How to put on thigh-high compression socks?

How to put on thigh-high compression socks?

Muhammad Saleem Shahzad


Compression socks, particularly thigh-high variants, have garnered significant attention for their health benefits and practical use in various settings. They are designed to promote blood circulation, reduce swelling, and alleviate pain in the legs. This detailed exploration will delve into what thigh-high compression socks are, their advantages, the ideal candidates for their use, and tips for selecting the right pair, focusing on compression levels, material, and fit.

What are Thigh-High Compression Socks?

Thigh-high compression socks are specialized hosiery designed to apply gradual pressure to the legs, extending from the feet to the thighs. Unlike traditional socks, they are engineered to support the venous and lymphatic systems, enhancing blood flow back to the heart and reducing fluid retention. This type of compression garment is a critical tool in preventing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), managing varicose veins, and supporting overall leg health.

Benefits of Wearing Thigh-High Compression Socks

The benefits of wearing thigh-high compression socks are manifold. Primarily, they help in improving circulation, which is pivotal for individuals who stand or sit for prolonged periods. By promoting better blood flow, these socks mitigate the risk of swelling and fatigue in the legs. They also play a crucial role in speeding up recovery after exercise by reducing muscle soreness and improving lactate clearance. Furthermore, for those with specific medical conditions like lymphedema or venous insufficiency, thigh-high compression socks offer significant symptomatic relief.

Who Should Wear Them?

Thigh-high compression socks are beneficial for a wide array of individuals. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts often wear them to enhance performance and recovery. People with occupations that require standing or sitting for extended periods can find relief from leg discomfort and swelling. Additionally, patients recovering from surgery, those with venous disorders, or pregnant women experiencing swelling and varicose veins are prime candidates for these compression garments. It's important to consult a healthcare professional to determine if thigh-high compression socks are suitable for your specific needs.

Choosing the Right Thigh-High Compression Socks

Selecting the appropriate thigh-high compression socks involves several considerations to ensure maximum benefit and comfort. It's crucial to choose the right level of compression, which is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The material of the socks should be breathable and durable, providing both comfort and effective compression. Additionally, the fit is paramount; poorly fitting compression socks can either be ineffective or cause discomfort. Measuring your legs at specific points is essential for finding the right size.

Understanding Compression Levels

Compression levels are fundamental to the functionality of thigh-high compression socks. They range from mild (8-15 mmHg) to extra firm (30-40 mmHg) compression. Mild compression is suitable for daily wear to alleviate tired, aching legs, while moderate to firm levels are recommended for those with or at risk of venous disorders. Selecting the appropriate compression level requires understanding your individual needs and, in many cases, consultation with a healthcare provider.

Material and Fit

The material of thigh-high compression socks should offer elasticity, breathability, and durability. Common materials include nylon, spandex, and microfiber, each providing a different level of comfort and compression. The fit is equally important; socks should be snug but not overly tight, with uniform compression throughout. Accurate measurements of the ankle, calf, and thigh are critical for selecting the correct size to ensure the socks perform their intended function without causing discomfort or circulatory issues.

Preparation Before Putting on Compression Socks

Before attempting to put on thigh-high compression socks, it's essential to prepare properly to ensure a smooth process and effective fit. This preparation involves ensuring that the skin is dry and free from lotions or oils, as these can make it more challenging to apply the socks and may degrade the material. It's also helpful to check that the socks are right-side-out and free from wrinkles or folds that could affect compression.

Best Time to Wear Them

The optimal time to don compression socks is in the morning, right after getting out of bed. This timing is crucial because the legs are least swollen in the morning, making the socks easier to put on and more comfortable to wear throughout the day. Wearing them from the start of the day maximizes the benefits of improved circulation and swelling prevention.

Using Donning Gloves and Other Aids

Donning gloves, made from rubber or a similar grip-enhancing material, can significantly ease the process of putting on thigh-high compression socks. These gloves provide a better grip on the fabric, allowing for more precise control and less effort when pulling the socks up. Other aids, such as donning devices, can also be helpful, especially for individuals with mobility issues or those who find it challenging to reach their feet and lower legs.

