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In this weeks Topic, Eamonn completes his article on Compression Hosiery and offers tips on how to get the best out of your custom fitted stockings

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

How Compression Hosiery can help you?

Part 2


Last week I discussed rationale for compression stockings with includes varicose veins, swollen ankles and legs, leg ulcers and prevention of blood clots such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).


How to apply your compression stockings

It is best to apply compression stockings first thing in the morning, before getting out of bed (before legs begin to swell).

  1. Turn the stocking inside out up to the heel. If you are putting on open-toe stockings, place the slipper aid over the foot (slipper aids are provided in stocking box).
  2. Pull the foot of the stocking over your foot.
  3. Gradually ease the stocking up over the heel and ankle.
  4. Ease the rest of the stocking up the leg. Avoid pulling too hard at the top of the stocking.
  5. Check toe and ankle pieces are in the correct place: - The top of the knee-length stocking should be 2 finger spaces below the crease of the back of the knee. The top of the thigh-length stocking should sit 2 finger spaces below the crease under your buttock.
  6. Remove slipper aid from foot.


You must wear your stockings all day but remove them at night. There are various aids available to assist in applying your stockings and your pharmacist can give you more information about these if you need it.

How to remove your compression stockings

Remove your stockings prior to going to bed. Remove carefully trying not to damage the skin


Washing and drying your stockings


Wash in warm water with a non-biological washing detergent. Do not use fabric conditioner. Stockings can be washed in the washing machine on a delicate cycle at 40°C.



Do not use direct heat (fire or radiator) or a tumble dryer to dry your stockings. This will damage the elastic and the stockings will become ineffective. Roll them in a towel to remove excess moisture. Hang stockings on the washing line to dry.


What class stockings should I wear?

Compression stockings are classed 1-3 with class 1 being the lowest strength. Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist will advise the class of stocking you require.

How often should the stockings be replaced?

You will be advised by your nurse/GP/pharmacist how often you will require new stockings as with time they will lose their elasticity and will not work as well. Generallly, you should have your legs measured again and your stockings replaced every 3-6 months. Once compression stockings are prescribed for your legs you will need to wear them permanently, as long as there is enough blood getting into your legs (arterial circulation is good).

Are they allowed on the medical card?

For anyone with a medical card; the HSE allow you receive two free pairs of compression per annum (one every six months) once you have a valid prescription from your GP. You only need to pay the standard HSE Medical Card fee of €2 towards the cost of your stocking. Your pharmacy team can help and advice you on applying for your stocking via the hardship scheme.


How to improve the way your veins work

Diet and weight control

Extra body weight puts extra pressure on the veins in the legs, managing your weight can help to heal your leg ulcer. It is also important to eat a healthy, well balanced diet including fruit and vegetables; this will also aid wound healing.

Skin care on your legs

You should note any skin changes and report them to your health professional. Ensure your skin is moisturised with an un-fragranced ointment or cream e.g. emulsifying ointment. Apply ointment in a downward motion in the evening after removing your stockings.

Avoid injury

Be careful not to bang your legs on furniture or sharp objects as any injury may cause a wound which may take a long time to heal.


Walk or exercise regularly

This will help to keep the calf muscle pump working properly. If you are immobile, perform foot and ankle exercises. Do this by rotating feet round and round and moving feet up and down

Avoid standing for long periods

If this cannot be avoided, activate the calf muscle pump by taking the weight off your heels and standing on your toes and rolling back onto your heels with toes off the ground. This will encourage the venous blood supply to return to the heart.


Rest every day with your legs elevated, so that your feet are above your waist height.

Free compression stockings measurement and fitting

With appointments available free of charge, and no appointment needed, Whelehans Compression Hosiery Consultation service provides a dedicated fitting service in our private consultation room. Our fully trained staff will guide you through a step by step process to ensure that you have the correct stocking.  They are also qualified to advise on how to manage and maintain your hosiery, such as washing, removal, replacement etc. Once the consultation is complete, they will then order your hosiery which you can collect the following day.

To take advantage of this service, simply into Whelehans Pearse St, Mullingar or call 044 9334591 for more information.

Disclaimer: Please ensure you consult with your healthcare professional before making any changes recommended

For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans Pharmacies, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore).how to get the best

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