Compression garments either circular or flat knit. Both types are made with a thread made up of a core of elastic fibers that are encased in a cotton sheath; they are both manufactured by high tech machines in the Juzo factory in Aichach, Germany and both treat oedema but there the similarities end. Their different structures give them different properties.
Circular knit garments are made as a tube-like ‘stocking’ of graded fabric. They tend to be more elastic in nature and less thick to the touch. While they might resemble fashion stockings, they are technically crafted as a medical prescription garment to compress more at the bottom than the top. Think of circular knit garments as your ‘movement’ garment. They ‘squeeze’ very actively and are great for during the day when you are moving and using the muscles in your arms and legs to push against the compression. They are not ideal for night time use when muscles are at rest because they can exert too high a resting pressure. Circular knit garments have a lot of movement in them due to lower stiffness. Circular knit garments can be custom made as long as the patient has fairly regular proportions despite their swelling. They are not recommended for patients with lobules and large anatomical differences between ankle and calf for example. That’s where Flat Knit comes in.
Flat knit garments are your lymphedema therapists top choice for you. They are knitted as a flat but shaped piece of compression fabric which is then sewn into shape with a seam. With flat knit we can make any size or shape garment needed and because they compress without the high bands of circular elastic, they are ideal for lobules , irregular proportioned limbs and folds that need to be reduced without pain or constriction. They are durable and because of their low resting pressure are safer to wear at night for some patients. They tend to have a good ‘stiffness’ which means swelling is very well contained while you are wearing flat knit.