How Long do Compression Socks Last? – Answered (with Pictures!)

brown unisex compression socks

Compression socks promote better blood circulation, which makes them ideal for people who spend a lot of time standing. To maximize benefits like this, it is important to take good care of your compression socks. Continue reading to find out more!

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Reasons to Wear Compression Socks

There are many benefits from wearing compression socks, including:

  • Improving blood circulation in your legs.
  • Preventing swelling in the feet, ankles and legs.
  • Preventing and reducing the effects of orthostatic hypotension, which causes unsteadiness or lightheadedness when standing.
  • Helping in treating venous hypertension.
  • Helping to prevent venous ulcers.
  • Improving lymphatic drainage.

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When Compression Socks Should be Replaced

After wearing compression socks for a several weeks or months, you may start to feel that they are no longer as tight or fitting as when they were purchased. What might be the cause of this?

The answer is that, as compression socks are made with a composite of materials, these materials may get worn out due to wear and tear. Generally, a pair of good quality compression socks, that are properly kept, should last around 3 to 6 months. Therefore, if the compression socks you are wearing have lasted shorter than its expected shelf life, this could be because of poor maintenance or poor quality of the socks.

There are other signs to look out for, which may require compression socks to be replaced possibly sooner than the 3 to 6 month period, such as:

1. If the compression socks have lost their elasticity

If putting on compression socks has become much easier to do and they no longer feel firm on the ankles or legs, this could indicate that the fabric had gotten stretched out and lost their elasticity. This would hinder their purpose and you may not get the compression needed; therefore, they should be replaced.

2. If the compression socks have begun wearing out

If certain areas of the fabric look thinner, or worn out, or the socks have begun to sag, this indicates that the socks need replacing. Worn out compression socks may no longer be able to provide adequate compression.

3. If you have lost or gained a significant amount of weight

Losing or gaining a significant amount of weight over a few months can change the circumference of the legs, which may require you to change your size of compression stockings. Compression socks may still fit fine, assuming they only reach up until the ankle. If the hosiery begins to feel a bit too tight, this can restrict blood flow, while having them too loose will not give you much benefit.

How to Extend the Longevity of Compression Socks

There are several techniques that can help you ensure your compression socks last, such as:

1. Wash them properly

One common misconception that people have about compression socks is that washing them daily can weaken or stretch the fabric. However, it’s a good thing to wash your compression socks after use because this would help get the socks to return to the original tightness. Additionally, wearing a clean pair of compression socks reduces foul odor, bacteria build-up and risks of fungal infection.

When cleaning your socks, hand wash them with cold water and a small amount of mild detergent. Do not use bleach, fabric conditioners, a hot dryer, or hot water when cleaning them. While some manufacturers have started making socks with fabric that is washing machine safe, always review the care instructions beforehand. If there are none, then resort to hand wash.

Lastly, do not wring out compression socks; instead, pat-dry them with a towel and then hang them to air dry.

2. Put them on carefully

Ensure that no jewelry is worn on the hands while putting on or taking off compression socks in order to prevent them from getting stuck on the fabric and causing a tear. Wearing application gloves is also advisable to easily don compression socks. Most application gloves have finger pads and textured palms to provide extra application assistance

You may also consider using a sock donner, which is very helpful for people who have trouble bending over to put on their socks or have arthritis.

Here are some steps you can follow to put compression socks on properly:

  1. Begin by sitting in a position where you can safely raise your legs one at a time.
  2. Start with one raised leg, turn down the grip top of the sock, and then pull the sock evenly and inside out over your heel area all the way up to the knee level.
  3. Make sure that you have positioned the foot area of the sock in the exact position of your foot. Then you can smooth out the sock evenly on your leg until it fits well.
  4. Check to see if the grip top has fitted well and repeat the same process with the other leg.
  5. When removing your compression socks, pull them from the grip top down the heel.

3. Manage fabric snags or runs

In case of a fabric snag or run, a tip is to apply clear nail polish on the loose fabric at the two endpoints of the run, or apply it directly over the snag. This will help to stop the snag or run before it worsens. Alternatively, you can use a needle to carefully pull the snagged thread inside the socks.

4. Buying a substitute pair

This is the best option for anyone who wants their compression socks to last longer. Repeatedly wearing a single pair of compression socks every other day will shorten their lifespan, so consider buying an extra pair or two so that you can alternate between them.

Conclusion

The lifespan of your compression socks does not only depend on the quality of the fabric used to make them, but also in the way that you care for your socks. By following these tips on how to wash and dry, manage runs or snags, and alternate compression socks, you could wear them longer!

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