All You Need to Know About How to Put on Compression Socks

How to put on compression socks

After spending hours meticulously picking out the best compression socks, you’re delighted to see they’ve finally arrived. Once you open the box and admire your new footwear, you realize you have … absolutely no idea how to put these things on. 

Should you just force your foot inside and yank them up? Do you roll them up? And why are they so tight?

If you’re finding yourself wondering how to put on compression socks, we’ve got great news for you — donning compression socks is simple once you get the hang of it. And trust us when we say you’re not alone. Many people purchase compression socks without realizing they should be put on in a specific way to function correctly. 

Today, we’ll take a look at what you need to know before you pull up your new hosiery — and more specifically, what not to do. We’ll also provide a step-by-step guide for how to put on compression socks (hint: it’s not like regular socks) and how to remove them at the end of the day.

Why Would I Need to Wear Compression Stockings?

Before we dig into how to put on compression stockings, let’s address why you should wear them in the first place. If you’ve heard of compression socks but aren’t sure if you should wear them, check out a few reasons why someone might wear these tight-fitting socks:

  • Reduce muscle soreness and enhance muscle recovery after exercise
  • Decrease the likelihood of blood clots, leg pain, edema (swelling), and fatigue
  • Improve overall circulation caused by the following conditions:
    • Diabetes
    • Recent surgery
    • Pregnancy
    • Varicose veins
    • Vasculitis or inflamed blood vessels
    • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in lower legs)
  • Boost circulation when you’re on your feet most of the day or when you fly

Many people find that wearing compression stockings just feels good. Their soft texture and impressive list of benefits make them a welcome leg covering for even the toughest convert.

What You Need to Know Before Putting on Compression Socks

Before you go to put on your sweet new socks, there are a few things to keep in mind. As you may have heard, compression socks are notoriously difficult to put on because of their tightness and thickness. But don’t let that intimidate you or get in the way of you wearing them. 

The following tips can ensure your compression socks glide on smoothly and easily:

  • Make sure your compression socks are sized correctly. Ill-fitting socks don’t work properly. Too loose, and they can’t give your legs enough compression to benefit you. Too tight, and they can cut off circulation. Also, if they’re too short, they can’t work effectively, and if they’re too long, they can bunch, which causes poor circulation. Always refer to a sizing chart or get specially fitted for a proper fit. If you use a sizing chart, measure your leg at the ankle, the largest part of your calf, and from your heel to your knee. Tip: Measure your feet in the morning when they aren’t yet swollen.
  • Have clean and dry legs. It’s much harder to pull up compression socks over lotion-covered or wet skin. Begin with clean legs. You can even sprinkle some cornstarch, talcum powder, or baby powder on your legs to achieve a smooth, dry surface.
  • Reduce leg swelling prior to applying your compression socks. If your legs are already swollen, elevate them above the level of your heart for 10 minutes before putting your socks on to reduce swelling. 

Wearing your compression garments regularly and most (importantly) correctly improves your circulation and reduces swelling so you can do the things you love to do without your legs feeling uncomfortable. Now, let’s see exactly how to put on compression socks.

How to Put on Compression Socks Properly

How to put on compression socks: Woman pulling up compression stockings

Once you’re ready to put on your compression socks, grab your socks and get started.

1. Find a Cozy Spot

Either sit on a chair or on the floor to begin. If your legs are prone to swelling, you can also elevate them on a stool or pillow. Avoid putting on your compression socks while standing, or you risk falling over or not getting a correct fit.

2. Place Your Hand in the Compression Sock

Next, place your hand inside the stocking and slide it down to the foot. The foot and heel of the sock should be on the palm of your hand.

3. Fold the Compression Sock Down

Now that your hand is inside the sock, use your thumb to hold it in place. Then, pull the top of the stocking that’s on your upper arm towards the toe of the sock. Folding over the sock turns the top of the sock inside out. Stop folding when you reach the palm of your hand and the sock makes a sock puppet on your hand.

4. Slip Your Foot Into the Compression Sock

At this point, you should carefully slide the folded sock off your hand. Then, grab the sock with two hands and slip your foot into the sock until your toes and heel are positioned correctly inside. 

5. Glide the Compression Sock Up

Gently and slowly pull and roll the sock up over your ankle and calf. Avoid pulling the sock up by the top band, or you risk ripping the sock. Instead, grab by the area just below the top band. 

Putting on your compression socks should be a relatively smooth process that doesn’t include tugging, yanking, or forcing. Taking your time also reduces bunching, which makes the socks harder to pull up.

Once you have them pulled up, ensure they’re about two finger-widths below the knee for knee-high socks. Remove any wrinkles or bunching by massaging the material to remove areas of excess pressure that can disrupt blood flow or circulation. This helps keep compression even throughout the entire sock.

Tips for How to Put on Compression Socks

Now that you know how to put on compression socks, let’s go over a few tips:

  • If needed, you may use a special compression stocking donner or doffing tool to help you put on and remove your socks.
  • Be sure your socks fit the shape of your foot to avoid bunching.
  • Promptly remove your compression socks if you feel pain or discomfort. They should feel snug but not painful.
  • Be sure your toes and heels align with the toe opening and heel pocket.
  • Always smooth out wrinkles and bunching.
  • To remove: Slowly glide the socks downwards and towards your foot by grabbing the fabric directly below the top band. 

In addition, don’t forget to wash your socks regularly and according to the package instructions. You might find some labels recommend a hand wash. Better yet, build an assortment of socks to avoid painful, swollen legs or re-wearing stinky socks.

Feel Confident in Compression Socks

Man hiking the mountainside while wearing compression socks

When it comes to how to put on compression socks, it’s all about refining your skills. Sure, it might take a few tries, but practice makes perfect. Just follow these instructions, and you’ll rock your new leg gear in no time. 

To enjoy the benefits of compression socks in style, check out some of our newest sock designs. At Cuvu, we’re focused on creating high-quality, comfortable, and stylish socks. Plus, all of our socks are all eco-friendly as they’re made from only sustainably sourced materials. 

To show your legs some love, shop Cuvu compression socks and find a few pairs that excite you. Your legs will thank you for it.