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I want to purchase knee-high stockings. How do you know which type/gauge/size etc, of over the counter stocking to buy?
Depends on your condition and what you are using them for. If you have venous insufficiency then you will need a higher compression stocking. 20-30 or even 30-40 in severe cases. If you are using them for tired legs and prevention then a 15-20 might compression might work. Measure ankle and calf to get the correct size.
If you want a low grade compression for therapeutic reasons, you can buy them without a prescription at a home medical supply store or online (just google compression hose). If you want a higher level of compression, you will need a prescription from your physician.
Go to a medical supply store who can measure you for the correct size.
Most over the counter stockings are less than 20mm Hg compression grade.
This should be adequate for most people who don't have significant
venous disease. For the higher compression stockings, you will need a
The short answer is that I would recommend visiting a vein specialist who could make recommendations based on your specific needs.
You should have your legs measured at your Vein Specialist's office or at a
Durable Medical supply store and then purchase a pair with at least 20-30 mm
Hg compression at the ankle.
Non graduated over the counter stockings are sold according to weight and shoe size. They are commonly made from cotton or nylon and have varying degrees of compression. The kind of stocking that you need depends on your underlying problem. You may want to discuss this with your vein specialist.
Consult with your Vascular Surgeon. The most effective compression hose for patients with significant venous disease require a prescription.
You can get these from your local medical supply store. The hose are sold by degree of compression, such as 15 - 18 mmHg pressure, up to 40 - 50 mmHg. You might need a prescription for the tighter hose. If you have no varicose vein or venous insufficiency issues, then the lesser compression stockings will likely be very comfortable for you, and you can check out the websites of the major manufacturers (Medi, Jobst, Sigvaris) to find locations where you can get them. Many of the over the counter stocking sold at department and drug stores are not graduated , meaning the compression is not greatest at the ankle and less the higher up the leg the stocking goes and the usually do give adequate compression.