All graduated compression garments are manufactured using either flat knit or seamless, circular knit machines. There are many similarities between these two different knit types; both circular knit and flat knit graduated compression garments work by increasing the pressure in the limb and by moving fluid from an area of high pressure to an area of lower pressure. The garments are knit to have more pressure at the most distal point in the body with the pressure decreasing gradually towards the core of the body to help move stagnating fluid out of the affected limb. But how do they differ? They significantly differ in their material properties. Let’s take a closer look.

What is a flat-knit medical compression stocking?

Flat-knit medical compression stockings are knitted in rows using a flat-knitting machine. An increase in stitches gives the stocking its anatomical shape and pressure curve.

The stitch size remains constant so that the knitted fabric has the same stability throughout. Afterward, it is sewn together with a special seam. The process is comparable to knitting a sweater. Flat-knit garments are less likely to dig into the skin, depending on the quality of the fabric. It is also specifically made for individual shapes and sizes.

Who needs flat-knit medical compression stockings?

Flat-knitted medical compression stockings are mainly used in the treatment of lymphedema and lipedema. Flat-knitted medical compression stockings prevent a renewed accumulation of fluid in the tissue.

The special property of flat-knitted medical compression stockings is due to the strong material, or so-called wall stability, making them less stretchy than circular knitted stockings. This material allows it to adapt to different sizes and shape disproportions. It is less likely to settle into skin folds while delivering the correct pressure.

The flat-knit technology can be used for ready-to-wear or made-to-measure garments. Made-to-measure will provide the best possible fit as it’s tailor-made to the patient. This is important for wearing comfort and, consequently, for treatment results, especially when it comes to higher compression classes or specific body shapes.

What is a circular-knitted compression stocking?

Circular knit medical compression stockings are knitted with a circular knitting machine on a round cylinder in a tubular and seamless manner. The number of stitches in each row is usually identical. The material is usually less stiff, appears smoother, and can be more comfortable.

The size, anatomical shape, and pressure curve of the circular knitted medical compression stocking are determined, among other things, by knitting machines with different diameters and number of needles, the variable stitch size, the number of knitted rows, and the different pretension of the compression thread. As a result, there are limits to the shape of the circular knitted medical compression stocking.

When are circular knitted compression stockings used?

Circular-knitted medical compression stockings are the basic therapy for venous disease. In the case of severe venous disease and/or strong differences in the leg circumferences, flat-knitted medical compression stockings may be necessary. Due to their knitting technique, circular-knit garments are not designed for shape disproportion. However, the right type of compression will always be recommended by your healthcare professional (HCP).

The medi® mediven® line of compression includes a comprehensive portfolio of products, ranging from circular to flat-knit garments, all of which are focused on delivering precise compression in an array of styles, colors, and materials for therapeutic needs. With features like Perfect Fit design and Clima Comfort technology, the mediven line of products delivers the compression accuracy your body needs combined with a variety of stylish options for every person.