Compression Level Guide

What is compression? What compression level do you need?

Graduated compression means that the pressure applied from the stockings is greatest at the bottom of the legs, near the ankle, and gradually decreases further up the leg. This allows for blood to be pushed back up the leg towards the heart, resulting in better blood flow and relieving pain caused by poor blood circulation.

What are compression levels?

Compression levels, the amount of pressure applied to your legs, are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The larger the number, the higher the compression. The different compression levels serve different purposes. They’re often prescribed by doctors for specific medical conditions, but they have non-medical advantages, too. At the bottom of the page is a chart explaining what compression levels in more detail.

8-15 mmHg: This is the lightest form of compression, which is great for energizing your legs. These types of socks provide relief from tired and achy legs. They also help control minor swelling by gently enhancing circulation in the legs.

15-20 mmHgThe mild compression of 15-20 mmHg socks provides relief from minor to moderate swelling, aching, and varicose veins, especially during pregnancy. They are great for preventing deep vein thrombosis (or economy class syndrome) while traveling, but they’re also good for anyone who stands or sits for long periods of time.

20-30 mmHgThe most frequently prescribed level, 20-30 mmHg compression socks offer moderate compression and can be used to treat a variety of mild to moderate conditions. This level can provide relief from varicose veins, edema, deep vein thrombosis, and post-sclerotherapy. This level is also referred to as Class I or firm compression.

30-40 mmHgSometimes referred to as Class II compression, 30-40 mmHg socks are often prescribed to provide relief from severe edema, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis. They’re also prescribed for post-sclerotherapy and to heal active venous stasis ulcers. This level of compression should only be worn under a doctor’s supervision.

40-50 mmHgThis is the highest level of compression we offer and should only be worn if prescribed by a doctor. This level is typically used to treat chronic venous insufficiency and post-thrombotic syndrome. Your doctor might refer to this level as Class III.

What strength of compression do you need?

The following chart explains the different levels of compression and what they are typically prescribed to treat. This should just be used to start the conversation with your doctor - always confirm with your healthcare provider before wearing compression.

 Condition Severity Compression Level
Aching Legs Mild 8-15 or 15-20 mmHg
8-15 mmHg or No Compression
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
20-30 or 30-40 mmHg
Dysautonomia (POTS)
20-30 or 30-40 mmHg
Economy Class System
15-20 mmHg
Edema Mild
15-20 mmHg
Edema Moderate
20-30 mmHg
Edema Severe 30-40 mmHg
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
15-20 or 20-30 mmHg
20-30 mmHg or 30-40 mmHg
May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS)
20-30 mmHg or 30-40 mmHg
Orthostatic Hypotension
20-30 mmHg or 30-40 mmHg
Deep Vein Thrombosis
20-30 mmHg or 30-40 mmHg
20-30 mmHg or 30-40 mmHg
15-20 or 20-30 mmHg
Swelling Mild
15-20 mmHg
Swelling Moderate
20-30 mmHg
Swelling Severe
30-40 mmHg
Spider Veins
15-20 mmHg
Tired Legs Mild
15-20 mmHg
Varicose Veins Mild
15-20 mmHg
Varicose Veins Moderate 
20-30 mmHg
Varicose Veins Severe
30-40 mmHg
Venous Insufficiency Varies
Venous Stasis Ulcer
30-40 mmHg


Please note: The information provided here is for general reference only and is not meant to act as medical advice. 

If you still have questions we have answers:

Which compression socks are best for you?

How many hours a day should you wear compression?

Or, call us, we are here to help: 1-877-545-8585