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Round Knit and Flat Knit Compression Stockings

Round knit compression stockings compared to Flat knit compression stockings.

What does this mean?

Yes ladies and gentleman there is a difference in the type of compression stocking chosen to treat your swelling more effectively than the other.

Let me give you advice on the difference in order to make the choice easier.

  • Round knit compression is a weave that we best describe as a circular or spiral design causing stretching of the fabric longer in length as well as towards the thickness of the limb.

This means that with repeated use this round knit compression stocking only has a shelf life of between 4 – 6 months and need to be replaced regularly in order to maintain correct compression.

This compression stocking does not have a seam and will contour against the arm or leg that it is fit to.

Thus fitting it to a limb with an irregular shape will cause pain, discomfort and complications.

Indications for this type of compression include:

  • Pre, and Post pregnancy swelling
  • Varicose veins
  • Swelling in diabetic patient’s
  • Swelling in low activity and elderly patients
  • To lower risk of swelling during long periods of travel (flight and car travel)
  • Post thrombotic syndrome (diagnosis of a DVT – Deep vein thrombosis)
  • Post surgical swelling without complications
  • Lipedema (Fat deposits under the skin causes both legs to be irregular in shape with a loose and soft texture. Usually only affecting the legs and not the rest of the waist.

Colours include beige, black, brown, white, navy ext.

  • Flat knit compression is a weave that we can best describe as a straight or one sheet design.  This compression stocking is woven as one layer and then connected by means of a seam on the posterior or back aspect of the stocking.  This seam can be seen running along the back of the leg or arm if fit to a patient.

The texture of this stocking is thicker with touch but is not necessarily warmer.

The stocking does breathe when it stretches and does allow air to flow through.

This type of compression with repeated use need to be replaced every 6 – 9 months in order to be affective in compression treatment.

 This stocking will shape the contour of the affective limb and provide a more effective means of compression to a very swollen, enlarged or irregular shape leg and arm.

Indications for this type of compression include:

  • Primary lymphoedema of the arm and leg where a measurement of more than2 cm difference compared to the non – affected limb is present.
  • Secondary lymphoedema of the arm and leg a measurement of more than2 cm difference compared to the non – affected limb is present.
  • Treating of a cellulitis infection and long term compression to treat the associated swelling
  • Lipolymphedema
  • Diabetic ulcer and wounds associated with vascular disease.
  • Any limb with an irregular shape, size and contour.

Colours include beige, brown, black, navy, pink, red, and ext.


This means that compression is grater further away from the heart of the affected limb and reduces in pressure closer to the heart.

In an arm this means giving more pressure over the wrist and reducing in pressure towards the axilla (under arm).

In a leg this means giving more pressure over the ankle and reducing in pressure toward the knee and thigh.

Please make sure that you are measured and fit by a qualified Orthotist in order to prevent any tourniquet effect that this type of stocking can cause if not fit properly.

A special thank you to Meghess Swart for the interesting read.

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