If you’ve struggled with swelling and potentially blood clots in your legs, you might have heard of TED hose. They are also recommended to people after surgery, especially if you are immobilized and facing long days lying down in bed. At the same time, doctors may prescribe graduated medical compression stockings, which many people confuse with TED hose.
What’s the difference between TED hose and compression stockings?
In short, TED hose are designed for medical recovery, while compression socks have broader application and may be worn everyday preventatively. Both are compression garments that support healthy circulation, but their general applications differ.
Keep reading for more info to understand the difference: a look at the best use of TED hose, how to put them on, when to wear them, and how they differ from compression stockings.
TED Hose: the essentials
TED hose are a type of stocking specifically designed to prevent blood clots and swelling in your legs. There are similarities with compression socks in that they work the same way (applying pressure) and both can be worn to prevent blood clotting. But are TED hose the same as compression stockings? In short: no.
Also known as anti-embolism stockings, the term “TED hose” stands for “thromboembolic deterrent hose” – the medical term they’re known by in the professional world. They are specifically designed to apply pressure to the superficial veins of the legs in order to prevent the formation of blood clots.
Doctors use TED hose with people who are bedridden or mobility impaired, and this is one of the big differences between them and compression socks or stockings. TED hose usually leave the toes open and you are not expected to walk around while wearing them. On the other hand, compression socks have a range of pressure levels and can be worn for an entire day without issue, helping people manage venous conditions or just avoid swollen legs and feet from standing for too long.
When should you use TED hose?
The main purpose of TED hose is to prevent blood clots or embolism in non-mobile persons or bedridden post-surgery patients. They will keep a healthy blood flow for those people who aren’t moving their legs and walking around, thereby preventing blood from accumulating in the leg.
Doctors prescribe TED hose to post-surgery patients and it’s usually a medical process to get them, unlike in the case of compression stockings.
TED hose vs compression stockings: key differences
Beyond their intended use, TED hose differ from compression stockings in their design, the length of time they should be worn for, and the level of pressure they delivers. Here are the key differences between the two products.
As mentioned above, TED hose usually have open toes and are available as a knee-high or thigh-high sock. There’s an inspection access point by which doctors can check the patient’s blood circulation, at the toes’ level. Because they’re not meant for walking around in, TED stockings may slide down your legs and/or bunch up, even when moving around in a hospital bed.
Conversely, compression socks can be a fashion item, available in many colors and styles. The large majority are not prescription-based medical items, but can be easily bought on online or over-the-counter. They can be higher or lower rise and you may also find sleeves and footless designs. Within the general category of compression socks, there are also graduated compression stockings, where the highest level of compression is at the ankle.
The pressure applied by compression clothing is measured in mmHg (millimeters of mercury), the higher the number, the higher the pressure. For TED hose, pressure applied on the leg is actually the lightest level, with a compression level of 8-18 mmHg.
On the other hand, compression socks generally start from 15-20 mmHg (over-the-counter) and can go up to 40-50 mmHg (medical class). Depending on your situation, you may consider discussing a prescription for higher-level compression socks, although it’s worth noting that firm compression isn’t for everyone (depending on your health concerns).
Length of use
Patients use TED hose for short-term recovery periods, up to a maximum of three weeks after a surgery. As soon as they are able to walk and do other form of exercise, the need to wear TED hose disappears.
Compression socks can be worn on a casual basis, for example during a long airplane flight, for a number of hours at a time. It’s normally recommended to wear compression stockings daily.
How to put on TED hose
Putting on TED hose is similar to putting on compression socks, but can be a little more tricky. The best way to put them on if doing it yourself, is to lie down with your legs propped on pillows for around 15 minutes beforehand. This way your blood will flow away from the legs and allow them to be less swollen. You should also apply some powder to your ankles to help ease the hose onto your legs.
Pull the stocking over your foot and pool it around your ankle, then use short, quick pulls to bring it all the way up your leg.
TED hose can be a great medical recovery tool
TED hose can be used successfully to prevent blood clotting in patients recovering from surgery or otherwise bedridden, who are not able to ensure proper blood flow to their legs and feet by walking and changing positions daily. As you recover, compression socks can be a great tool for continued support and a boost in circulation for everyday wear.
Ready to try compression socks? Learn more about how graduated compression can benefit you!
FAQs about TED hose
Can TED hose cause bruising?
TED hose are most often applied in a medical setting and will exert a lighter level of pressure than compression garments, which should prevent any bruising or other such side effects from developing.
Why wear TED hose after surgery?
The main reason to wear TED hose is to prevent embolism (blood clots) for non-mobile persons. Therefore, if you’ve had any form of surgery which leaves you bedridden for a longer period of time, it’s a good idea to wear TED hose to make up for the lack of movement which would ensure correct blood flow to your legs and feet. Doctors will normally prescribe TED hose proactively, but don’t hesitate to ask about it if you feel it might be necessary.