Joe had knee surgery for a torn ACL. His doctor told him to wear a pair of really tight white knee-hi’s while he was in the hospital. They were hard to put on and take off—and they looked like his wife’s stockings.
Joe was wearing TED hose.
Carey Braungart, RN, Nurse Director, explains what TED hose are and why you may be asked to wear them when you’re in the hospital.
What Are TED Hose?
TED hose are Thrombo-Embolic Deterrent stockings. They’re specially designed knee-high or thigh-high stockings you wear in the hospital after surgery or if you’re immobilized due to illness or injury.
What Are TED Hose Used For?
TED hose are used to reduce your risk of blood clots, says Ms. Braungart.
When you can’t move around like you normally can, you’re at greater risk for developing blood clots known as:
- Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) if they’re in the large veins in your legs
- Embolisms if they break off and move through your bloodstream
Your heart pumps your blood through your body through a system of arteries and veins. Oxygenated blood leaves your heart through your arteries and travels down to your legs.
“If there is a known risk factor that we can prevent, we should.”
Your blood then travels back to your heart through your veins. The muscles in your legs help your blood move against gravity back toward your heart. If you’ve had surgery or you have difficulty moving your legs, your blood may have trouble making the trip back to your heart.
“When you’re in bed not moving, blood may begin pooling in your legs. And anytime blood pools, there is an increased risk for clotting,” explains Ms. Braungart.
Blood clots that travel to the lungs, heart or brain can be fatal.
How Do TED Hose Work?
The TED hose work by compression, Ms. Braungart explains.
“They have graduated degrees of pressure. They compress more at the lower part of the leg—at the ankle—and then they gradually decrease pressure going up the leg. They do the work of your leg muscles, improving the blood flow in your lower leg and reducing the risk of clotting,” Ms. Braungart explains.
TED hose are often used in combination with sequential compression devices (SCDs), which are disposable sleeves that electronically squeeze your lower legs at set intervals.
Who Should Wear TED Hose?
Any bedbound adult with limited mobility should discuss wearing TED hose with his or her physician, Ms. Braungart recommends.
TED hose may also be recommended if you:
- Have poor circulation in your legs
- Have poor muscle tone in your legs
“Because the risk of blood clots after surgery is significant, most Scott & White physicians recommend their patients use TED hose post-surgery,” Ms. Braungart says, unless they have a condition that contraindicates wearing them.
Who Should Not Wear Them?
Ms. Braungart says TED hose may not be recommended if you have:
- Leg wounds
- Leg deformity
- Extreme edema
- Some diabetic conditions
How Should TED Hose Fit?
They should fit snugly. “They may be challenging to put on. However, they’re designed to be tight fitting in order to apply the pressure needed to promote circulation in your legs,” Ms. Braungart says.
Though TED hose should be tight, the heel and the elastic band at the top shouldn’t cut into your skin. Your nursing team will take regular assessments, checking your pressure points. They’ll also remove your TED hose when you bathe.
Can I Walk Around in TED Hose?
Yes. Remember: Safety first. TED hose are stockings and are slick. You risk slipping and falling if you walk around in them without the appropriate footwear.
Ms. Braungart advises that when you’re wearing TED hose, you:
- Have assistance getting out of your hospital bed
- Wear fall-risk socks (with rubberized treads on the bottom) or shoes when walking
Are TED Hose Really Necessary?
Yes. “It’s very important that you comply with your doctor’s orders and wear your TED hose. They can be hot,” Ms. Braungart says, “but if there is a known risk factor that we can prevent, we should.”