Compression Stockings: The Benefits, the Do’s and the Don’ts

Compression stockings have been used for years to aid in recovery and management of many medical diagnoses. You may need compression stockings if you are pregnant, travelling, have varicose insufficiency, ulcers or lymphedema. Wearing compression stockings promotes venous flow when you are sitting or standing for long periods of time which in turn prevents swelling. Compression stockings are classified by their gradient of pressure 15-20mmHg, 20-30mmHg, 30-40mmHg and 40-50mmHg. Your doctor will decide which level of compression your particular situation requires.

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When you come in to your local Nightingale store you will be greeted by a fitter that will take your prescription and measure your legs.  Having a proper fitting stocking is key to good leg health and prevention of swelling. Your fitter will show you a variety of compression stockings in different styles and colors so you are bound to find something that you like. Once you have selected your pair, they will assist you in trying them on.

When putting on a compression stocking you don’t want to roll it up. Rolling up a compression stocking creates a tight band on the leg that can cut off circulation to the limb. Sliding your foot into the stocking and slowly working the sock up the leg with the pads of your fingers, not your nails, is one of the most effective ways of putting on compression stockings. Wearing donning gloves while adjusting your stockings is also recommended to avoid snagging your sock with your nails, and to help even out the compression to prevent any wrinkling of the stocking. Wrinkling of the stocking can cause extra pressure in that particular area of the leg. Other donning tools that are available include the Stocking Butler and the Easy Slide shown below. When taking off your compression stockings it is easiest to take the stocking off inside out instead of sliding it down into a bunch at the ankle.

Putting your stockings on first thing in the morning is the most effective way to ensure that your leg conditions will be alleviated during your daily activities. Be sure that before donning your stockings your heels are smooth and your toe nails are trimmed to avoid putting snags and holes in your new stockings. Compression stockings are not to be worn when you are sleeping or laying down unless your doctor specifies you to do so. When you are laying down you are in a horizontal position that regulates blood flow without the use of stockings.

You will need to wash or rinse your compression stockings after every wear to ensure that your stockings have returned to their original form to contain your swelling and provide the true compression needed. When washing your stockings, pay attention to the cleaners you use, as any products containing bleach will effect the integrity of the elastic in your stockings. To dry your stockings, you can roll them up in a towel to drain the excess water and then hang to dry.  Using the dryer is not recommended with compression garments as it can damage the elastic.

If you properly care for your stockings you should only have to replace them every 6 months. Nightingale Medical provide FREE fittings with certified compression fitters, contact us today to make an appointment at  We look forward to helping you on your journey to happy and healthy legs.