Doctors recommend wearing leg compression garments for a variety of lower extremity medical problems because it can provide the appropriate compression to your legs to help circulate blood up and out of the legs and feet. If your doctor prescribes wearing leg compression apparel, it is important to understand how to properly wear and take care of it. Here are some great tips to keep in mind when wearing leg compression apparel.
DO measure your legs carefully before buying leg compression apparel. Choosing the wrong size of compression apparel can make the user uncomfortable and may not provide the appropriate medical benefits of compression. For leg compression to be comfortable and effective it is best to get accurate size measurements of your legs.
DO care for and wash your leg compression apparel every day. Most medical practitioners recommend using your compression apparel daily in order to receive the maximum benefits, so the apparel should be washed daily as well. This is not only for the purpose of personal hygiene, but to also extend the life of the apparel. Due to long hours of use, it stretches to fit the legs and washing them will help maintain the apparel's original shape.
DO use a stocking aid to put on your leg compression apparel, such as a donning glove or stocking donner. It reduces the chance that the apparel will snag from a fingernail, acts as a safeguard from overstretching one side and provides extra grip which makes it easier to wear.
DO wear your leg compression apparel first thing in the morning because that's when your legs and feet will be least swollen. This also makes it easier to slip on because your legs won't be swollen to a larger size and you won't experience any unpleasant tightness from the size difference.
DO change your leg compression apparel every four (4) to six (6) months because all types of elasticity will eventually break down from daily usage. One indication that your compression apparel needs to be replaced is when it begins to sag or becomes too easy to put on feeling like a regular stocking or sock.
DON’T roll the leg compression apparel when putting them on and taking them off because rolling creates a tight band on a certain part of the apparel that can hinder circulation and cause soreness. This can also cause changes in the graduated compression from the unnecessary stretching caused by rolling them up.
DON’T wear leg compression apparel at night when sleeping because the legs are already in a neutral position when lying down and already allows for normalized blood flow. It is not necessary to wear while sleeping unless your condition is really severe. Instead, elevate your legs with a couple of pillows to get the legs above heart level. This position can facilitate regular blood flow by utilizing gravity rather than fighting against it.
DON’T use chlorine or bleach on your compression apparel when cleaning them because it can damage the apparel's elastic fibers due to the harsh chemicals present in bleach.
DON’T wring out compression apparel when drying because the forceful actions like wringing and scrubbing can damage the apparel. To remove excess water, just ball it up and squeeze gently.
DON’T make alterations to your compression apparel because cutting any part of the compression apparel can damage and obstruct the performance of the apparel and can even cause problems rather than provide relief. Each compression garment is threaded in a special way to achieve a certain gradient compression level to provide proper support.
Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. Please contact a licensed physician for a proper diagnosis of your specific case.