How to Put On Compression Socks

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Compression socks are thin, long (usually white) socks that provide low-level pressure to the legs in order to keep blood circulating and prevent clots from forming. They are frequently worn after surgical procedures and in cases where a person is known to have poor circulation. They might look intimidating due to their size, but putting on compression socks can be accomplished in a few easy steps!

Things You'll Need

  • Compression socks (2)
  • A chair or other sturdy surface to sit on

How to Put On Compression Socks

Put your hand into the compression sock and extend it down to the heel cup. Your fingers should be pointed toward the toe end of the sock.

Holding on to the heel portion, turn the top part of the compression sock inside out. (Your fingers should still be near the toe of the sock.)

Remove your hand from the compression sock.

Place your foot in the compression sock. Make sure your heel is positioned solidly in the heel cup.

Pull the rest of the stocking (the portion that was inside-out) up and into position. For knee-high compression socks, your target height is 1 to 2 inches BELOW the bottom of your kneecap. If you have thigh-high compression socks, aim for the bottom of the buttocks, with the change in fabric thickness occurring 1 to 2 inches below the knee.

Smooth out any remaining fabric.

Repeat Steps 1 to 6 for the second leg.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take good care of your compression stockings. Using lanolin or oils can break down the elastic.
  • Compression stockings are safe for washing in most personal washers and dryers provided the temperature is not too high. Check the package for specific limitations.
  • Make sure that you are wearing the right size compression socks. Each manufacturer has slightly different sizes. Compression socks should provide mild pressure, but not too much. If all else fails, check the package for sizing requirements.
  • Don't fold over the top of the sock. It will create too much compression and can cause even more problems. And it's uncomfortable!
  • If you wear knee-high compression socks, do not stretch the sock beyond the target height mentioned in Step 5. Covering your knee or positioning the top band above your knee creates too much compression and can cause functional limitations.

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