling (as a result of a lengthy trip, for example).
Compression in the 15 to 20 mmHg range feature medium compression and are perfect for the prevention of varicose veins, as well as for getting relief from minor varicose veins. The level of compression is also perfect for reducing leg fatigue during pregnancy, preventing deep vein thrombosis and swelling caused by long-distance travel. Athletes will also benefit from this level of compression.
A 20 to 30 mmHg compression treats moderate varicose veins and such socks are also intended for post-surgical treatment/recovery. The compression can treat lymphatic edema, superficial thrombosis, and orthostatic hypotension.
The final product category is characterized by extra-firm compression in the 30 to 40 mmHg range. Such socks should be worn solely if a doctor has prescribed them. The compression is strong enough for the treatment of severe varicose veins. The socks are also used in the treatment of severe edema, orthostatic hypotension, and post-thrombotic syndrome. Such socks can also be worn after sclerotherapy to reduce the risk of varicose vein reappearance.