Putting on Compression Stockings – Step-by-Step (with Pictures!)

Compression stockings, also known as pressure stockings are not like your regular socks. They are designed to squeeze your legs and help reduce orthostatic hypotension. They promote the blood flow towards your heart. Apart from this, they also help reducing leg swelling, venous ulcers and blood clotting in your lower legs. If you are facing swelling or other problems related to it, your health care provider might suggest you wear compression stockings. These stockings are usually worn during the day time. There are different kinds of compression stockings. Some are like regular socks whereas others are open-toe socks. Some only cover your feet, some reach till the knee whereas, others reach your thigh. It is up to you and your health care provider who will recommend the most suitable type of stocking for you.

person wearing compression stocking

Compression stockings require professional fitting and many people find it difficult to put on their compression stockings. This is because they are tight as compared to normal stockings which makes them harder to wear. However, if you know the right tricks and techniques, then putting on compression socks will become easier for you. Please keep this in mind that you need to be patient while trying to put on your compression socks. If you are wearing them for the first time, you might face difficulty because it requires some practice to master this art. Here is how you can do it:

Step 1. Getting ready to wear your compression stockings

The first step is to get ready to wear your compression stockings. It is easier to put on your compression stockings in the morning because, at that time, your legs are less swollen as compared to the second half of the day. If your legs or feet are swollen, you might want to elevate your feet for some time and then wear your stockings. However, if your feet get better during the night and swell during the day then it is recommended that before you sleep, put a pillow under your legs to keep them elevated while you sleep. Before wearing your compression stockings, make sure that your feet are dry. If your feet are moist, you will not be able to comfortably put on your compression stockings. Tap your legs and feet with a towel and then sprinkle some talcum powder or cornstarch, this will absorb moisture. It will also make your legs smooth and reduce friction while you wear stockings.  

Get Comfy

open toe stockings

Once you have prepared your legs and feet for the compression stockings, it is time to get comfy. Sit on a floor and make sure that you have enough space to pull your stockings on. Being comfortable is important because wearing compression stockings is not as easy as it sounds for those who are wearing them for the first time, it needs practice and for practice, comfort is important. Apart from this, if you do not want to sit on a floor, you can also sit on a comfortable chair or the side of your bed. You just need to make sure that you have enough room to jiggle wiggle and wear your stockings comfortably.

Step 2: Pull the stocking

Once you find a comfortable position to sit and put on your socks, it is time for the second step. Before you try the stockings on, first, insert your arm into the sock. Usually, we don’t follow this step while wearing our regular stockings but when it comes to compression stockings, it is an important step. Insert your arm in such a way that it reaches the heels of your stockings. Now pinch the heel using your index finger and thumb and pull it so that the upper half of the sock is turned inside out. Make sure that you turn only the upper half inside out. In this way, your sock will be ready to wear. Now carefully remove the sock from your arm.

turn a stocking inside out

Put it on

Once you remove the sock from your arm, gently put your toe in the sock. Pull the sock so that your foot along with the ankle is covered. If you do not want to pull the sock, gently roll it upwards. Align the sock in such a way so that its toe is straight and heel is in its proper place. Once your foot is in the sock, gently slide the sock up your leg. You can ear some kind of latex gloves while wearing your socks as they will give you a proper grip. Avoid stretching and roughly pulling the sock while you slide it up to your leg as this might tear your sock. If there are any wrinkles on the sock, smooth them out.

Step 3: Repeat the process

Now that you have learned how to put on your compression stocking, it is time to repeat the process for your other sock. Some people are prescribed compression sock for only one leg. If you are wearing your stockings on both legs, then try to wear them in such a way that they have the same point on legs. make sure that your stockings do not irritate you.

old man use compression stockings

Now that you have worn your stockings, you are ready to enjoy your day and rock your stockings. Make sure to remove the socks before going to bed so that you can get a good night’s sleep without any irritation. If you feel anything unusual such as excessive pain and redness, then contact your health care provider and discuss your situation with them so that they can suggest you accordingly.

Other Instructions

Here are some other instructions that you should follow while wearing your compression stockings:

stockings should be comfortable
  1. Wear your compression stockings on a daily basis to see the results. If you wear them regularly, then gradually you’ll notice that outing them on will become easier. However, on the other hand, if you do not wear them every day, then you might face difficulty in wearing your compression stockings.
  2. Take your stockings off during the night.
  3. As mentioned in the first step, elevating your feet is very important. if your feet are swollen, you can simply elevate your feet and legs for 10-15 minutes before wearing your compression stockings. You can do it by resting your feet on a pillow or any other higher surface.
  4. Follow the instructions of your health care provider and wear your compression stockings as prescribed. If you are facing unusual problems, then you should also discuss them with your healthcare provider.
  5. Make sure to check your legs and feet for any signs of skin irritation or other changes. If you find anything unusual such as redness, discuss it with your healthcare provider.
  6. If you find any wrinkles on your stockings, it means that you are not wearing them correctly. Use your hands to smooth out the wrinkles and make sure that your toe and heels are in the toe and heel box respectively.
  7. You can also place a small wooden piece under the foot side of your bed so that your feet are elevated while you sleep.
use pillow to elevate your feet

Donning Tools

compression stockings help in swelling

There are different tools available in the market that make wearing compression stockings easier. If wearing compression stockings is difficult for you, then you can also use different types of donning tools. These tools are useful as well as inexpensive. Apart from different donning tools, you can also use donning gloves. Donning gloves are quite useful because not only they assist you in wearing your compression stockings but they also avoid any tears that might occur while you try to wear your stockings with bare hands. It provides you with an easy-grip so that you don’t need extra force for pinching your compression stockings. The best thing about donning gloves is that they save your time and make the whole process hassle-free.

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