People who have never worn compression socks may not realize how difficult they can be to put on. By practicing and following these simple steps, though, you'll be able to put on compression socks as easily as regular socks before you know it! If you're not used to putting them on, we recommend starting with lower, less intense pressure.
The process of putting on compression socks will look a little different, depending on the type and length you choose. For example, putting on compression stockings will take longer than knee-high compression socks because there's more fabric to deal with, and compression sleeves, which only cover your calves, can't be put on the same way as compression socks with feet. Below, we've sorted our instructions by compression sock styles to make it as easy as possible for you to find the information you need!
Keep in mind that while compression wear is supposed to be tight, it shouldn't feel so tight that it's cutting off your circulation. Your socks should feel like they're giving your legs and ankles a gentle hug, and if they feel a lot tighter than that, it probably means you have the wrong size.
Knee High Compression Socks
Knee-high compression socks are the most common and easily accessible compression socks on the market. They cover your feet, ankles, and calves, putting the most pressure around your feet and ankles and then gradually lessening the pressure as it moves up your leg. Even though these compression socks are considered standard, they can still be a little tricky to put on for the first time, so follow these four steps to get the best and most efficient results!
Step 1: Slide your hand into your sock so that the palm of your hand is against the sole of the sock. When your hand is inside, the heel of your palm should align with the heel of the sock.
Step 2: With one hand still inside the sock, use your free hand to slowly roll the sock inside out until only the foot of the sock (the portion that your hand is in) is right side in.
Step 3: Carefully remove your hand from the sock and, making sure the sole of the sock is facing the ground, place your foot inside.
Step 4: Roll the sock slowly and carefully up your leg, making sure the fabric doesn't wrinkle or bunch in the process.
Compression stockings are similar to knee-high compression socks, but they usually reach above the knee. Like we mentioned above, when there's more material to deal with, the steps involved with putting the stockings on will probably take longer.
There are two methods to putting on compression stockings: the first is similar to the steps listed for the knee-high compression socks, and the second uses a tool called a stocking donner. People with limited mobility may find the donning tool easier and more helpful than trying to do all the steps with their hands by bending over or reaching down.
Method 1: Using Your Hands
Step 1: Put your hand inside the stocking like you would with knee-high compression socks, but pinch the heel of the sock between your thumb and index finger instead of trying to line up the heel of your palm with the heel of the sock.
Step 2: Turn the stocking inside out until the pinched heel is at the forefront.
Step 3: Place your foot inside the foot of the stocking, making sure the heel of the stocking is sitting just short of your actual heel.
Step 4: Carefully unfold the stocking until it's completely smooth, stretching up as far as it's intended to go. (If it is designed to come just above the knee, don't try to pull it up to your mid-thigh. The main thing to concern yourself with is making sure the fabric is smooth and wrinkle-free.)
Method 2: Using a Donning Tool
Step 1: Position your sock over the large, circular metal frame.
Step 2: Carefully place your foot into the foot hole and step down until your foot is flat on the floor.
Step 3: Using the handles on either side of the frame, pull up until the stocking has covered your leg.
Runners often use compression sleeves, and they only cover the calves of the leg, leaving the feet and ankles free. Finding the most effective way to put on compression sleeves can be tricky since there's no foot to grab onto while you try to place it in the right position. As long as you're careful with the way you position your sleeves, though, you should have no problem.
Step 1: Roll the compression sleeve as far inside as possible while still leaving the bottom inch right side in.
Step 2: Place your leg into the sleeve and carefully roll it up and over your calf, smoothing out any wrinkles and bunched material along the way.
Compression socks of all shapes and sizes offer a lot of benefits, and as long as you know how to put them on, they're easy and convenient to wear. If you're not sure what kind of compression socks would be best for you, talk to your doctor and get some advice. Your doctor will be able to look at your medical history, age, and weight to determine what size and brand are right for you.
At the end of the day, putting on compression socks comes down to practice. Find a comfortable chair or spot on the floor and take all the time you need to practice and get the process down pat, and you'll have all of these steps mastered in no time!