Woman sitting on couch with argile compression socks

WHICH TYPE OF COMPRESSION THERAPY IS BEST FOR YOU

What is Compression Therapy?

compression percentage chart

For effective treatment, compression garments must have graduated compression with the 100% pressure at the ankle, compression lessens gradually up the calf at 70% and the thigh at 40%.

Ready to Wear Options

Person with TEDS on their legs

TEDS are for Beds

TED (thrombo-embolic deterrent hose) stockings may be prescribed to people who are in bed when the risk of a blood clot developing in their legs is a main concern.

Man wearing gradient compression socks

Gradient Compression Socks

Compression socks are for people who are walking or in a wheelchair, or have circulatory issues such as: venous insufficiency, lymphedema, varicose veins, or wounds.

These stockings have gradient compression which helps keep blood from pooling in the ankles where the pressure is the greatest. Available in knee high, thigh high, waist high and maternity.

Woman biking with WearEase Compression Garment

WearEase Compression Garments

Therapeutic compression garments for all phases of post-surgical recovery and lymphedemia including: bras, vests, camisoles, and tops.

Compression shapewear is comfortable, flattering, and provides just the right amount of support. They are a mild compression level for long term wear, sleeping, traveling and working out.

Compression Levels

Compression levels are in "mmHg" for millimeters of mercury per square inch. Levels range from 10-15 mmHg (light) to 30-40 mmHg (firm) compression. The higher the level, the greater the therapeutic value.

LIGHT
10-15 mmHg

  • Minor ankle and leg swelling
  • Energizes legs
  • Beneficial for people who sit or stand for long periods of time
  • When travelling long distances

MILD
15-20 mmHg

  • Minor ankle and leg swelling
  • Spider veins
  • Tired, achy legs and feet
  • DVT prevention
  • Minor varicosities

MODERATE
20-30 mmHg

  • Moderate ankle and leg swelling
  • Tired, achy legs and feet
  • DVT
  • Moderate varicosities

FIRM
30-40 mmHg

  • Moderate to severe ankle or leg swelling
  • Edema
  • Lymphedema
  • Severe varicosities

Compression vs Containment

Compression and containment serve two different functions:

  1. Compression is a force that tends to shorten or squeeze something, therefore decreasing its volume.
  2. Containment is the ability to contain something, like swelling.

Compression and containment have different systems of measurement.

If you have lymphedema you should have a garment that offers compression and containment. Containment will keep the swelling controlled. The function of containment is in the material and is only available through certain customer garment manufacturers.

Venous insufficiency: Occurs when your leg veins don't allow blood to flow back up to your heart. Normally, the valves in your veins make sure that blood flows towards your heart. But when these valves don't work well, it can cause blood to collect (pool) in your legs. Adding compression to the legs help the valves work more efficiently.

Edema or swelling: Excess bodily fluids that would normally be removed by the venous or lymphatic system accumulate in the tissue, causing it to swell. Edema can be caused by many conditions and medications. Here both compression and containment are very important in controlling and reducing the swelling.

Your healthcare professional and the custom compression fitter will suggest the appropriate garment and material for you.

Custom Compression & Burn Garments

Custom Compression

Custom compression garments provide the ultimate in compression therapy for the long term management of vascular and lymphatic conditions. They are measured and properly fitted to the exact contour of your affected limb and provides accurate and consistent gradient compression. These custom garments, worn daily, will help prevent further fluid accumulation and will help provide positive results.

Your clinical team use their expertise and experience in choosing the most accurate and effective garments to help manage swelling. Because of the precise measuring system that is required, a custom compression garment helps to inhibit further fluid accumulation and helps to assure therapeutic results are achieved.

Custom garments provide controlled gradient compression for the effective long-term management of swelling. With the right products, good timing, and helpful teaching, you can expect dramatic results improving your immediate condition, quality of life and ability for long-term independent care.

Burn Garments

Burn garments decrease extremity pain, protect fragile skin and promote better circulation of damaged tissues.

As a result of a burn, the collagen in the skin grows at ten times the normal rate. This accelerated rate of growth can lead to raised skin, redness, hypertrophic scarring and burn contracture. Research shows that low grade compression through the use of a compression garment for 12-18 months can aid dramatically in the prevention of such scarring.

The fabric for burns is softer than that used in vascular garments. They have two way stretch - reaching capillary pressure yet also have low resting pressure making them safe to sleep in. They are custom-made, designed to provide precise pressure, and are measured to fit each individual to achieve maximum effectiveness.

