Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Compression Stockings: How to Use Them

Compression Stockings: How to Use Them

Overview

Compression stockings:

  • Help improve blood flow.
  • Help keep blood from pooling in the legs.
  • Help relieve symptoms caused by varicose veins, skin ulcers, and deep vein thrombosis.
  • Help prevent problems caused by things like skin ulcers.
  • Will help the most if you wear them every day while you're awake, especially while you're on your feet.

Specially fitted compression stockings are tight at the feet with a gradually looser fit on the leg. Because there are different types, it's best to use the kind that your doctor recommends and that work best for you.

How do you use compression stockings?

How do you use compression stockings?

Compression stockings can be a part of your daily routine. If they fit right, they should be snug but comfortable.

It's best to wear them all the time, unless you are bathing or sleeping. Plan on replacing your stockings every 4 to 6 months.

At first, putting on a pair of compression stockings can be tricky. But with some practice, you'll find what works for you. Here are some tips.

  • Hand-wash new stockings after you buy them.

    It will make them more flexible and easier to put on. Consider buying a second pair, if you can afford it. That way, you'll have a clean pair to wear while you wash the other.

  • Put a dressing on any open wound before putting on the compression stockings.
  • Keep your stockings by your bed.

    Then you can put them on when you first get up.

  • Put them on early in the morning.

    This is when you have the least swelling in your legs.

    1. Sit in a chair with a back. This gives you something to lean against as you put on the stockings.
    2. Hold the top of the stocking with one hand. Then with your other hand, reach inside the stocking and push your arm all the way in until you reach the end and can grab the toe.
    3. When you have a firm grip on the toe, pull your hand back up through the stocking, turning it inside out, but leaving the tips of your fingers in the toe of the stocking.
    4. Put your toes into the toe of the stocking, and gently roll and slide it back over your heel. Then use your finger tips or palms to slowly roll and slide the stocking all the way up your leg.

    Be careful not to grab and pull at the top of the stocking, because that can cause it to rip or tear.

  • Wear rubber gloves to help you grip the fabric, if you need to.
  • Put silicone lotion (such as ALPS) or talcum powder on your legs.

    This will help the stockings slide on. If your stockings contain latex, or you aren't sure if they contain latex, do not use other types of lotions or creams on your legs when you wear the stockings. You may use other lotions or creams when you are not wearing the stockings.

  • Try a silk "slip sock" if you use toeless stockings.

    It helps the stocking slide over your foot, and then pulls off through the toe after the stocking is on. You can get one at a medical supply store.

  • Try a "stocking butler."

    It's a metal device that holds the stocking open while you step into it. Try one before you buy one, though. They can be hard to use.

  • Ask for help.

    Talk to your doctor or the certified fitter at your medical supply store, especially if you have a disability that makes it hard to put the stockings on.

Call your doctor if your toes get numb or painful or turn dark while you are wearing compression stockings.

Explore more

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details