What is medical grade compression?

Compression Levels, mmHg and Medical Grade compression


In reference to compression supports and sleeves, medical grade compression provides a moderate to high level of support.    This can be more scientifically defined as a mmHg level of at least 20.  mmHg is a measurement or compression value of pressure.   A technical description defines mmHg as a measurement level of millimeters of mercury or a manometric unit of pressure.  These measurements are usually given relative to the current atmospheric pressure.  

Compression values (mmHg) are often used for the graduated compression socks or medical vein/edema sleeves.  Medical experts define the value to target compression for blood circulation. Graduated compression calf sleeves often times use medical grade compression.   The common compression range is from 20 – 25 mmHg starting at the ankle and the compression level is reduced as you continue up the calf.    The idea behind the graduated compression design is to channel circulation upwards directionally to the heart.   

Medical grade braces and supports (non graduated) such as Pro-Tec’s 3D Flat and Premium Knit products are designed to be more supportive and stabilizing to the muscle and joint.  Therefore, they have a higher mmHg compression level than most graduated compression as their application provides a different purpose.   The Pro-Tec 3D Flat and Premium Knit products provide a compression level range of 20mmHg-30mmHg, defining them as medical grade.   The Pro-Tec PF Sleeve, for plantar fasciitis, has compression zones varying from 23.2mmHg – 29.3mmHg with the highest compression levels in the arch and Achilles region.   Therefore, our PF Sleeve also provides medical grade compression.   Again, because the PF Sleeve is a support and not graduated compression, its main benefit is soft tissue stabilization as opposed to blood flow control.   Having said that, because of the warmth and compression provided, a general increase in circulation does occur that increases flexibility and expedites the healing process.  

Medical grade compression may not always be the best choice as it really depends on the individual and what the product is being used for.    For example, many medical experts believe you should not wear compression socks to bed as the high compression level may actually hinder circulation.    If, however, you are looking for the highest level of supportive compression during activity, medical grade compression may be your best choice.   All of Pro-Tec Athletics compression sleeves and supports are designed to be used during activity.   Be sure to consult with your medical professional before wearing compression supports to ensure it is the best solution for your needs.