Resources to Assist with your Decision

Documents Required From Your Physician to Bill Insurance

It is important to know that Medicare does not cover compression garments unless the customer has an open, documented qualifying venous stasis ulcer at the time the stockings are received. Most supplemental plans will follow this Medicare guideline and not cover compression. Some secondary plans may cover compression.

Prescriptions are required for custom garments, burn garments, and ready to wear stockings at 20-30 mmHg or higher.

There are two items Insurance companies require for coverage consideration:

  • Standard Written Order (SWO) - A standard form with detailed information
  • Medical Records - Specific information that is needed in a patient's medical records

The SWO and Medical Records have Medicare requirements - some insurance companies may request more. There may also be deductible and/or co-insurance requirements that will affect payment and customers may always waive their insurance benefits and privately pay.

If you would like more information or if you would like us to prepare patient specific forms, please contact us at 651-644-9770.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my compression garments so tight?

Graduated compression-wear garments are engineered to assist the body in its work by encouraging lymph fluid to move out of the interstitial spaces of affected tissues and return to the lymph vessels, for recirculation back toward the heart. Compression garments accomplish this by squeezing the affected tissues, putting pressure on lymph fluid and facilitating its return to the vessels for removal.

What compression level should I wear?

The external pressure exerted by your compression garment is a key component of your doctor's plan for helping you control the swelling, pain and discomfort that may accompany lymphedema. Your doctor will prescribe the proper compression level for your garments. Too high of compression levels can be damaging to skin and vessels, especially in Lymphedema cases. It is also important to note where the compression garment is being worn, according to distance to the heart (less compression is necessary & can be dangerous closer to the heart).

Can I get garments with different compression levels in different areas?

Some custom and ready to wear garments/materials offer the opportunity to apply different compression levels in different areas of the garment/body.

Can compression garments be layered?

Compression garments can be layered in different compression levels/materials to aid in reducing edema as well as helping with putting them on (donning) or taking them off (doffing).

What material should be chosed for custom garments and why?

Your diagnosis and the doctor/therapist's request will determine what garments you receive. We will discuss your diagnosis, needs, abilities for donning/doffing, personal preferences as well as skin integrity.

When is a velcro garment the best option?

Velcro compression garments are a good choice for customers who may have difficulty donning/ doffing a stocking. They are also a great choice for those with open wounds, with an open documented qualifying venous stasis ulcer. Most Velcro come as a two-piece system, with a liner and Velcro garment over. They are sized similar to ready to wear stockings.

How to measure for compression garments?

For ready to wear compression stockings you would measure:

  • the ankle
  • the widest part of the calf
  • the length from behind the knees to the bottom of the heel

For custom garments, you would need to schedule an appointment with our custom compression specialist at 651-287-3529.

Will you come to a customer's home to measure?

Customers will need to make an appointment for custom measurement and fitting at Handi Medical Supply, as we do not do in-home appointments. Customers seeking ready to wear garments are welcome to visit our Showroom Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-5 pm where a customer care consultant can measure them.

How long is a custom compression garment appointment?

Most fittings will be scheduled for an hour, anticipate length of time for appointment dependent upon body parts needing to be measured & types of garments to be measured.

Should I be unwrapped when I come to my appointment?

Customers should come to fitting appointments ready to be measured. Please come for measurements reduced & unwrapped, and wear loose fitting clothing that can easily be moved to reveal skin areas needing to be measured.

Do I need to have lymphedema therapy prior to being measured?

Customers with lymphedema should see their doctor and complete lymphedema therapy prior to a fitting appointment in order to assure measurements are for the correct reduced sizing.

What is the cost difference between ready to wear and custom garments?

A pair of ready to wear knee highs will generally cost approximately $40-80 per pair. Custom knee highs with zippers will cost approximately $300 per stocking.

Does insurance cover compression garments?

Medicare does not cover compression garments unless the customer has an open documented qualifying venous stasis ulcer at the time the stockings are received. Most supplemental plans will follow Medicare guidelines and not cover compression. Some secondary plans may cover compression.

How should I care for my compression garments?

Garments should be washed after they are worn due to stretching of the fibers, oils, dirt and dry skin that interferes with performance. Check your package for specific instructions. Washing garments will keep them at the appropriate compression and help them to last longer. Garments can be washed in a washing machine, and should be hung to dry.

How often should I replace my compression garments?

Most garments are made to last approximately 6 months with normal daily wear and washing. They should be replaced every 6 months for complete compression.

Can I stop wearing compression when my swelling decreases?

If you have been prescribed compression stockings for a condition that affects your circulation, you may need to wear them for several years or, in some cases, the rest of your life.