How Long Should You Wear Compression Socks?

Painful, swollen legs, varicose veins and blood clots, diabetes care management; no matter the reason, if you use compression socks, you want to make sure that you are wearing them properly in order to reap the full benefits that they can provide – and to avoid the potential risks that can be associated with improper wear.

In addition to ensuring that you are wearing the appropriate size and compression level, you also want to be sure that you are wearing your compression socks the right amount of time. Should you wear them all day, every day? Should you wear them for just a few hours each day? Should they be worn all day or a few hours a day, but just a few days a week? The amount of time you should wear compression socks depends on several factors. Read on to find out some basic recommendations so that you can be certain that you are using your compression stockings in a safe and effective manner.

How Long Should You Wear Compression Socks?

What Are Compression Socks?

Just for a quick review, compression socks are therapeutic garments. They are made of durable, synthetic materials, such as nylon or Lycra, and they are constructed in such a way that they apply graduated pressure to the legs. Generally, the pressure is more intense at the ankles and decreases as the socks move up the legs. They’re available in an assortment of styles, such as ankle-, knee-, thigh-, and waist-high, and closed-toe, open-toe, and open-foot, as well as different compression levels, which can range from mild to super-firm prescription strength.

The pressure that compression socks apply to the legs helps to promote proper circulation and supports the veins in the legs. As a result, they can help to prevent and treat a variety of conditions, such as:

  • Pain and swelling prevention and reduction.
  • Varicose vein support and prevention.
  • Blood clot and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) prevention.
  • Reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes.
  • Reduced risk of health conditions that can be associated with poor circulation, such as kidney disease and liver damage.
  • Treatment and prevention of shin splints.
  • Treatment and prevention of plantar fasciitis.
  • Treatment and prevention of lymphedema.
  • Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) reduction.

These are just some of the benefits that compression socks can provide, and these benefits have been proven by numerous studies.

How Long Can I Wear Compression Socks?

Technically speaking, you can wear compression socks all day, every day (with the exception of while you are sleeping), so long as you are wearing them properly; you’re wearing the right size and compression level. With that said, however, the amount of time that compression socks should be worn varies from person to person and depends on the specific purpose for using them, as well as the overall health and well-being of the individual wearer. It’s best to speak with a healthcare professional to determine how long you should wear your compression stockings each day. Your doctor will perform a thorough assessment of your condition and will make appropriate recommendations, not only regarding the type and compression level of the compression socks you should wear, but also regarding the length of time you should wear the hosiery.

No matter how long your doctor advises you to wear your compression socks, it’s best to put them on as soon as possible after waking up. The reason for this is the legs are the least swollen upon rising, so they will be easier to put on. The longer you wait to put them on, the more your legs will swell, and as a result, putting on your compression socks will become more of a challenge. If you do not want to or are advised not to put compression socks on until later in the day, laying down with your legs elevated for at least 15 minutes before putting them on is highly recommended, as doing so will help to alleviate any swelling, thus making it easier to put the stockings on.

How Long Should You Wear Compression Socks?

Should You Wear Compression Socks to Bed?

While yes, you can safely wear compression socks all day, they should never be worn to bed. Wearing these therapeutic garments while you are sleeping can increase the risk of injuries in the form of abrasions and bruises. In severe cases, if the stockings are too tight and they are worn while you are sleeping, there is a chance that you could end up cutting off circulation to your legs, which can lead to a whole host of serious problems.

In order to avoid the potential problems mentioned above, always make sure you remove your compression stockings before going to sleep.

How to Put On and Take Off Compression Socks

Putting on compression socks is actually a bit more challenging than it may appear. Why? – Well, because while they may look like similar socks, the materials that they are made of are extremely thick and durable, which can make putting the socks on a bit of a challenge.

In order to improve your success with putting on compression socks, here are some simple solutions that you can use:

  • Place your hand and arm into the compression sock and grab the heel.
  • Turn the top of the sock inside out so that there is a little pocket for your foot.
  • Place your toes into the sock so that they are situated properly in the foot.
  • Wiggle your toes and foot until your natural heel lines up with the heel of the socks.
  • Once the socks are in place, grab hold of the cuff and pull them up.
  • Smooth out the sock, making sure that there aren’t any wrinkles in the material, as doing so will ensure the consistent application of pressure.
  • Do not fold down or roll the cuff of the socks; make sure the top of the sock is positioned where it is supposed to be located.

Final Thoughts About Compression Socks

Compression stockings can provide a wealth of benefits. By ensuring you are wearing the appropriate socks and that you are wearing them properly, you will be able to reap the many advantages that these specialized support garments can provide. 

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