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Compression FAQs

What are the benefits of wearing compression?

Many people can benefit from wearing compression. People can wear compression as a preventative measure, for sports purposes or when they have a medical condition.

Compression stockings are worn to prevent the development of varicose veins as they can give your tired legs a much-needed boast and keep them feeling energised throughout the day by stimulating blood circulation. Compression also prevents the development of blood clots (DVTs) when travelling long distances by squeezing your legs, helping your veins and leg muscles improve blood flow and prevent clots from forming.

Wearing compression stockings can also be of great benefit to amateur and professional sports people with the benefits including enhanced overall blood circulation and oxygen delivery, greater removal of lactic acid, enhanced muscle recovery time after exercise and reduced pain and stiffness following intensive bouts of exercise.

Finally the use of compression garments are widely recognised as effective treatments for lymphedema,  chronic venous insufficiency (varicose veins) and recurrent chronic ulcers.

Why do pregnant women wear compression tights?

During pregnancy, women can have heavy legs and swollen painful ankles as the growing baby puts more strain on the woman’s circulatory system. Pregnant women are at an increased risk of venous diseases as blood volume increases by 20% (due to the baby) and hormones released cause the blood vessels to relax, slowing the speed of blood in the veins.  During pregnancy, wearing compression hosiery can improve circulation, reduce the appearance of varicose veins and prevents the formation of any blood clots.

Why do people with lymphedema wear compression garments?

Compression has been widely used in the management of lymphedema. Compression garments change tissue pressure to help venous and lymphatic drainage. They compress the arm or leg and encourage the flow of lymph fluid out of the affected limb.  Compression garments aim to minimise oedema and are often used after intensive therapy to maintain oedema reductions.  The type of compression garment prescribed by your healthcare professional will depend on the location and severity of your lymphoedema.

How does wearing compression stockings benefit those with varicose veins?

Elastic compression is the oldest way to help prevent varicose diseases and their complications. Compression stockings gently squeeze the veins and push blood from the legs. The simplest way of understanding this mechanism is to say that elastic compression has a real "pump effect". 

Why is compression helpful in wound healing/ulcer care?

Compression therapy improves wound healing by preventing blood from pooling thereby increasing blood flow. Compression also helps to decrease any swelling by encouraging fluid to move into lymphatic channels. With compression, the increased external pressure decreases the leakage of fluid into the skin, allowing the skin to receive the oxygen and nutrients required for wound healing.

Is there any reason I can’t wear compression garments?

At Tipptoes we do recommend that you consult your healthcare professional before choosing a compression garment to ensure it’s an appropriate option for you. The following are medical conditions in which compression is not recommended:

Ischemia (advanced arterial disease) of the legs  

Uncontrolled congestive heart failure

Untreated septic phlebitis of the leg

Compression garments are worn in caution with people who have impaired sensation, localised or systemic infections and those with untreated cancer.  Therefore, at Tipptoes we do recommend that a healthcare professional prescribes your therapeutic compression garment.

If I have diabetes, can I wear a compression garment?    

If you have diabetes you can wear a compression garment. However, your healthcare professional may first check your sensation and blood flow in your leg using a handheld ultrasound machine called a Doppler.   If the ratio of the blood pressure in the lower legs to the blood pressure in the armsis less than 0.8, then compression is contraindicated in those with diabetes.

Here at Tipptoes Ltd, we do recommend that people with diabetes wear open-toe compression stockings.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

What does "mmHg" stand for?

The medical abbreviation "mmHg" stands for "millimeters of Mercury", which is a unit of measurement for pressure. It’s the same unit of measure when you take your blood pressure. Compression garments use a range for how much pressure it provides because the compression changes depending on your size.  There is no universal system for the mmHg but generally speaking the higher the level of compression the stronger it is.

Why do products have two numbers in the mmHg?

This refers to graduated compression, ie, 15-20mmHg in a lower leg product, means the distal (ankle) compression would be 20 mmHg reducing to 15 mmHg proximally (below the knee). This graduated compression is needed to squeeze the veins and prevents pooling of the blood in the veins.  

What do you mean by compression class? 

Compression comes in therapeutic and medical compression levels-class 1,2,3. As the class increases the amount of pressure the garment provides increases. As we distribute compression ranges from around the world we offer products classified under different measurement systems, which are outlined below:

Compression Classes







12-15 mmHg

15-20 mmHg


Class 1

14-17 mmHg


20-30 mmHg


Class 2

18-24 mmHg

23-32 mmHg

30-40 mmHg


Class 3

25-35 mmHg

34-46 mmHg

40-50 mmHg


What class should I choose?

The compression class you should wear largely depends on your particular medical condition and its presentation. Therefore for any therapeutic compression product (compression garments with Class 1, 2, 3) we do recommend that you consult your healthcare professional about your compression class. It is advisable to consult your healthcare professional as they can assess your particular medical condition and advise on the level of compression you require. 

Which size do I choose?

Your healthcare professional can take your measurements and help you find the size that fits you. For most compression garments, we have placed a measuring guide under the product. Alternatively we are pleased to offer our new measuring service here at Tipptoes. For a small fee of 20 we can help you get the right fit for your garment. However, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional on what level of compression you need prior to attending our measuring service. For more information on this service or to book an appointment, please call 0504-42513 or email office@tipptoes.com.

When is the best time to measure for compression garments?

It is best to measure earlier in the day when there is less swelling in the legs. If measurements are taken when the limb is particularly oedematous (swollen), this may result in receiving a garment that is too large. Clinicians often take the measurements of people with lymphedema following intensive therapy when a reduction has been achieved. 

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