Is the correct name support stocking, compression hosiery, or compression sock? The terms are interchangeably, and mean the same thing. However, some inexpensive socks or pantyhose claim to be support stockings when they often are simply hosiery that has been made to squeeze your leg when worn. Genuine compression hosiery has graduated compression and is manufactured to provide an exact amount of compression at different points on your legs and ankles. It describes a high quality product that is manufactured to provide a measurable level of compression that has been proven to provide significant health benefits.
Graduated compression, sometimes called gradient compression, means that the amount of compression (pressure on your legs) is the greatest at the ankle and then decreases as it moves up the leg. This gradient compression encourages circulation by compressing the superficial veins in your legs, which helps them function more efficiently.
Compression is measured in millimeters of mercury or mmHg. The larger the numbers, the higher the compression. A 30-40mmHg stocking provides more compression than a 15-20mmHg stocking. Look for support stockings with a mmHg rating. This is your indication that it’s real graduated compression hosiery.
Producing hosiery that provides a carefully measured, yet varying amount of compression for your leg is a complicated process that requires careful manufacturing control.