Compression stockings are custom medical garments designed to assist and improve lower extremity circulation. By gently squeezing your legs, these tight-fitting, graduated devices can help control chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), alleviate related symptoms like leg pain, and prevent worsening complications like venous ulcers.
At Vascular Vein Centers, our skilled team of board-certified specialists may prescribe fitted compression socks, stockings, or wraps to help you:
- Ease lower extremity swelling (edema)
- Reduce chronic achiness and heaviness
- Stop or slow varicose vein progression
- Halt or delay spider vein progression
- Help prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Reduce the risk of post-surgery clotting
Compression socks are one of the simplest and most effective ways to boost lower extremity blood flow and restore healthy circulation. Unfortunately, these helpful garments can also be notoriously difficult to don (put on) — unless, of course, you have expert guidance.
Compression therapy is tailored to you
Through the regular wear of custom, graduated “pressure socks,” compression therapy is a circulation-boosting treatment technique that aims to provide a gentle and consistent “vascular assist” to sluggish or impaired leg veins.
When we prescribe compression therapy, every aspect of your treatment plan is tailored to your personal needs. Your compression sock prescription specifies:
- The length and graduated fit of your garments
- Compression strength (low, medium, or high)
- When you should (and shouldn’t) wear your socks
- The duration of your compression therapy plan
- Proper compression sock care and replacement
Though knee-high socks are the most frequently prescribed compression garment, followed by longer compression stockings, some people need full tights that go all the way to the waist.
When should I wear my compression socks?
At the start of compression therapy, the first question most patients ask is: “When should I wear my compression socks?” The short answer? Wear your socks exactly as prescribed in your treatment plan.
Still, we can offer a few generalities about compression garment wear that hold true for most patients. First and foremost, compression therapy is a daily treatment that requires you to wear your socks every day for the duration of your care plan — whether it’s a few weeks, a few months, or for life (indefinite). This means you should:
- Don your compression socks as soon as you get up
- Continue wearing your socks for the entire day
- Remove your garments at night, just before bedtime
Most people don’t need to wear their compression garments at night. However, if we’re using compression therapy to ease swelling and help promote faster healing for an open wound, we may prescribe compression bandages that stay on overnight for a specific period.
How can I simplify compression sock donning?
If you recently obtained your first pair of compression socks, learning how to don them properly can feel a bit challenging. Here are a few tips to take the effort out of putting them on:
1. Put them on when you wake up in the morning
You’re supposed to don your compression socks first thing in the morning — or as soon as you get up — to give your veins an immediate assist when your body is upright and are working against gravity once again. As an added incentive, donning your socks first thing in the morning is usually easier since leg swelling tends to be minimal after hours of elevation and sleep.
2. Make sure your feet are dry
If you’ve always moisturized your feet in the morning, compression therapy may prompt you to switch that routine to the evening. Why? It’s much easier to don a compression sock on a dry foot and leg — not one that’s moist with fresh lotion.
3. Resist the urge to gather or bunch your socks
What makes compression socks so challenging to put on and take off? Their snug, exacting fit. For many people who are new to compression sock wear, there’s often an initial urge to bunch or gather the material together, then roll it up the leg — much like how one might pull on a pair of pantyhose.
Unfortunately, bunching, gathering, or rolling your socks can cause its graduated compression material to form a tight band that can be even harder to slip your foot and leg through.
4. Try using donning gloves or another aid
Although there are many aids available for compression stocking donning, we recommend donning gloves. By providing friction and a better grip, this simple tool makes it easier to slip your foot and heel into the sock, gently pull the stocking to its full height, and smooth away wrinkles in the material as you go.
Even better, donning gloves can help you keep your socks in excellent condition by preventing the kind of nail snags that can undermine their strength and integrity. They’re also helpful for removing compression garments, too.
Protect your health with compression therapy
Ready to make the most out of your compression stockings? We’re here to help. Give us a call today to learn more, or schedule a visit at your nearest Vascular Vein Centers office in College Park of Orlando, Waterford Lakes of East Orlando, Kissimmee, Lake Mary, Davenport/Haines City, or The Villages, Florida, any time.