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Choosing and Using Compression Socks

Choosing and Using Compression Socks

Compression socks will primarily help you get better blood circulation in your legs as you work for long hours while sitting or standing.

It can also be recommended by a health care professional to help in cases like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or varicose veins. Other people like athletes may wear compression socks to help improve their performance.

Simply put, to get the best of the compression socks, choosing the correct type of socks and knowing how to use them is critical.

For most people, the first pair is likely to be a recommendation at a health facility, and thus choosing the correct fit may not be a problem. But if you are looking to buy them online or at a store, then there are considerations that one must take.

As such, choosing and using compression stockings is an important step in getting the best out of these socks.

Choosing compression socks

Compression stockings are designed to snuggly-fit on your leg and apply pressure that gently squeezes on the leg and helps blood and oxygen flow.

The compression socks have more pressure at the ankle and will graduate and lessen up the leg to avoid countering the intention of blood flow by being too tight at one point.

  • They come in different sizes and pressures. (read about it below)
  • Compression socks offer different pressure capacities
  • It is best to get advice from a professional before buying the first pair

Compression socks can be worn by anyone, but one needs to seek a doctor’s advice if they have certain medical conditions or skin infections

What are the different kinds of compression socks?

We have compression socks of different sizes, lengths and pressure strengths. The choice of a particular type will mostly depend on what part of the body it is to be worn and whether it has been recommended or not.

For the various lengths, you can get knee-high socks and thigh-high socks. There are also tights and footless socks (also called sleeves, as they have no foot).

When going for the socks, having the right measurements is paramount to avoid getting a very tight or small pair. It could be just as bad to get large ones that do not fit and thus end up not serving its purpose.

A healthy person will buy socks with the lowest pressure levels, while those advised to get there by a medical practitioner will choose a pressure level depending on the given advice.

In most cases, the specialist will pick one that fits your specific needs. Compression levels range from under 15mmHg to over 40mmHg, or from mild to strong compression.

Go for a mild compression when looking for socks that should give you comfort.

For DVT and other cases, go for stronger compression levels. If you have had surgery and need the socks, then go for anti-embolism socks.  In all these cases, find specialist help if it is your first time to buy the stockings.

Where do you buy compression socks?

As stated earlier, you can purchase compression sock from various places or outlets. Most people now find it easier to buy the socks online, but the first place you should go to is ideally a medical facility or store where advice and other key details can be factored into the choice of a given length or strength of socks.

You can also access compression socks over the counter at a drugs store or pharmaceutical company. Importantly, however, you need to find out additional information before buying from places like online or drugs store.

Such information includes whether that store, online supplier or company provides for measurements or whether it allows your medical insurance to pay for the costs. This bit is important as although some socks will cost as little as $10, others may set you back almost $100 for one pair.

Compression socks prices vary mainly as a result of factors such as company/brand, fabric quality, length, pressure strength, and purpose. Footless or toeless socks will not be priced the same as a custom-fit knee or thigh-high pair.

Expectedly, a custom-fit pair is slightly pricier as is a pair that is aimed at aiding a medical condition.

How do you wear compression socks?

The general agreement is that compression socks are beneficial and many users get the best out of them when they wear them all day.

However, research has shown that more than a quarter of the people using the stockings do not get the optimum benefit. And it boils down to two main reasons: these individuals were found to either have ended up with the wrong socks or that they did not wear the socks in the right manner.

Affected people either donned socks that did not fit or were thigh-high when the individual would have been more comfortable in knee-high socks. So, before you even know how to wear compression socks, the first thing is to ensure you get the right fit, length, and strength.

Wear your socks when you wake up and take them off when you go to bed. Take these steps when wearing your socks:

  • Take the sock and turn it inside out, but with one hand grabbing the big toe tip from inside.
  • Start wearing the sock by sliding your foot into the sock and pulling it up to your heel and then your leg
  • Slide the sock gently up your leg, always ensuring that you do not stretch or wrinkle it
  • As you slide it up your leg, avoid pulling as this will likely rip the sock or affect its fit. The pull should see you wear the sock smoothly to the end.

Once you are done, smooth it out so that it fits nicely on the leg without any creases or bunching.

Taking off your compression socks

Normally, you would take off the socks when ready for a bath or shower or when going off to bed. The easiest way to take them off is to simply fold them down starting at the top, with the inside folding out up to the ankle. At this point, gently push the sock off the ankle and then slide it off the foot.


You may find it challenging to slide the sock up your leg, or down when you want to remove them. This, however, can be helped by having rubber gloves with you. They help with the hand-sock friction, enabling you to easily wear or remove the socks.

You can also get a “stocking donner,” a special device designed to help people wear their compression socks easily, especially in cases where the individual finds it challenging to grasp the stocking and pull it up their leg.

Note that you can use compression socks as normal, that is, with your everyday footwear like shoes and sandals.

Things to avoid

  • Pulling the stockings too rapidly and too long beyond its fit
  • Folding the top once you are done wearing the socks- it will make them too tight and counter desired effect. The danger is when this leads to blood circulation problems.

Once you can wear and remove your compression socks correctly, the next step is to know how to care for them.