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Do you need to wear Compression stockings?

Doctors recommend wearing compression stockings for a variety of medical problems. Compression stockings compress your legs, to increase circulation up and down the legs and feet. Compression stockings are commonly used to prevent and treat condition such as DVT (deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot deep in the vein); varicose veins and venous leg ulcers. You may also be recommended post surgery.

Putting socks on can be a real struggle, compression stockings are no easier. You might already be using a sock aid but these will not work with compression stockings.

If your doctor has recommended that you begin wearing compression stockings, it’s really important that you understand why, how to put them on – or ask someone to help you, and how to look after them.

5 benefits of wearing compression socks:

  1. Improve venous return
  2. Prevent venous blood from pooling in the legs
  3. Decrease the risk of blood clots
  4. Lessen leg swelling
  5. Improve symptoms of vein disease

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that occurs when blood clots form in veins deep inside your body. These clots can occur anywhere in the body. However, this condition often affects the lower legs or thighs.

Symptoms of DVT include swelling, pain or tenderness, and skin that may feel warm to the touch.

DVT can happen to anyone. But you have a greater risk of developing DVT after a surgery or trauma. Being overweight and smoking are also risk factors.

Since DVT can lead to serious complications, your doctor may recommend DVT compression stockings to reduce swelling and improve blood flow to your heart and lungs. If you’re not familiar with how these stockings work, here’s what you need to know.

How do compression stockings work?

Compression stockings are like socks or tights, but they’re made from a different material and serve a different purpose.

While you may wear ordinary stockings for style or to protect your legs, compression stockings have an elastic fabric designed to fit tightly around the ankles, legs, and thighs. These stockings are tighter around the ankle and less tight around the calves and thighs.

The pressure created by the stockings pushes fluid up the leg, which allows blood to flow freely from the legs to the heart. Compression stockings not only improve blood flow, but also reduce swelling and pain. They are particularly recommended for the prevention of DVT because the pressure stops blood from pooling and clotting.

Wearing compression stockings

If you experience leg trauma or have surgery, your doctor may prescribe compression stockings for use during your hospital stay or at home. You can also buy them from a pharmacy or a medical supply store.

These stockings can be worn after a DVT diagnosis to alleviate some of the discomfort and swelling. Compression stockings may also be worn as a preventative measure.

5 do’s

  • Do carefully measure your legs to ensure you get the right size. You want to ensure you get the medical benefit and that they are as comfortable as possible to wear all day.
  • Do look after them – a gentle wash every day you wear them is recommended, not only for hygiene but to get the longest use of them. They will stretch over your legs so by washing, it helps them to keep their shape. Please check the instruction with your stockings on recommended cleaning products.
  • Do put your stockings on first thing in the morning, every day. Legs and feet are less swollen at the beginning of the day and you will get the maximum benefit as you are active throughout the day.
  • Do ask for help – compression stockings are tight, so if you find it hard to put them on, or bending down can be a challenge, consider asking a partner or friend to help you. Your stocking may come with a silky sleeve – stocking donner – or you can find a range of different gadgets to help you or a carer to help with this daily task.  Stretching the stocking over the foot is often the biggest challenge. Avoid snagging the stocking with your finger nails or rings. With extra grip to open wide, a frame can make it quicker & easier for you or someone who helps you. Check that you can use seating, standing or lying – whichever is the most stable for you.
  • Do replace when they start to wear – every 3-6 months. The elastic will stretch and when they start to sag is a good indicator that they might be due a change.

5 don’ts  

  • Don’t roll them up to put on or take off. This will create a tight band which can restrict your circulation as well as being very painful.
  • Don’t wear at night. Unless your doctor has specifically advised to. When we are lying down, we are in a nice neutral position which supports blood flow. Having your legs above your heart level, supports blood flow so you could pop a couple of pillows under your feet.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals to wash the stockings, these can be harmful to the skin and the material
  • Avoid lotions, creams and oils on the skin prior to getting dressed – it’s better to apply moisturiser in the evening. Applying a little talc can make it smoother to pull up.
  • Don’t alter/cut the compression stockings. They are graduated, meaning the compression is strongest at the foot/ankle and gets lighter as you progress up the leg. Cutting off the foot area may cause them to roll up & become uncomfortable.

Putting on compression stocking is not easy. Here is a short video we have made to help you, using the Ezy-on:

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Independence in everyday life

Personal independence is a boost to our confidence – taking actions, do things without having to wait for support or permission from someone else. Having confidence in ourselves with the knowledge that you can do things on your own. Getting older should not stop that.

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Less reliance on others

Whilst we don’t always want to have to make choices for ourselves or the confidence to go through challenges in life without somebody by our side, it is extremely empowering to know you are in control of your own life and your own choices. Maintaining personal independence is not only a question of self-dignity.

Being emotionally dependent can be stressful too. A small investment in you can enable you to be able to make the most of your personal decisions yourself.

