Compression levels and indications

When it comes to compression stockings, choosing the right compression level will help people to achieve the specific benefits for their support and medical needs.

Compression levels: which one to use when

Compression levels and indications

Compression strength at the ankle



  • Extended standing or sitting (travel, work)
  • Prophylaxis (pregnancy, risk factors)
  • Heavy, fatigued, tired legs


  • Moderate/severe edema (pregnancy, risk factors)
  • Surgery (orthopaedics, post fracture, traumatic edema, sclerotherapy, phlebectomy, vein stripping)
  • Skin changes without ulceration
  • Superficial phlebitis (red, painful)
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)/post thrombotic syndrome (PTS)
  • Skin changes with healed ulceration
  • Skin changes with active ulceration


  • Severe deep vein thrombosis (DVT)/post thrombotic syndrome (PTS)
  • Severe skin changes with healed ulceration (recurrent)
  • Severe skin changes with active ulceration

Contraindications for compression 

  • Arterial insufficiency, intermittent claudication, ischemia
  • Uncontrolled congestive heart failure
  • Acute dermatitis, cutaneous sepsis

Caution with compression 

  • Signs of infection
  • Extensive venous ulceration
  • Skin sensitivities or allergies
  • Neuropathy
  • History of diabetes
  • Confinement to bed or non-ambulatory use unless otherwise prescribed by the physician
    No liability accepted for non-observance of contraindications and cautions.

What is the difference between compression stockings and support stockings?

The term “support stockings” is widely known and often also used for medical compression wear. The principles of the two types of stockings are different, though.

Support stockings exert passive resistance to swelling, while compression stockings apply active pressure on the veins of the leg. This prevents them from dilating and facilitates venous return.

Medical compression garments are produced under strict medical and technical specifications to guarantee adequate ankle pressure and graduated compression along the leg. 

Further reading