Compression socks are meant to apply pressure to the legs, feet, and ankles. As a result, they are not quite as easy to put on as traditional socks or stockings. Unfortunately, many people get discouraged if and when they struggle to get their compression socks over their feet and ankles, especially if they are dealing with a lot of swelling, pain, or inflammation.
However, reducing swelling, alleviating pain, and improving circulation are some of the primary reasons that people use compression socks in the first place. So, if you get frustrated that your socks are difficult to put on, you may be inclined to wear them less often, which will not help you get your desired results. Fortunately, learning how to put on compression stockings is not as difficult as it may seem. In fact, there are various strategies to help make the process fast, easy, and pain-free.
How To Put On Compression Socks Easily
If you have enough leverage and upper body strength, putting on compression socks is usually a breeze. However, if you are trying to put them on without proper leverage, you may find it pretty tricky. Moreover, if your feet or legs are particularly swollen or you do not have the strength to pull the stockings completely over your feet and lower legs, then you may need to try some different approaches to make things easier. Here are a few of the most common and popular methods:
Plastic Bag Method
Putting on compression socks with a plastic bag may take some practice, but it is one of the more ingenious methods and only requires common household items. Before attempting to put on the sock, first find a generic plastic bag (like a grocery bag). You will put a portion of the plastic between your big toe and your middle toe, with the rest going underneath your foot. Leave about two inches of plastic sticking up between your big toe and middle toe.
Now, align the compression sock correctly (heel facing down) and begin to put it on your foot. Allow it to smoothly move over the plastic bag. Make sure that you always leave a portion of the plastic bag visible on the back of your leg. You may need to make adjustments to the bag as you pull the sock up. Finally, once the sock is completely on, pull the plastic bag out of the sock.
The inside-out method is the most common alternative to simply putting on the compression sock as you would any other kind of sock or hosiery. First, insert your hand into the sock and grasp the interior heel pocket of the sock. While still holding the heel, use your other hand to pull the top of the sock down your arm and inside-out, leaving the inside of the heel exposed. Then, slide the stocking over your foot until your foot and heel are positioned correctly. Finally, you just have to pull the top of the sock (that is still inside out) up your calf. This method is best for people with arthritis, as the process puts less pressure on the joints of your hands and arms.
Talcum Powder Method
Many people struggle to put on compression socks or stockings because they are sweating or have moisture on their legs, feet, and toes. Putting a bit of talcum powder on your feet, ankles, and legs can absorb this moisture and reduce friction. This way, you can put on the socks without a lot of resistance. Remember that you can combine talcum powder with other methods, especially if you are putting on compression socks after surgery. Talcum powder can also make it easier if you have to put your socks on with one hand.
Additional Tips & Tricks
- Put compression socks on when you start your day; this helps you form a habit and makes the process feel less arduous.
- Use your hands to smooth out wrinkles; start at the top of the socks and move toward the bottom.
- Always put your compression socks on while seated; never try to put them on while standing up, as you could easily lose your balance and fall over.
- If you are putting on compression socks after knee surgery or after hip replacement, work very slowly; moving too fast could cause unnecessary pain.
For videos and even more tips to help you put on your compression socks, be sure to check out our donning tips page!
How To Put Compression Socks On Someone Else
So far, we have only discussed how to put compression socks on yourself. However, the reality is that many people who need compression socks do not have the ability to put them on alone. In fact, a large percentage of compression sock users are elderly, which means that they may not have the strength or balance to put compression socks on correctly.
For this reason, family members or personal caregivers should know how to put compression socks on other people. Typically, the best way to put compression socks on someone else is the inside-out method (described above). Naturally, putting compression socks on someone else requires a keen awareness of their sensitivity and pain threshold. Some people may be more sensitive to the pressure, so you need to proceed with care and ask how they feel as you move through each step of the process.
It’s also extremely important to pay attention to the person’s toes as you put the socks on. A pinky toe could easily get caught in an uncomfortable position as you slide the sock up the foot. So, be careful to keep their toes aligned and comfortable as you go along.
How To Put On Compression Socks With A Donner
While most people prefer to simply put on compression socks without additional help, there are various donning devices and stocking donners that can help make the process even easier. For example, you can use simple devices that help open up the socks and make them easier to slip over your foot. The Juzo Slippie and Sigvaris Doff-n-Donner are two different designs that can be used to open up the sock and make it more malleable. Additionally, the Sigvaris Doff-n-Donner Cone is used in conjunction with the standard Sigvaris donning aid to help roll the stockings onto the device.
Stocking donners are especially useful for older patients who may need to put their compression socks on alone from time to time. Donners reduce the need to use strength to stretch the material. Instead, you can let the devices do the stretching for you. They are also great investments for people who need to use compression socks for the long term.
As you can see, there are many different ways to put on compression socks quickly and comfortably. It does not need to be painful or annoying to put on compression stockings. In fact, with the tips and strategies outlined above, you will become a pro at using compression socks in no time!
We hope you found this guide on how to put on compression socks both useful and informative! Are you currently in the market for compression socks or other compression wear? If so, be sure to reach out to Compression Health today!