Being independent can also make decision making easier too. Making choices on how you manage everyday living to not hold you back. Setting personal independence as your goal.

As we get older, we need to learn how to make the best decisions that allow us to live our lives the way we want to, and without being a burden to others.

Is your current lifestyle how you want your independent living

As a child we are developing independence from the moment of birth. At just a couple months old, a baby will attempt to gain mobility, and with time, develop from crawling to walking, to running!

Conversely, the natural effects of aging can sometimes make independent living harder than it once was. You may have lived with a physical health condition for some time, your health may be getting worse or you may have recently received a diagnosis.

Physical health conditions can impact our mental health too.

Mental well-being – it’s not just your age

Our mental health affects how we think and feel, and how we cope with life’s ups and downs.

Over the weeks and months of this year, we’ve all been spending a lot more time at home and apart from our family and friends. This has meant big changes to our normal routines. Difficulties with health and mobility as well as loneliness and isolation can contribute to a loss of independence & well-being.

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What obstacles do you have to overcome to maintain how you live today?

Activities of daily living include eating, toileting, bathing, getting dressed – essential for independent survival.

Higher function activities include cooking, managing medications, managing finances, housework and home maintenance (inside and outside) – to maintain independence within our own homes.

Living alone, with a loved one or caring for family members can all impact how you live today.

Now’s the time to get the checklist out, make a plan and starting ticking off each one – empowerment is a powerful feeling as much as your independence.

Practical life – developing independence in everyday life

It can be hard to find the time and energy to work on greater independence, but it’s definitely worthwhile. It’s time to increase your independent living skills, knowing that you are putting your long-term well-being first.

Getting dressed gets us up and moving. Feel better in yourself, changes mindset, naturally increases what we do in a day – it’s a good habit, and yet a small step that can make a big difference every day.

Sports injury, pregnancy, fall or back problems may just be some of the reasons this can be a struggle. Arthritis, illness or surgery may start to restrict our function and just make it difficult to do what we always used to be able to do.

Maintaining balance a challenge? How about trying these:

1 Sit down when getting dressed

Choose a chair with firm support and arms. Sitting on the edge of the bed can be a little unsteady. You may have a footstool to sit on or put your clothes on to avoid bending down to pick up.

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2 Hold on to something sturdy for support when standing to pull up pants.

Many of us find it easy to get off balance doing this move. When standing up, your legs are your base of support – try to keep them hip width apart as this will give you more stability.

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Remember fall prevention means injury prevention too. Did you know, over 82% of customers who buy a Helping Hand Reacher/Grabber, will use it for dressing!

Falling as we get older is quite common, and although most falls don’t cause serious injury they can leave us feeling quite distressed. The good news is there are lots of things you can do to stay steady on your feet – for more information, ready another of our helpful guides – Avoiding falls

Recovering from a stroke can reduced function on one side restrict your ability to bend, stretch, change position? Have you thought about:

1 Altering your existing clothing to make easier to get on and off

– Change smaller buttons to shaped buttons that are easier to hold
– Replace buttons with Velcro
– Remember, not all buttons need to be undone to get clothes on and off

2 Refresh your wardrobe but not your style

– It is much easier today to find clothing with elastic waistbands. Quick and easy to pull on without fiddly zippers or buttons.
– Avoid back fastening and tight-fitting garments.
– Be aware of too loose or long trailing clothes that might catch on door handles or trip you up.
Check out the lovely clothing range available from Able 2 Wear

3 If one arm or leg has more stiffness, lead with this limb first, using your stronger side to help getting dressed.

Getting undressed, simply reverse, starting with your stronger side.

Recovering from a stroke, you may have adapted how you get dress using just one hand. We’ve put together a collection of helpful products especially for you, click here.

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4 Well fitted and supportive shoes are so important to help you walk and there are many different types and styles of footwear.

– Slip-on shoes and trainers with no fastenings.
– Upcycle your favourite leather shoes, convert standard laces to those that are elasticated, you do not need to buy new shoes.
– Socks may be comfortable but they do present a slip risk. Avoid walking on slippery floors in socks or tights.
– If shoes are uncomfortable to wear all the time, look out for non-slip socks that have grips on the soles of the feet.

Help getting dressed – here’s a few ideas on how you can work together as a team:

– Get your clothes ready for getting dressed – can the person helping you do up some of the buttons of a blouse or cardigan so you can slip over your head yourself.

– Talk about what your plans for the following day to choose what to wear. Before bedtime, lay out your clothes in readiness. Putting them in the right order and right side out will be a great help too. Start the day with your best foot forward!

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– Allow yourselves plenty of time. Hurrying can be painful and confusing for everyone involved. And make sure there is plenty of light to see what you are both doing.

It may be something as simple as struggling to put on your socks, coat or shoes, or reaching for a jar from the cupboard, but the frustrations these basic challenges create can waste time and energy which would be much better spent enjoying your life.

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We’re here to help you help yourself and keep living life to the full. No one works harder to make daily living easier.