More than 40 million people within the United States alone suffer from varicose veins. Varicose veins are one of the most frequent things physicians treat. Having this disorder can be a strictly surface-level issue, where it's primarily visual, while others can find this disorder deeply painful and discomforting. Of the 40 million currently suffering from varicose veins, 50% have a family history of the condition. In contrast, those who have both parents suffering from it have a 90% chance of developing it.
One of the most prescribed and advised forms of treatment for varicose veins? You guessed it: compression socks.
If you've never had to wear compression socks before, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. How do you wear them? What level of compression is right? What do the numbers besides mmHg mean? Do you only have the choice of black, blue, white or beige? How do you know what amount of compression is right for you?
Please take a deep breath, and come along with us at Crazy Compression as we gladly answer these questions to put your mind at ease, get you on the right track, and help you pick the perfect compression right for you.
What the Numbers Represent
One of the confusing aspects of choosing the right compression socks is understanding the compression levels. Compression socks or stockings often list numbers to indicate how much graduated compression the garment has and will provide. You've probably noticed that beside each number is the letter "mmHg," which stands for Millimeters of Mercury. A millimeter of mercury is a manometric (a measurement of pressure) unit of pressure. The higher the mmHg, the more pressure the compression sock will provide.
The general standards seen in most compression socks are:
• 8 -15 mmHg. This is the lowest compression level and a great level if you're looking for something to help with tired, achy legs or feet. These are over-the-counter, so you don't need a prescription to try or wear them. These are also commonly worn by people with diabetes, athletes, or anyone that experiences occasional foot and leg swelling.
• 15-20 mmHg. A step up from the 8-15 mmHg, but still a mild compression level. This is an outstanding compression level for those who suffer from minor to moderate swelling and achiness and those who suffer from varicose veins or those who wish to prevent varicose veins. 15-20 mmHg is also an excellent compression level for women suffering from swelling or varicose veins during pregnancy, those who travel and must sit for long hours to prevent deep vein thrombosis, or if you tend to sit or stand for long hours in place. They may also be recommended to those who suffer from EDS (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.)
• 20-30 mmHg. Compression of this level is mid-range and the one that health care providers most prescribe to treat a wide range of conditions. Along with treating varicose veins deep vein thrombosis, this level also treats moderate edema, post-surgery, lymphedema, May-Thurner syndrome, hypotension, and after certain surgeries. You might also find 20-30 mmHg compression socks marked as "firm" or "Class I Compression."
• 30-40 mmHg. Also known as "Class II Compression," these are commonly prescribed for more severe cases of varicose veins, severe edema, deep vein thrombosis, and more severe conditions as described above. They're often prescribed post-sclerotherapy by healthcare providers (a medical procedure to treat varicose and 'spider veins'). A solution is injected directly into a vein, causing the lining of a blood vessel to swell and stick together. Over time, the vessel turns into scar tissue and fades from view.) to help heal venous stasis ulcers. This is a relatively high level of compression that should never be used without a prescription and consultation by your doctor.
• 40-50 mmHg. The highest compression level available is 40-50 mmHg and is available from most medical supply stores. Also known as "Class III Compression," this high-level compression sock should only ever be worn when prescribed by a medical professional to treat venous insufficiency of post-thrombotic syndrome. It is surprisingly rare for this compression level to be specified, as one of the lower levels should be sufficient in most cases.
How to Choose the Right Compression For You
When choosing the right compression level to treat specific medical conditions, we recommend consulting with your doctor first and ensuring you select the prescribed or suggested compression level. However, if you're looking for a compression sock without a prescription to help with tired, achy legs and feet, mild swelling, muscle pain, and mild to moderate varicose veins, the best level for you will be the 15-20 mmHg range, with graduated compression.
15-20 mmHG works perfectly as this compression range offers many health benefits while remaining super comfortable to wear. At Crazy Compression, we like to think of it as the compression sweet spot, which we feature in our fantastic line of compression socks and sleeves. We've created easy-to-browse categories to help you further narrow down what you might be looking for, from bestsellers to our themed collections.
Suppose you're ready to try compression socks that aren't your typical selection of a few colors and no patterns and prepared to begin your journey to reap the benefits of comfier, happier feet and legs. In that case, Crazy Compression is so glad to help! Please feel free to browse our exclusive designs, from bright and bold, to holiday exclusives and so much more.
Are you still uncertain about which level of compression is right for you? Of course, we're happy to answer any questions you might have, too, so feel free to reach out to contact us at any time. It would be our pleasure to assist you. We're ready to discuss your particular needs and match you with a pair of socks suitable for you—and don't forget—don't see what you are looking for? Want to create compression socks for your entire sports team, workplace, friends, or family? You can do that! Please check out our Crazy Compression custom socks builder!