Step-by-Step Guide to Putting on Thigh-High Compression Socks

Step 1: Hand Positioning

The initial step involves correctly positioning your hands to grab the sock. Insert your hand into the sock and grasp the toe. Then, while holding the toe, turn the sock inside out up to the heel, creating a "pocket" that makes it easier to slide your foot in.

Step 2: Rolling or Folding Method

Once the sock is partially inside out, place your foot into the toe pocket and ensure your heel aligns with the sock's heel. The rolling or folding method can then be employed: for the rolling method, gently roll the sock upwards over your leg; for the folding method, fold the sock back on itself, pull it up over the foot and calf, then unfold it upwards over the thigh.

Step 3: Pulling Up the Sock

Carefully pull the sock up your leg, making sure to distribute the fabric evenly from the foot to the thigh. Avoid pulling too hard at any one point, which can cause the sock to stretch out or tear. Instead, gently work the sock up in stages, ensuring that there are no wrinkles or folds and that the compression is evenly distributed.

Step 4: Adjusting for Comfort and Fit

Once the sock is fully on, adjustments may be necessary to ensure optimal comfort and fit. Smooth out any wrinkles and make sure the sock sits evenly on the leg, with no bunching or sagging. The top of the thigh-high sock should sit snugly against the thigh without digging into the skin. Proper adjustment is crucial to ensure the compression sock functions correctly, providing the intended level of pressure without restricting circulation.

Common Challenges and Solutions

Wearing thigh-high compression socks comes with its set of challenges, ranging from difficulties in putting them on to ensuring they stay in place throughout the day. Addressing these challenges effectively can enhance the comfort and therapeutic benefits of compression socks.

Dealing with Slippery Socks

One common issue is the socks becoming slippery, especially on smooth flooring. This can be mitigated by choosing socks with a textured sole or applying anti-slip grips to the bottom of the socks. Additionally, wearing shoes or slippers over the socks can provide extra traction and reduce the risk of slipping.

Adjusting Socks That Are Too Tight or Too Loose

Compression socks that fit too tightly can hinder circulation, while too loose socks may not provide adequate compression. If the socks feel too tight, ensure they are the correct size and compression level for your needs. Consultation with a healthcare professional can help in selecting the right product. For socks that are too loose, measuring your legs at the time of purchase to match the manufacturer's sizing chart can prevent this issue. If the socks stretch out over time, replacing them may be necessary to maintain the benefits.

Maintenance and Care

Washing and Drying

Compression socks should be washed after each use to remove body oils and sweat that can degrade the fabric. Hand washing in warm water with mild soap is recommended, though some may be machine washable on a gentle cycle. Avoid using fabric softeners or bleach, as these can damage the elastic fibers. After washing, gently squeeze out excess water and lay the socks flat to dry away from direct heat and sunlight. Do not wring them out, as this can stretch the fabric.

When to Replace Them

Over time, the elastic fibers in compression socks lose their elasticity, reducing their effectiveness. Generally, it's recommended to replace thigh-high compression socks every three to six months, depending on their wear and care. Signs that it's time to replace them include noticeable stretching, fabric thinning, loss of compression, or if the socks no longer stay up as they should.


Thigh-high compression socks are a valuable tool for managing various health conditions, improving circulation, and reducing leg fatigue. However, ensuring a proper fit, dealing with common challenges, and maintaining the socks properly are essential for reaping the maximum benefits. By addressing issues such as slipperiness, fit, and maintaining a consistent care routine, users can enhance their experience with compression socks. Regular assessment and timely replacement are also critical to maintaining the therapeutic effectiveness of these garments. Ultimately, with the right approach, thigh-high compression socks can significantly contribute to leg health and comfort.

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This article was written by Muhammad Saleem Shahzad, Managing Editor of Fashion and Manufacturing. With more than a decade of experience in the Fashion industry, Muhammad reports on breaking news and provides analysis and commentary on all things related to fashion, clothing and manufacturing.