How to Care for Compression Garments

Lymphedema is an inflammatory disease that can affect all areas of the body but most commonly affects the arms or legs. Lymphedema can be caused by primary factors such as genetics, or secondary factors such as cancers and treatments, obesity and trauma. Treatment for lymphedema includes manual lymph drainage, exercise and wearing compression socks or compression garments such as arm sleeves, gloves or gauntlets.

If using compression socks or garments to treat lymphedema, here are some tips to take care of and utilize them properly:

  • Wash compression socks daily to reduce bacteria build up. Do not wring out the stocking or put them in the dryer. Simply hand wash and hang to dry. A good resource is the product care instructions that comes with your socks.
  • Replace your compression socks every three to four months to ensure they maintain the proper compression that reduces the complications of lymphedema. It is a good idea to be refitted for your compression socks every time you replace them. Nightingale Medical provides free fitting for compression socks by appointment.
  • If you are in a place with no air conditioning or during hot days, you can lightly wet your compression garment to help cool you down. Wear damp for a limited time, though, as prolonged wear can promote the growth of bacteria!
  • Swimming is great exercise for managing lymphedema, as it promotes the recirculation of lymph and reduces accumulation in affected tissues. Wearing compression socks or garments may not be necessary while swimming, since the hydrostatic pressure when underwater replaces the compression.  If you choose to wear it, however, keep the compressed area dry as much as possible by wrapping it in saran wrap or an umbrella bag, to help prevent deterioration from chlorine or saltwater.

Nightingale Medical carries a wide selection of compression garments to help manage lymphedema here. Get in touch with Nightingale here and book a free fitting appointment today!