Frequently Asked Questions 


Who can benefit from wearing compression socks?

Anyone's legs can feel better while wearing gradient compression socks, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting, standing or in a sedentary position. Gradient compression socks are most beneficial for the following leg complaints:

Tired, aching, heavy feeling legs
Leg swelling
Varicose veins
Venous insufficiency
Post-thrombotic syndrome
Healed venous ulcers
Active venous ulcers

We recommend that you consult with your doctor before wearing compression socks 20 mmHg and above. If you have arterial circulation problems, please consult with your physician before wearing any level of compression.

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What is gradient compression?

Gradient compression delivers a squeezing to the leg that is tightest at the ankle. The amount of squeezing or compression gradually decreases up the leg. For arm sleeves, the greatest compression begins at the wrist and decreases up the arm. Compression is expressed in mmHg (millimeters of mercury). The higher the mmHg, the stronger the gradient compression.

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Is uniform compression effective?

Yes, uniform compression is effective clinically in managing edema. However, research has indicated that gradient compression in the legs is more effective than uniform compression in improving venous return.

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What is compression therapy?

Compression therapy refers to the benefits gained from using specialized socks or bandages to manage chronic venous insufficiency and lymphedema. Fatigue, heaviness and aching legs are common complaints.

Gradient compression socks are the standard of care in the management of chronic venous insufficiency and lymphedema. Compression provides two primary benefits.

Perhaps the most important effect is that compression increases the pressure in the tissue under the skin (subcutaneous) helping to reduce and prevent swelling. The compression of subcutaneous tissue helps move excess fluid (swelling) back into the capillaries (tiniest of the blood vessels) and helps prevent too much fluid from leading out of these little vessels.

Secondly, compression reduces the ability of the superficial veins in the leg to expand and overfill with blood. This in turn helps prevent blood in these veins from flowing backward and causing congestion. Congestion in the leg accounts for the leg complaints, swelling, and skin changes common with venous insufficiency.

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Why are socks so hard to put on?

Your doctor may tell you that, "if they are not hard to put on, then they cannot be providing the compression needed." That is probably not the answer you want to hear, but unfortunately it is true. Gradient compression socks provide the greatest compression at the ankle. This requires the largest part of the foot- the circumference from the top of the foot around the heel - to pass through the smallest and tightest part of the sock - the ankle. Newer knitting technologies, yarns and finishes produce socks that are easier to put on than the socks of old. However, for those who have diminished arm or hand strength, or impaired mobility there are items that can make the task easier. These items include:

Rubber gloves
Rubber mats
Easy slides

Is there a reason why I should not wear compression socks? Contraindications (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 socks should be worn with caution with:

Skin infections
Weeping dermatosis
Allergic to garment fabric
Impaired sensitivity of the limb
Immobility (confinement to bed)

Please consult with your doctor before wearing compression 20 mmHg or higher.

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What is the best time of day to measure for compression socks?

It is best to measure earlier in the day before swelling builds in the legs. Measurements taken later in the day after swelling is present may result in choosing a sock size that is too large. Many clinics that are unable to see patients earlier in the day will elevate, bandage, or pumps the legs for a period of time before measuring in order to reduce any swelling that is present.

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I have latex allergies. Can I still use compression socks?

ILatex is a natural substance that comes from the rubber tree. Latex can be used in textiles in two forms: Dry natural rubber and natural rubber latex.

All Juzo products are latex-free using high-quality synthetic elastomers such as Elastin-Lycra and Polymid-FiberSoft..

Most Jobst garments are latex-free. The elastic used is a synthetic spandex. The Jobst socks that contain latex are:

Jobst for Men (8-15 mmHg)
Men's Athletic (8-15 mmHg)
Men and women's casual (8-15 mmHg)

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How do I know what length sock I need?

A knee-length gradient compression sock is generally recommended to prevent or manage signs and symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency or other causes of lower leg swelling and skin changes. If swelling or varicosities are present above the knee, then a thigh or pantyhose style may be a better choice.

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Can I wear one compression sock on top of the other instead of wearing a higher compression sock?

Yes, there is an additive effect with compression socks. For example, some doctors instruct their patients to wear one level of compression in a pantyhose style and then wear a knee-length compression sock over the compression pantyhose.

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Why are compression socks prescribed after a blood clot (DVT) in the leg?

