What is the difference between Class I, Class II and Class III compression stockings?

Written By: Renuka Published In: How to Created Date: 2017-02-01 Hits: 343 Comment: 0

Let us go back to the definition of compression stockings.  Graduated compression stockings apply maximum pressure at the ankle reducing gradually towards the calf and thigh which helps the flow of blood back to the heart.  This range of compression is classified under the basic 3 categories. Which shall discuss them in detail below.

Please Note: These explanations expressed here are based on a general understanding on compression levels and they DO NOT replace nor overrule the doctor’s advice.

Compression class or compression grade I:

Pressure level: Mild compression 18-21 mmHg at the ankle.

Class I or grade I stockings are usually worn when:

·        For a feeling of tired and heavy legs

·        Early venous insufficiency (weakness)

·        Mild varicose veins without pronounced oedema

·        For varicose veins in pregnancy

·        For so called “spider veins”

·        After sclerosis of varicose veins

Travel socks, Maternity socks, Everyday Socks, Sports socks also come under the category of compression class I the only difference being the interval between the graduation is large as compared to the closely graduated medical compression stockings. This is the reason the preventive socks looks and feels like a pair regular socks.

Compression class or compression grade II:

Pressure level: Moderate compression 23-32 mmHg at the ankle.

Class II or grade II stockings are usually worn when:

·        For more serious symptoms

·        For more marked varicose veins or moderate oedema

·        After healing of minor ulcers

·        After sclerosis and surgery for varicose veins

·        After deep vein thrombosis

·        In cases of insufficiency (weakness) of the valves in the deep veins

Compression class or compression grade III:

Pressure level: High compression 34-46 mmHg at the ankle.

Class III or grade III stockings are usually worn when:

·        For chronic venous insufficiency (Stage I and II)

·        Pronounced oedema

·        Atrophie blanche

·        Dermatosclerosis

·        After resolution of severe ulcers

Important note: Please consult your doctor on regular intervals before renewing your pair of compression stockings as your medical condition might need a different class of stockings over the period of time. Using wrong compression might worsen your condition.


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