Tips for Putting On and Taking Off Compression Socks

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Compression Stockings

Compression socks can be very helpful if you have circulation problems in your legs. However, many people find them hard to put on and take off. Sometimes people stop wearing them because of this. To get the benefits from these socks, try these simple tips and tricks to make the process easier. 

Take steps to reduce swelling.

It's easier to slip into the socks if swelling is at a minimum. Try to put them on first thing in the morning, as soon as you wake up. If that’s not possible, try this: Lie down and use pillows to raise your feet above the level of your heart. Stay in this position for a few minutes. That should ease the swelling. Then, put on the socks. 

Start smart.

First, make sure the sock is properly aligned with your foot. The tightest portion of the compression sock is the ankle area. Fold the top part of the sock outward. Put your foot in the opening. Then unfold the sock over your ankle.  

Smooth it out as you pull.

Bunches and wrinkles can make the socks uncomfortable. This can also make them less effective. Take the time to smooth out the fabric as you pull the sock up the length of your calf. Note that compression socks for circulation problems should not go above your knees. Choose the right length for your leg. Also, never roll down the top of a compression sock. That can make the sock act like a tourniquet. It could cut off the circulation to your leg. 

Use tools to ease the process.

A poor grip or sweaty legs can make it challenging to put on compression socks. Wearing rubber gloves can improve your grip. Applying talcum powder will dry the surface of moist skin. If you have trouble bending over and reaching your feet, consider a stocking guide. You place the sock at one end of this device. Then, hold on to its handles as you step your foot into the sock and pull it up your leg. There are also tools designed to help you take off the socks.

Get an extra pair of hands.

Putting on and taking off compression socks can be even harder if you have mobility issues. Ask a friend or a loved one for help if you can't manage on your own. Simply explain that wearing the socks can help keep you healthy, active and pain-free.

Talk with your doctor about any problems.

Some compression socks simply don’t fit right. Also, the amount of compression you need can change with time. That's why it's important to pay attention to how your legs feel in the socks. Also note how well they're working for you. If you notice any change in coloring on your leg, let your doctor know. And tell your doctor if you have any tingling or numbness in your leg. These could be signs you need a different pair of compression socks.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2019 Oct 3
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

  1. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Prevention: Compression Stockings. Cleveland Clinic. 

  2. Focus on Compression Stockings. Vascular Disease Foundation. 

  3. What Are Graduated Compression Stocking, Where Do I Get Them, and How Do I Put Them On? Coalition to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis.