What are compression socks and stockings?

Compression socks, stockings, and hosiery work to improve blood flow in your legs. The compression material gently squeezes the legs to move blood up your legs – and this in turn helps prevent leg swelling and, to a lesser extent, helps to prevent blood clots.

Wearing compression socks and stockings helps in a variety of ways: to alleviate aching and any heavy feeling in the legs; to reduce swelling in legs; and to prevent blood clots (in particular those that come after surgery or injury, or in people who are less active). There are a variety of types of compression socks and stockings with a variety of pressure, from light pressure to strong pressure, and in various lengths, from knee-high to the top of the thigh. These products are available for men and women and are offered in an assortment of fashionable fabrics and colors for all occasions.

It is important to talk to medical professional about what kind of compression socks or stockings are right for you, or Contact Us to get the conversation started.

Why is compression important, and how does it fit into the mix of overall health?

We all want to enjoy healthy and active lives, but with all the tasks of work and family (and of life itself!) we may forget to pay attention to and maintain the health of our legs.

Problems with the veins of the leg occur in both men and women of all ages, but certain factors increase the risk of venous problems. Health conditions, lifestyle habits, heredity, injury, surgery, age, and pregnancy all play a role in the health of our legs.

While you are unable to control heredity, age, medical conditions, and changes during pregnancy, there are areas of your health where you have full control. You can improve lifestyle factors through exercise and the avoidance of inactivity, good posture, choices in good fitting clothing and footwear, and wearing gradient compression socks and stockings that is right for you.

I am wearing compression for the first time – is there anything special I should do?

It is absolutely fine to begin wearing your socks and stockings gradually – you should be comfortable. Try wearing them for just a few hours the first day and then increase the number of hours each day until you can wear them comfortably throughout the day while you are up and about. Check your stockings periodically to smooth out any wrinkles as the fabric may move during the day. Remove your compression socks or stockings before going to bed.

How do I care for my compression sock and stockings?

Hand or machine-wash with warm water and mild soap or detergent. Do not use chlorine bleach. Placing your stockings in a mesh laundry bag will help protect them during the wash cycle. Rinse in warm water, and then hang or lay flat to air-dry.

You may dry compression sock and stockings in a dryer on low heat or delicate setting

How often should I wear my compression sock and stockings?

It is important to wear your compression socks and stockings every day. Compression socks and stockings manage an on-going problem. When you remove your compression sock and stocking, the condition responsible for your symptoms is still there. Failure to wear your compression sock and stocking may cause your condition to become more severe.

How often should I replace my compression sock and stockings?

The elastic fibers of your compression socks and stockings will break down with wear. Proper care will increase the “life” span of your stockings, but you will need to replace your sock and stockings every 3-6 months, depending on how often you are wearing and how you are caring for your sock and stocking. As a general rule, if your sock and stocking becomes easy to put on, it probably needs to be replaced.

How do I “don” or put on my compression socks and stockings?

Properly fitting compression socks and stockings will feel snug at first. It may take a few days to adjust to the pressure.

Helpful Hints to put on compression socks and stockings:

  • Compression socks and stockings are easier to put on when you first get out of bed, before swelling occurs.
  • Remove rings and jewelry that could damage your socks and stockings.
  • Use gloves (rubber or vinyl) to help position the socks and stockings on your leg.
  • Make sure your skin is dry before putting on your compression socks and stockings.
  • Avoid rolling or bunching the fabric as this will create too much pressure in specific areas.
  • Apply a thin layer of cornstarch or powder to help the stocking (or sleeve) slide smoothly over your skin.
  • Apply moisturizer to your legs (or arm) in the evening – not just before putting on your sock and stocking.