Best Compressions Socks for Lymphedema

Medical information provided by Josh White DPM  /  Written by OrthoFeet Team on March 21, 2024 Blog Home

Feeling the squeeze? If you're dealing with lymphedema, you know the importance of keeping things moving. Compression socks can be a game-changer, offering that extra bit of support to manage swelling and keep you comfortable. 

But, with so many options out there, finding the right pair can feel overwhelming. Not to worry, we've done the legwork (pun intended) to bring you a guide to the best compression socks for lymphedema. 

By the way, if you’re also looking for shoes for lymphedema, podiatrist Dr. Steven Gershman has some guidelines for you. 

Firstly, Dr. Gershman emphasizes the challenges of fitting shoes for those dealing with severe foot swelling, stating, "As the feet are often swollen severely, shoes are often hard to fit." In mild cases, he recommends shoes that are "extra deep with a wide, round toe box," noting that "Extra Wide or even Extra Extra Wide width shoes are required." 

For severe cases, Dr. Gershman suggests stretchable shoes in those widths as the only viable option to accommodate the swelling effectively.

Do compression socks help with lymphedema?

According to podiatrist Dr. Josh White, the answer is yes. 

“Compression socks are a fundamental treatment for lymphedema”, he stresses. “Compression is best achieved following massage to help the body dissipate and absorb excessive fluid buildup.” 

Dr. White adds that “Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) uses soft stretching of the skin of the affected area to assist with fluid resorption. It’s best to put on compression socks just after the swollen area has been massaged.”

What are the best compression socks for lymphedema?

Mid-calf compression

Available in compression levels of 18-25 mmHg and designed with an anatomical shape that adjusts to the natural curves of the foot and leg, these mid-calf compression socks ensure gradual compression from the foot to the mid-calf, with targeted compression in the midfoot region. This precise compression helps enhance circulation and diminish swelling, two critical factors in lymphedema management.

Constructed from a soft blend of materials, these socks offer both comfort and durability, ideal for individuals seeking long lasting support. The stretchy fabric adapts seamlessly to body movements, preventing any bunching up or slipping down to maintain consistent compression throughout the day.

These socks also feature additional padding at the heel and ball of the foot, effectively reducing friction and minimizing the risk of blisters. This is particularly beneficial for people who experience heightened sensitivity or discomfort in these areas due to prolonged periods of standing or engaging in strenuous activities.

To further enhance comfort and minimize irritation, the socks are designed with a seamless interior, eliminating any potential for chafing or rubbing. If you have sensitive skin, this will provide it with the care and protection it needs.


Knee-high compression

Available in two compression levels - 15-20 mmHg and 20-30 mmHg - these knee-high compression socks offer versatility to meet varying compression needs. But their true ingenuity lies in their unique design. Offered as a two piece set, these knee-high compression socks present a very smart and practical solution for those managing lymphedema.

If you have any experience with knee-high compression socks, you already know too well how taxing it can be to put them on and take them off. To complicate matters further, mobility issues or weakness in the hands can make this task almost impossible. The unique two part system design of these socks, which includes an ankle sock and separate calf sleeve, provides the perfect solution to this challenge, making them easy and effortless to wear.

Featuring a calf shape that conforms to the natural contours of the leg, these socks provide gradual compression from the foot to the knee, fostering improved circulation and blood flow, essential for lymphedema management.

The customizable nature of the two piece system allows you to mix and match your compression levels, sizes and colors to accommodate your unique foot and calf measurements, ensuring a personalized fit and optimal compression.

Within, the seam-free interior prioritizes comfort and protects sensitive feet from potential irritation.

Crafted from soft microfiber threads, the socks offer flexibility and adaptability to the unique shape of the foot and leg. In addition, extra padding at the heel and ball of the foot provides superior cushioning for added comfort throughout wear.

How many hours a day should you wear a compression sock for lymphedema?

“It’s best to wear compression socks as much as possible, particularly when the legs are in a dependent position,” says Dr. White.

How long should compression socks be worn for effective lymphedema management?

Dr. White explains that wearing compression socks for as long as possible is the most effective way to manage lymphedema because “The sleeve provides support and comfort, and helps the muscles to provide gentle pumping with movement”.

He also recommends that the skin should be watched for evidence of irritation and kept adequately moisturized.