Using Compression Socks – Quick Tips!

Wearing compression socks and stockings (or travel socks) is one of the best ways to maximise the health of your legs and their blood vessels during long periods of sitting, like during flights or following surgery, or for people who spend a lot of time on their feet. They are scientifically proven to assist in the prevention of deep vein thrombosis, to relieve tired, achy legs, and to help prevent varicose veins, ulcers, and fluid retention (cankles) in the lower legs.

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Compression socks are, by their nature, required to be tight – but not uncomfortable. The fit should be firm but not restrictive. Follow these guidelines for wearing your compression socks or stockings:

  • Only ever wear graduated compression stockings or sock to bed if advised to by a doctor
  • Purchase your travel socks from a reputable supplier or a pharmacist
  • Put your compression socks on first thing in the morning, when your legs are at their smallest (that is, with the least amount of swelling)
  • Applying a little talcum powder to the bare leg may make it easier to pull the socks up
  • The fabric of the sock should be distributed over the leg evenly, without wrinkles, and not pulled tight at the top
  • Ensure seams are straight and the heel is positioned properly
  • Never fold the top band over – this will restrict the flow of blood to and from your legs
  • If you ever experience tingling of the foot or toes while wearing compression socks, remove them promptly and seek advice from your doctor or a pharmacist
  • Try wearing rubber gloves to put your stockings on – it will help ensure nails and rings don’t snag on the fabric
  • Never dry your travel socks in a clothes dryer – always wash according to instructions and air dry naturally

Who Should Wear Compression Socks?

  • Anyone flying for longer than three hours
  • Smokers
  • Overweight persons
  • Women aged over 35 who take the oral contraceptive pill
  • Previous clotting issues or DVT
  • Have cancer
  • Are pregnant or up to 6 weeks post partum
  • Recent surgery
  • Aged over 60
  • Have varicose veins

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Graduated compression travel socks are designed to be firm and supportive. They are not meant to be easy to put on – so be patient and persevere. Once on, you’ll know they fit correctly when they feel supportive but do not cause discomfort.