Compression stockings can be very helpful in maintaining foot pressure, but the socks can be hard to put on.

Compression stockings provide a non-invasive way to help your body better circulate your blood. However, for some individuals, in particular diabetics, these stockings can be difficult to put on. To make compression stockings as user-friendly as possible, follow these guidelines:

Start in the morning

Legs are often the least swollen or inflamed in the morning, so compression stockings will be easiest to put on when you first get out of bed.

Prep your legs

In the winter when the weather is particularly dry, many individuals will lotion their legs, and some will add a thin layer of baby powder to their calves to help the stockings more easily slide up. If the stocking still prove difficult to put on, try wearing a pair of rubber gloves – like those you wear to wash dishes – to maintain more even grip on the stockings.

Check pressure

Stockings should feel tightest around your ankles, with the pressure slowly diminishing up your calves. Socks that are properly fit should also come to about 2 inches below your knee, and the heel of the sock should match up with your own heel. If the stockings do not fit your leg properly or the pressure is even throughout the compression sock, get in touch with your clinician to see if a different type may be more appropriate. Although stockings can be difficult to get on, they should not be too uncomfortable to wear on a daily basis.

Daily checks

Stockings can move around throughout the day, so it’s important to check on your compression socks periodically throughout the day. Wrinkles in the socks should be smoothed out to maintain optimum pressure.

Proper care

Finally, a huge part of wearing compression socks is the care you take to make them last. When properly cared for, your socks can last up to six months. However, if possible, it is helpful to have two pairs that you swap out every other day, since stockings should be worn on a daily basis.

At bedtime, take your stockings off. Hand wash the socks with soap, preferably one that is free of dyes and chemicals, and lukewarm water. Set the stockings in an area where a lot of air will circulate and allow them to dry. If your stockings are partially wet in the morning, fan them with a hairdryer for a few minutes or until completely dry. Compression stockings should not be damp when you put them on.

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