Compression Therapy: Key Facts and Benefits

What is Compression Therapy?

Compression therapy plays a central role in the treatment of venous edema and lymphatic disorders. It serves two main purposes: to reduce swelling caused by fluid filtration in the tissues and to reduce venous reflux and venous hypertension. Additionally, medical compression provides significant relief of leg aching, pain, the feeling of swelling and heaviness, and other venous and lymphatic symptoms.

Medical compression therapy consists of applying a type of elastic device, mainly on the limbs, to exert a controlled pressure on them. Special medical compression stockings are used to apply this pressure to the affected limb. By compressing the limbs or other body regions, the medical compression device squeezes the vein walls together, thereby improving overall circulation and supporting blood flow back towards the heart.

Who Can Benefit



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Pregnant Women




Individuals Who Sit For Long Periods

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Individuals Who Travel For Work

Goals of Compression Therapy

  • To reduce discomfort and pain
  • To restore blood flow velocity to normal
  • To reduce or prevent edema
  • It is of utmost importance that compression be graduated
  • Strongest compression at the ankle and decreasing in the proximal direction

Recommended Usage

  • Varicose Veins
  • Pregnancy
  • Travel (plane or long car ride)
  • Prolonged standing
  • Tired or achy legs
  • Post venous insufficiency
  • Lower leg venous ulcers
  • Post Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • Lower Leg swelling
  • Lymphedema

When To Avoid Use

Compression stockings may need to be avoided if any of the following conditions are present:

  • Arterial insufficiency (PAD- Peripheral Arterial Disease), intermittent claudication, ischemia
  • Active skin infection
  • Allergies to latex
  • Weeping Dermatosis
  • Uncontrolled congestive heart failure
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • Immobility (confinement to a bed)
  • Impaired sensation of the limbs
  • Diabetes (with impaired sensation of the limbs)

Compression Levels

Compression is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The greater the compression level, the tighter the compression stocking. Below are general guidelines for when to choose a compression level. Your doctors script will give you a better indication about which compression level is right for you.

Medical Grade

20 mmHg to 30 mmHg and 30 mmHg to 40 mmHg

Compression stockings of 20 mmHg or higher need to be prescribed by a physician.  They are used for the treatment of various medical conditions, and should be used under the supervision of a doctor. The prescription for them needs to be renewed on an annual basis. Example of medical uses include:

  • Helpful in the treatment of varicose veins and venous stasis ulcers
  • Relief from the swelling associated with mild or severe edema
  • Used in combination with elective surgical procedures such as sclerotherapy and phlebectomy
  • Used to help treat orthostatic/postural hypotension, a form of low blood pressure

Non-Medical Grade

8 mmHg to 15 mmHg and 15 mmHg to 20 mmHg

Compression grades of 20 mmHg or less are considered non-medical, and are used more for general comfort and support for those without underlying conditions.  They are ideal for tired, achy legs or for use during travel. A prescription is not required to purchase them.

Compression Sock Styles

Knee High Compression Socks

Are available in many styles and thickness, they range from a thick cushion cotton sock to thin ultra sheer pantyhose material.  They are available in many colours in open and closed toe styles.

Thigh High Compression Garments

Are used when full leg compression is required on 1 or both legs.  They are also available in open and closed toe, in different fabric options and many colours to choose from.  Silicone bands are used to minimize slippage.

Pantyhose / Maternity Garments

Are the product of choice for clients when full leg support is required bilaterally.

Jobst Soft Fit

Jump into a new level of comfort with compression that stays up! JOBST SoftFit technology have a fine silicone yarn knitted into the top band that keeps the stockings in place without digging into your skin. With JOBST SoftFit we empower you to jump into a new level of comfort with stockings that stay in place.