One of the first things many POTS patients are told to do is to get compression stockings or compression socks. But what does that mean? Where do you begin?
I have very sensitive skin and a low pain tolerance as well as a low what I call ‘tight clothes’ tolerance, and below I’ll share my experience with compression socks and stockings, what was comfortable, how they helped and what I recommend. Note: I get zero commission or buy back from this, just sharing my own advice!
Quick Note on the Growing Popularity of Compression Socks: There are more and more ‘fad’ compression stocking companies coming out. Unless the socks or stockings explicitly list the compression level (20-30mm is recommended for POTS), I would save your money and avoid these.
First of all, compression socks/ stockings DO NOT have to be ugly or uncomfortable. Trust me- there are MANY uncomfortable and ugly varieties- just walk down the compression aisle at your local drugstore. But as anyone with chronic illness knows, the key to any aid is comfort and utility, and that’s what I’ve found in the following compression garments.
Disclaimer: These are just what worked for me. Everyone is different (and everyone’s POTS symptoms are different, so these may not work for you and that’s ok)
How Much Compression Do I Need?
A minimum of 20-30mmHg is the recommended compression level for POTS patients. If this is your first time wearing compression garments, you could start with a 15-20mmHg to get used to them. Some folks don’t like the feel or need to get used to it, and that’s entirely ok. 30-40mmHg is recommended as well, if you can tolerate it. I find that the material on many full-length compression garments at 20-30mmHg isn’t the most comfortable, so I don’t like to go any higher than that.
Knee High, Thigh High or Full Length?
I have both knee high and full length. Personally, since I have such sensitive skin, thigh high will leave a mark at where it hit my thigh and be very uncomfortable, but some people like them.
I tend to use my knee high ones for everyday wear, working out, and when I just want to throw on compression without a whole ordeal of getting the waist-high ones on (sometimes its my cardio for the day!)
I wear full-length pantyhose stockings when I go to a full day of work and feel I need more support than knee-high.
Since some full length medical grade stockings can be expensive, I started with these Run Forever Sports Knee High 20-30mmHg socks, and I LOVE them. I have like 5 pairs now.
Material: Sock, Tight, or Pantyhose?
My knee highs are softer sock material. I have full length tights as well as pantyhose. I prefer the pantyhose because they’re actually softer than the tights, and thinner. I can fit my full length allegro pantyhose 20-30mmHg under my skinny JCrew and Madewell jeans- no one knows I’m wearing them! Score! Cute outfits in tact!!
Bonus: The above stockings are on sale for $21! I have had mine for a year and they just wore out!
Footed or Footless Tights and Pantyhose?
Both!! I have one pair of footed pantyhose that I ordered to try them out and ended up loving. I found that I wanted to wear them to work under dresses in the summer with sandals, so I needed them not to be footed. Thankfully my favorite pair comes in footless too so I snagged a pair of those!!
I also recently ordered some sheer knee high footless sleeves as well. Some days I don’t feel like wrestling on the full leg compression but want to wear, say jeans with sandals, and I needed to not have toes on mine. I got the same brand as my socks, just the calf sleeves! Think about the color though, I ordered hot pink and bright teal, and should have gotten black for work! Haha! Now i just walk around with jeans and hot pink sleeves sticking out from them. Once my coworker asked me if I was wearing a wetsuit under my clothes! lol!
I hope this was helpful! What questions do you have about compression socks? I’ll be posting more about how they’ve helped me and my experience!