Compression Stockings/Compression Wraps – What’s the difference?

Compression stockings and alternative compression wraps look different, and are donned differently, but the most significant difference is the type of compression each provides.

wrap blogTraditional compression stockings for the most part, look like regular socks.   What makes them different, is the graduated static compression they provide when you put them on.

What is graduated static compression?   Compression is pressure.  Graduated means the level of compression changes from one end of the sock to the other.  The pressure is greatest at the furthest point out on your leg or distal point, in this case your ankle, and gradually decreases as it gets closer to where your leg is attached to your body, or proximal point.   To effectively move blood and fluid toward your heart and lungs, it’s very important that the compression be graduated.  Static means the compression is constant.  Whether you are standing, walking, sitting or laying down, the sock is squeezing your leg with the same amount of compression at any given point.

Alternative Compression Wraps like Juxta-Lite, ReadyWrap, FarrowWrap and CompreFit are made from strips of fabric that are sewn together, with a piece of Velcro at the end of each strip.  The fabric is called short-stretch, and will only stretch a little bit.  To put these garments on, starting at the ankle, you wrap the bands around your leg and secure each with the Velcro.  Compression wraps provide graduated compression too, but it is dynamic.

Dynamic compression changes.  Rather than putting constant pressure on your legs, the short-stretch fabric provides resistance against the movement of your muscles.  So when you’re active there is more compression, and when you’re resting there is less compression.   This means compression wraps can be worn for longer periods of time, which makes them a very good choice for individuals with chronic edema or lymphedema.

It’s important to know that Ace Bandages are not alternative compression wraps.  They provide static compression that is not graduated.