Q & A with Susan Price, Certified Orthotic Fitter and Compression Wear Expert
Compression garments and various forms of sports compression wear have flooded the health and fitness market over the past few years. However, athletic compression wear and compression garments marketed for sports and fitness performance differ from medical grade compression garments. While both types of garments can provide various levels of compression, medical grade compression garments are engineered to provide clinical health benefits based on specific medical conditions.
Medical grade compression garments are designed with very specific gradient compression. This means that the fabric exerts greater compressive force upon the body point farthest from the heart and gradually decreases incrementally as it gets closer. Medical grade compression is usually prescribed by health care providers and often requires the wearer to be precisely measured and fitted by a qualified health professional. For these garments to be effective, there are important details to keep in mind.
To assist and educate our customers on the various considerations related to medical grade compression, we sat down for a detailed question and answer session with MedCOR Professionals very own Susan Price, a Certified Orthotics Fitter with over 20 years of expertise with measuring and fitting medical grade compression wear.
Q: What is medical grade compression?
A: All medical compression stockings have greater compression at the ankle, and as it comes up the leg the compression decreases. The compression is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) with standard medical grade garments starting at 20-30mmHg.
Q: How does medical grade compression wear benefit me?
A: Medical grade compression garments provide support for our veins which improves their ability to return blood to our heart.
Q: How are compression socks different from TEDS® stockings?
A: TEDS® stockings are intended for people following surgery and sometimes for patients confined to a bed or wheelchair. TEDS® stockings have uniform compression throughout the garment and should not be worn as a replacement for medical grade compression prescribed by your physician.
Q: My doctor prescribed compression garments for me, what do I do next?
A: The easiest thing to do is call us, or better yet, come in to visit our certified fitters at MedCOR Professionals. We will listen to your individual needs and take measurements as we walk you through the process.
Q: For how long do I need to wear my compression garments?
A: Generally, compression is worn from the time you wake up in the morning until the time you go to bed. You should wear compression as prescribed by your physician.
Q: Can I wear compression to bed?
A: No! Unless specifically prescribed by your physician, it is generally not recommended that you wear compression while sleeping. Medical grade compression wear is meant to be worn when you are up and moving.
Q: What’s the difference between a custom stocking and off the shelf compression?
A: Custom compression is for people with specific diagnosis or size requirements.
Q: How often do I need to be remeasured?
A: If your weight has increased or decreased by 20-25 pounds you should be remeasured. Aside from that, we recommend being evaluated and measured at least every 1-2 years.
Q: What if I get a snag or a hole in my compression garments?
A: A snag or rip can sometimes be repaired with a few stitches, but sometimes the stockings need to be replaced. Call us at 207-222-2828 if you aren’t sure. Wearing donning gloves can help prevent nails or jewelry from creating a hole in the stockings.
Q: How long should my compression stockings last?
A: After wearing compression every day the compression strength will decrease gradually. We recommend getting new garments after 6 months of daily wear.
Want to learn more? Check out these great videos and the reference link below.
Research and References on Graduated Compression Stockings
Susan Price, COF
Compression Wear Specialist – MedCOR Professionals, Scarborough, Maine