Ted Hose vs Compression Stockings: What's the Difference?

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. 

The truth is, either or both can be right for you, but it depends on your situation and what your doctor prescribes. This article will take a deep dive into the differences between the two are, but the short version is as follows: 

Compression socks are great for everyday wear, and can come in stylish varieties to match your style. Compression socks come in compression levels starting at 15-20 mmHg, ranging all the way to 40-50 mmHg. 

TED hose are for immobilized or bedridden patients. They come in lower grade compression, 8-18 mmHg, because they are prescribed for post-surgical use on patients who will be laying flat. Since TED hose wearers won’t be walking, blood won’t be pooling in the ankles as much, so a lighter compression is more effective. 

Want to learn more? Keep reading! What to try compression socks? Check out our stylish options offered in 15-20 mmHg, 20-30 mmHg, and 30-40 mmHg. 

VIM & VIGR Compression Socks vs TED hose venn diagram

What’s the difference between compression socks and TED Hose?

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. 

In this blog we will cover all you need to know about TED Hose vs Compression socks, and when you should wear either.

TED Hose vs Compression Socks

What to know about Ted Hose 

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. 

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 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. 

Compression Level 

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. 

Since TED hose are used for those who are non – mobile, the compression is lighter since the patient is not on their feet. While legs can still swell while laying down,  

Duration of Use 

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. 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. 


TED Hose is not used for stylish wear, so like many other medical items they only come in beige, black, or white. Since patients are not typically walking this is fine for recovery, however for those who want cute designs with their compression, compression socks are the way to go. 

What to Know About Compression Socks 

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.  


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. Compression socks utilize graduated compression to gently hug the leg tightest at the ankle and circulate blood all day. This compression prevents blood from pooling in the ankles and legs. Graduated compression has been around for hundreds of years and helped countless people to live in comfort.  Compression socks have benefits including: 

  • Reduced Swelling 
  • Increased energy 
  • Reduced Aches and Pains 
  • Increased Muscle Recovery 
  • Improved Athletic Performance 
  • Better Sleep 
  • Improved Circulation 
  • Reduced Varicose veins 

Compression Level 

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). 


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. 

Duration of use 

Compression socks can be worn all day every day. Some people wear compression socks 24 hours a day and are still comfortable. Since compression socks are used preventatively, they can be worn as much or as little as you’d like. Many people enjoy the benefits of wearing compression and wear compression socks without the prescription of a doctor. If you wear your compression socks often, replacing them is important. If worn every day, compression socks will need to be replaced every 6 months.  

Who Should Choose TED Hose? 

“TED’s are for beds” is a common quote to describe the use of TED hose. As we have covered previously, bedridden or mobility impaired patients use TED hose. 

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. 

Who Should Choose Compression Stockings? 

Compression socks have a much wider application than TED Hose. Compression socks range in compression level, fabric, and usage, making them more suitable for everyday wear. Anyone can benefit from compression socks. While many individuals with chronic illness or circulation issues benefit, runners, hikers, nurses, and travelers also like to wear compression socks. This is because compression socks drastically decrease the risk of DVT, blood clots, and leave your legs feeling fresh after exertion.  

Ready to try compression socks? Learn more about how graduated compression can benefit you!


Stylish Compression Socks


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. 

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. 

Can I Wear Compression Socks Every Day? 

Absolutely! You can wear compression socks all day, everyday. They are meant to be worn during your everyday life. That is why we designed stylish compression socks that come in 4 functional fabrics, so you can find compression that suits you! 

Our socks come in 15-20 mmHg, 20-30mmHg, and 30-40 mmHg and 6 different sizes, including wide calf varieties!  


  • Ron Bonazza

    Very good and easy to read article. I was looking for this information and you are the only one who made it so clear and easy. Thank you.

  • Celeste

    I’m recovering from surgery with lots of swelling in feet, calves and thighs. I’m wearing thigh high TED hose as recommended by doctor. I’m beginning to walk with walker. TEDS roll down and pinch my thighs. I was hoping you might have pantyhose TED stockings to prevent rolling of thigh highs.

  • Cheryl Anderson

    In need of knee high compression socks for wide calves.

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