Compression classes for compression stockings

Medical compression stockings are divided into compression classes

Compression classes for compression stockings

How many compression classes are there?

There are four compression classes. Specialists also speak of CCL 1 to 4: the higher the class, the stronger the compression: this is the pressure exerted by the medical compression stocking. The doctor specifies the compression class on the prescription for medical compression stockings.

What is the right compression class?

Assigning fixed compression classes to certain diseases of the venous or lymphatic vessel system is not useful. Doctors will make individual decisions on the suitable compression class for their patient. They consider the clinical picture and its characteristics as well as the physical condition: strength, mobility and additional diseases affecting the patient must be taken into account.

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The higher the compression class, the higher the pressure exerted by the medical compression stocking

Medical compression stockings are divided into four compression classes. The higher the compression class, the higher the pressure. This is also known as resting pressure. The pressure of the compression classes is given either in kPa (kilopascal) or mmHg (millimetres of mercury):

Overview of CCL 1 to 4

Compression class Pressure in kPa Pressure in mmHg
I 2,4 – 2,8 18–21
II 3,1 – 4,3 23–32
III 4,5 – 6,1 34–46
IV > 6,5 > 49

Unlike support stockings, medical compression stockings can be prescribed by a doctor and are covered by health insurance. In order to be covered, they must meet certain criteria, such as the assignment of a compression class and a continuously decreasing pressure curve from the cuff to the thigh.

These and other criteria are specified by the “RAL Quality Mark Association for Medical Compression Stockings”. If the medical compression stocking meets all the requirements, it receives the RAL quality mark.

How is the pressure distributed on the leg?

Compression around the ankle area is decisive for the classification of medical compression stockings into the four compression classes. This is because the pressure is highest here. This value determines the compression class. For the compression stocking to be medically effective, the pressure must decrease continuously from bottom to top, i.e. from the ankle to the thigh.

The pressure of compression stockings decreases continuously from bottom to top

What is the difference between resting pressure and working pressure?

Resting pressure is the pressure continually exerted by medical compression stockings when resting without the muscles being tensed.
Working pressure is the pressure that is exerted in motion – i.e. during temporary muscle tension – by the resistance of the medical compression stocking material e.g. when running.

Does a stocking made of stronger material have a higher compression class?

The material has no influence on the compression class or the resting pressure. This is why medical compression stockings made of fine and strong knitted fabric are available in the corresponding compression classes: The resting pressure is therefore always the same within a compression class – regardless of the material.

However, the pressure of a medical compression stocking increases briefly while you are wearing it. This is the working pressure. This depends on the strength and stability of the material: the stronger the material of the medical compression stockings, the higher the working pressure.

Find out more information about medi compression stockings for venous treatment and oedema therapy here.