Weaning compression stockings is medically necessary for patients who have serious circulation problems in their feet and legs. Compression socks are often made of nylon or lycra blends and have elasticity built in to help the blood flow better than the feet up through the calves. In order to do their job, these support socks need to fit snugly, so they are not as easy to put on as regular socks. Their soft, slippery surface feels good on tired legs, but can create challenges pulling them on for those without a strong grip or hand dexterity. There are several products available to help make it easier to don compression socks. Which method to use is generally a matter of personal preference and ease, depending on the patient.
The compression stocking material is sometimes slick, so the hands and fingers need extra grip. Donning gloves provide just that. Some are made of rubber, while others are made of cotton blends and dipped in latex. Some are latex-free. Regardless of the type of fabric used, donning gloves provide traction. They frequently have textured fingertips and palms for added grip. These gloves are typically manufactured by the same companies that make compression garments.
Donning devices are made of hard plastic or metal and shaped like a taco shell. Stockings are slipped over the donner to the heel pocket. The foot is then placed inside the open sock and the device is removed, leaving the stocking on the foot. Some donning devices are specifically designed for patients with bandages, sores or skin conditions to avoid rubbing and sliding against the fabric. Most types can be used for both open-toe and closed-toe models. These come in different sizes to suit the patient, and some have extra handle accessories.
Fitting Lotions and Sprays
Skin lubricant gives compression stockings a soft surface to slide over, making it easy to pull on the support socks. They come in lotions and sprays, depending on the brand. Some are hypo-allergenic. The fitting solution is applied to the leg just before donning the stocking.
Slides are used in open-toe compression stockings. The foot is slipped into the cone-shaped slide, with the toes at the pointed end. The support stocking is rolled into place over the slick slide material. The slide is then folded out through the open toe. These come in different sizes and some are machine washable.
Sometimes assistance is needed to take the garments off, as well. Donning gloves help them to slide down. When the heel area is cumbersome, donning devices designed for putting them on and taking them off are effective. Some types are designed for removal only.