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How to put on surgical stockings

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Learn how to put on surgical stockings correctly to aid your leg health

Learn how to put on surgical stockings correctly to aid your leg health

Why in the world would you need to know how to put on surgical stockings? Surgical stocking is another name for compression stocking, which both men and women wear when suffering from circulatory problems or tired legs.

This hosiery is worn during surgical procedures and usually right afterwards because it improves circulation and treats circulatory irregularities in the legs.

How Do You Get The Darned Things On?

When putting on surgical hose, forgo the lotion or anything causing the skin to become sticky. Put them on as soon as you rise in the morning, which prevents leg swelling. 

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Applying a thin layer of powder or cornstarch to the leg minimizes friction, making it easy to get them on. 

Some find it helpful to war rubber gloves while putting on the hosiery. The gloves give you more gripping power and eliminate tears and rips caused by fingernails. Knee high stockings are pulled up to approximately two finer-widths beneath the groove at the back of the knee. Pull thigh length hose up to roughly two finger-widths beneath the groin area. 

You can also purchase a sock puller-upper that makes it easy to reach and pull on your socks. 

The hosiery lasts between three and four months. Over time, they do lose elasticity. If they are getting easier to get on, sad to say but this may mean it is time to replace them with a new pair.

All About Compression Socks 

Compression hose are graduated. They do not have the same degree of elasticity along the entire length of the leg. They are tighter at the ankle, which makes them hard to put on. It’s comparable to wiggling into a pair of Spanx. 

Gradient compression means the greatest amount of compression takes place at the ankle. There is less compression as the hosiery journeys up the leg 

The degree of compression issued by the hosiery is measured in millimeters of mercury. For instance, Knee-Hi RX support 40-50 mmHg provide the greatest compression. The next firmest compression is is 20-30 mmHg worn by those who have just had surgery or suffer from moderate edema, leg ulcers or varicose veins. The lightest compression is 8-15, 12-16 or 15-20 mmHg, worn by those plagued with tired, achy legs, such as nurses.


TED Hose

TED hose, also known as Thrombo-Embolic Deterrent Hose are worn by those who are not ambulatory (confined to bed or a wheelchair) and post-surgically to prevent blooding of blood, which can lead to a clot. These hose have the highest compression level at the calf, which is where blood tends to pool in the non-ambulatory. The compression level is at or below 20 mmHg (millimeters of Mercury.)


Older people frequently have poor circulation and benefit from compression hosiery. When blood circulation is meager, cells are robbed of oxygen and nutrients. If a person already has poor circulation when he starts wearing gradient socks, the hosiery slows down the advancement of this condition. Pregnant women benefit from wearing  this hosiery.

Circulatory Problems

Individuals want, and need to, avoid edema (swelling,) deep vein thrombosis and phlebitis. When swelling occurs, fluid gathers in tissue or a body cavity. A person may have pitting edema, which means indentations from pressure or even from socks show up in the part of the blood that is swollen, or non-pitting edema, where there is no indentation created in the skin as a result of swelling.

Phlebitis, another condition, refers to an inflamed vein. Thrombosis is the result of a blood clot that creates an obstruction. Clots take place when blood congeals, becoming a gummy mass inside an artery or vein. When a clot splits from an artery or vein it travels through the body and this can prove fatal.

If a person is a frequent flier or is at risk for blood clots, socks of this nature are imperative. The compression allows blood to move freely and deeper which makes blood clotting less likely. Blood clots can be deadly. Hosiery of this nature is worn by those with debilitated veins, who need to counteract the force of gravity on compromised veins.


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