Compression Stockings: 5 Tips For Putting Them On [Video Demonstrations]


The amazing invention of the compression stocking will do wonders to reduce the symptoms of a vein condition. Designed to help your legs improve circulation and blood flow, it’s easy to celebrate their simplicity...until you go to put them on. Quite a few people hopped around on one foot or laid down on their beds with a foot in the air, only to realize how tight they really are. They are designed to compress your leg veins, firmly but not painfully, and as such, can be a challenge to don. Here are 5 step-by-step guides, along with video demonstrations, for getting them on correctly so that you can wear them comfortably all day. For most people, the biggest challenge to putting the stockings on is getting them over the foot and ankle. The 5 methods listed below will help.

Tip #1: Wear Rubber Gloves

Our first suggestion, given their tightness and the need for grip strength, is to wear rubber gloves. Many of our patients find that wearing rubber house-cleaning gloves or surgical gloves makes it easier to grip the stockings and pull them on. If you are having trouble with the hand strength required to pull them on, you may want to this technique.



For the following tips, the videos are helpful guides, and we will demonstrate this for you in the clinic. Because we want you to be successful when you do it at home by yourself, we'll help you the first time so that you can practice it with our assistance before you leave. 


Tip #2: The Inverted Stocking Method

The Inverted Stocking Method can be done with either open or closed-toe stockings and is the process of turning the sock inside out until the heel of the sock is exposed. From there, it becomes easier to slide your foot and heel into the stocking, pulling a smaller portion of the stocking over your heel, and then sliding the rest of the stocking up your leg. Here's a step-by-step overview with a video demonstration below: 
  1. Put your hand inside the stocking, grab hold of the heel, and slowly begin to turn your stocking inside out. You’ll do so until the heel of the stocking appears in your hand.
  2. Next, you can either sit down or lay down. Flexing your foot, open up the mouth of the stocking and insert your toes into the stocking pulling it over your heel. 
  3. Now that it’s over the foot near the heel, pinch and pull...little by little...slowly working the stocking up. Make sure there aren’t any creases and that the stocking is smooth. Creases will increase pressure on a thin area and can cause discomfort.
  4. If your stocking is thigh-high, once you have the stocking at knee level, stand to pull the stocking the rest of the way up. 
  5. Double-check and make sure the stocking is smooth without any creases. 
  6. Make sure the heel of the stocking is over the heel to avoid pinching your feet.


Tip #3: Plastic bag method

Since the heel of your foot can be troublesome in getting compression stockings to easily slide over it, the next few tips offer suggestions for maneuvering that problem area. This top involves using a plastic bag and can be done with any plastic bag. Our demonstration video uses a Ziploc bag, but you can also use a grocery store bag - whatever you have on hand. The plastic provides a slick surface for the stocking to slide over. Keep in mind, these tips are only for open-toe you have to be able to remove the bag once the stocking is on your foot. Here's the step-by-step and the video follows:
  1. Place a plastic bag over your foot and above your ankle; the bag should be just large enough to cover both the foot and ankle.
  2. Pull on the stockings over the plastic bag, as it will slide smoothly into place.
  3. Adjust the stocking height so that the heel of the stocking matches your heel.
  4. Peel up the stocking back over the toes and ankle enough to allow the bag to be pulled out.
  5. Then pull the stocking back over the foot and ankle and adjust, making sure there are no creases. 
  6. Depending on how long your compression stockings are, you can pull the stocking up to your knee, and then stand to pull it the rest of the way up your leg if it's thigh-high.'


Tip #4: Stocking Over Socks Method

  1. This method can be done with either open or closed-toe stockings. Just know that with closed-toe stockings, you'll have 2 pairs of stockings on your feet, so select thin socks. 
  2. Put on a thin polyester sock to cover above the ankle, or choose a thin anklet sock, being sure to leave some space over the toes since the stocking tends to move it up and pull it a little tighter.
  3. Pull the stocking on over the sock. The presence of the sock provides a smoother so that it slides more easily over your foot and heel.
  4. Be sure to adjust both stockings to match heel to heel. 
  5. With toeless compression stockings, be sure to adjust your sock if needed to avoid any pinching on the toes. 


Tip #5: Stocking Butler method 

The stocking butler is an amazing little tool that makes the process work easily, providing assistance not just in helping get the stocking over your foot and heel, but also in pulling it up and into place on your leg. You can find stocking butlers and most pharmacies and general merchandise stores like Walmart or online in a range of price options. Stocking butlers can also be used easily with either open or closed-toe stockings. They are an excellent solution if you have poor hand or grip strength. Here is a step-by-step process for using a stocking butler with a demonstration video to follow:
  1. Sit down in a chair and place the stocking butler so that the inner section, with the outside handles on the right and left, and the inner section - shaped like a "C" - with the open part of the C facing away from you. For reference, your foot will eventually slide down into the middle section and your heel will sit against the back part of the "C."
  2. Lay the compression stocking, foot down in the inner part of the "C," pulling it down over the outside so that the stocking is inside-out. Keep pulling it down until the heel is exposed and is even with the top back of the middle of the butler.
  3. Insert your foot down into the middle of the stocking until your heel matches the placement of the heel on the butler. 
  4. Grabbing the two taller handles on either side, slowly pull the entire stocking butler up your leg. If you are wearing thigh-high stockings, you'll want to stand and pull the stocking past your knee on up your leg until it's in place and crease-free. 


Compression stockings should alleviate pain, not cause it. Monitor your stockings for comfort in the first few days you wear them. If they are pinching especially over your toes, feet, shin, ankles, or knees, they may be too small or pulled up too high.  Discuss any problems you may be having, as your vein care specialist will want to make sure you have the correct size and fit. Then, provided you’ve measured properly, they will fit snugly, but not pinch or cut off circulation.

Remember, for best results, you’ll want to wear them all day...from the moment you wake up in the morning to the time you go to bed at night. For more information, check out our Comprehensive Guide to Compression Stockings. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us for assistance. 


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