Putting on compression stockings can be a challenge especially if you have reduced strength or flexibility – even with help.
5 benefits of wearing compression socks:
- Improve venous return
- Prevent venous blood from pooling in the legs
- Decrease the risk of blood clots
- Lessen leg swelling
- 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.
How to use 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.
For best results, put on compression stockings first thing in the morning before you stand on your feet and begin moving. Moving around can cause swelling, at which point it may become harder to put on the stockings. Remember, that you’ll have to remove the stockings before showering.
Since compression stockings are elastic and tight, applying lotion to your skin before putting on the stockings can help the material glide up your leg. Make sure the lotion fully absorbs into your skin before attempting to put on the stockings.
Wear the stockings continuously throughout the day, and don’t remove it until bedtime.
Wash the stockings after each use with mild soap, and then air dry it. Replace your stockings every four to six months.