Knee length gradient compression socks are often prescribed for a patient who has sustained a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clot in the leg. The socks are helpful in 1. controlling the swelling in the leg that occurs with DVT or blood clot in the leg, and 2. helping prevent the development of post-thrombotic syndrome that may occur several months after the DVT.

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Should I wear socks on the unaffected leg?

Only the leg with the symptoms or disease needs to wear the compression sock. Some people prefer to wear compression on only the affected leg. Others may opt to wear the same brand of sock but in a lower compression level on the unaffected or healthy leg. For example, your doctor may have told you to wear a 30-40 mmHg sock for the chronic venous insufficiency present in one leg. You may choose to wear a 15-20 mmHg on the other leg.

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When should I put my socks on?

Your legs are least swollen when you wake up. The socks will be easier to don if you put them on as soon as you get out of bed.

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How many hours daily should I wear my socks?

The wearing time for gradient compression socks is dependent on both the reason for wearing the compression and the amount of compression. A doctor is the best guide for this.

Bed-bound patients may be advised by their doctors to wear anti-embolism socks (16-18 mmHg) to prevent blood clots from forming in the deep veins of the leg

Immediately following sclerotherapy doctors may instruct you to wear a specific level of compression continuously for a specified number of hours or days depending on the size of the veins injected.

Individuals with lymphedema are advised to follow the wearing schedule recommended by their doctor or therapist.

Individuals with chronic venous problems such as venous related leg swelling, skin changes, or varicose veins, generally wear the compression socks while out of bed (approximately 16 hours per day) and remove them when retiring.

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I am short and my socks seem to bunch up around my ankles creating a tourniquet. Would a shorter length help?

Excess fabric around the ankle generally indicates a need to redistribute the sock fabric upward on the leg. In the case of open toe socks, it may indicate a need to redistribute the socks downward on the foot if the toe band has slipped upwards. If redistributing the fabric does not solve the problem, you may need a petite or short size.

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My knee length socks cut into the back of my knee. Would a shorter length help?

The band of a correct fitting knee high should stop about two finger widths below the crease of the knee. Most times if a sock is uncomfortable at the knee, it is due to overstretching the fabric while pulling on the socks. If this occurs, evenly redistribute the fabric downward on the leg using rubber gloves. There should be no wrinkles in the socks. If redistributing the fabric does not solve the problem, you may need a petite or short size.

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Does a run in the sock affect the compression?

It is possible for runs to affect the compression of the garment. This depends on factors such as the severity and location of the run. For example, a single small run confined to the upper thigh or panty area will not affect the compression of the lower leg where the stated ankle pressure is determined. A localized decrease of compression may occur in the area directly under the run. If the run is moderate to severe, compression may be affected.

Some of our socks are extremely sheer. As with any hosiery, the sheerer the garment the more susceptible it is to runs. There are several things you can do to help ensure a long life for the product. Check your footwear, hands, nails and feel for any rough spots that may damage the garment during donning or wearing. Be careful when donning the garment that you do not snag or pick the fabric. Remove jewelry and wear rubber gloves if needed. Avoid walking around without footwear to protect the socks.

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Can I use lotions and creams with my compression socks?

If the sock is latex free, it is perfectly safe to use lotions or creams. In fact, it is especially important for people with lymphedema or venous insufficiency since daily skin care and moisturizer is so important. Applying lotion at night will make donning the socks easier. If the sock contains latex (some of the Jobst SupportWear), do not use lotions or creams. Heat, ultraviolet light, copper containing products, hydrocarbons and all petrolatum containing creams and ointments affect garments that contain natural rubber latex yarns.

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Do I need a prescription?

Ready to wear and standard off the shelf compression garments do not require a prescription. However, some insurance plans require a doctor's prescription. Check with your insurance plan to see if they cover compression socks and their documentation requirements.

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Will my insurance or Medicare cover compression socks?

Compression socks are a non-covered service under Medicare Part B. Medicare will not pay for these items even with a prescription from your doctor. Some insurance plans will cover the cost of compression hosiery if the socks are prescribed by a physician and the compression is greater than 20 mmHg. Please contact your insurance carrier to determine if socks are a covered benefit.

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Do you bill insurance companies directly?

No, we do not bill any insurance companies directly. We only accept credit cards, checks, PayPal, and FSA/HSA as payment. If you find that your insurance company will pay for your stockings, you would still need to pay for them out of pocket, and then submit an invoice from us to your insurance company for reimbursement. Invoices can be printed out from the "My Account" section under "Previous Orders."

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