How to Correctly Apply Compression Socks at Home
Compression socks provide relief from a range of conditions. When worn correctly, compression socks
- Improve blood flow
- Prevent ulcerations
- Combat pain & swelling
- Reduce the incidence of thrombosis
Unfortunately, compression socks are often worn incorrectly or for the wrong reasons, leading to additional complications.
To effectively put on a compression sock without folds, bunching or the risk of circulation loss, use these tips when donning socks at home:
1. Insert your hand into the sock with your palm up and the sock's heel facing you.
2. Stop when the tip of your thumb has reached the heel pocket.
3. Close your hand and turn the sock inside out.
4. Slide the tunnel you've created over your toes, heel-side down.
5. Slipping the heel of the sock over your own heel, ensure your foot fits snugly in the toe box.
6. Firmly grasp the top band of the sock and pull it over the foot and up toward the knee.
7. The top elastic of a compression sock should rest two finger lengths below the knee.
8. If the sock is too long, do not fold or roll the tops down; SIGVARIS are available in short lengths designed for calves less than 16 inches.
8. Smooth out all wrinkles to ensure the stockings lie flat against the skin.
Additional Tips for Applying Compression Socks
- A dab of cornstarch can help the stocking slide on more easily, particularly during warmer months when more moisture is present.
- Textured rubber dishwashing gloves can provide additional traction that can make grabbing and smoothing a stocking less challenging.
- Keep your stockings clean and dry with a regular hand wash every day, using mild soap and water.
- Replace worn out stockings regularly to ensure that support isn't compromised.
Compression socks are designed to be tighter than the average sock. Therefore, one of the most common complications we see when patients put on their own socks are those associated with excess constriction from incorrect wear or from bunching.
Venous Leg Ulcers
These normally occur around the ankle, and are the result of increased pressure due to poor blood flow from damaged veins, blood clots, injuries, and complications from aging or due to obesity. When the valves inside the veins aren't working as they should, a backflow of blood is created, which increases pressure at the end of the limb. In addition to causing swelling and achiness, this increase in pressure weakens the skin over time to lead to open sores that have difficulty healing. Compression socks are recommended as a preventative for venous leg ulcers.
Wearing compression socks helps to increase blood flow, reducing the risk of various thrombotic conditions including deep vein thrombosis. DVT is the occurrence of blood clots in deep veins, most commonly in the legs. These blood clots may be caused by prolonged inactivity, birth control pills, smoking, pregnancy, obesity, heart failure and certain types of inflammatory bowel disease. The risk for DTV can also be genetic.
Compression stockings help to prevent symptoms such as leg pain and swelling, as well as the risk for clots.
When fluids don't properly move in and out of cells and begin to accumulate in the small spaces around tissues and organs, painful swelling occurs. Peripheral edema can be caused by periods of physical inactivity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, venous insufficiency, trauma and more. Compression socks will prevent fluids from building up to fight edema.
Contraindications of Compression Socks
1. If the diabetic patient also suffers from severe arterial insufficiency, a compression sock is not the right treatment as these can worsen oxygen delivery .
2. If the patient has decreased sensations from neuropathy and cannot sense pressure points or excessive constriction, a compression sock isn't the right treatment.
3. Those suffering from skin infections, dermatitis or fragile skin should not wear compression socks.
4. If pain occurs as a result of donning a compression garment, this is not the right treatment.
5. If a skin reactions occur, such as itching or redness, an allergy may be present and the garment should be removed.
Compression allows blood to return to the heart more easily, and improves fluid exchange to prevent tissue swelling. This can prevent a host of conditions ranging from chronic pain to clots and ulcerations.
There are a variety of compression garments available online, however, not all are suitable for medical purposes. SIGVARIS socks provide graduated compression, with the greatest degree of compression exerted at the ankle and the level of compression gradually decreasing toward the knee.
Graduated compression garments socks are ideal for patients suffering from chronic venous disease and edema, and are available in several levels of compression from less than 15 millimeters of mercury (or mmHg) to more than 40 mmHg. Our SIGVARIS compression socks apply 18-25 mmHg, for moderate medical-grade pressure that's ideal for swelling associated with prolonged periods of inactivity post-surgery or when traveling, for varicose veins, and for the prevention of blood clots.
The graduated sock design ensures that healthy circulation can occur without compromising blood flow, and the flat seams and non-constricting top bands help to minimize pressure points that can result in ulcerations. The padded sole and moisture-wicking material allow the sock to be worn comfortably for extended periods of time.