Compression Stocking Help


Wearing compression for the first time


The first few times you wear your compression garment you will notice the ‘squeeze'. It is OK to begin wearing your stockings gradually. Try wearing them for just a few hours the first day and then increase the number of hours each day until you can wear them comfortably throughout the day while you are up and about. Check your stockings periodically to smooth out any wrinkles as the fabric may move during the day. Remove your stockings before going to bed.

If you find that compression stockings are difficult to put on, please see our Donning Suggestions and Donning Aids.


Wearing compliance

It is important to wear your compression garments everyday. Compression stockings and sleeves manage an on-going problem. When you remove your compression garment the condition responsible for your symptoms is still there. Failure to wear your stockings or lymphedema garment may cause your condition to become more severe.


Measuring for Medical LegWear stockings is simple. Sizing for medical compression stockings is based on the circumferences of the leg. It is best to measure early in the day before swelling occurs.

  • Using a measuring tape measure around the smallest part of the ankle. This will be above the round bones (malleoli) on both sides of the ankle.
  • Next measure around the fullest part of your calf.
  • For thigh length styles also measure around the fullest part of the thigh.
  • For chap or waist length styles measure the ankle, thigh and around the largest part of your hips.


Properly fitting compression stockings and arm sleeves should feel snug at first. It will take a few days to adjust to the pressure.

Before you put on your stockings or sleeve review the Helpful Hints and Donning Methods.

Compression garments are easier to put on when you first get out of bed, before swelling occurs.

Helpful Hints

  • Skin should be dry
  • Applying a thin layer of cornstarch or powder will help the stockings or sleeve slide over your skin
  • Remove your rings and jewelry that can damage your garment
  • Wear rubber or vinyl gloves to prevent fingernails from damaging the fabric
  • The gloves also help provide grip to distribute the fabric more easily
  • Avoid rolling, gathering or bunching the fabric, as this will only increase the pressure – like creating a super rubber band.
  • Apply moisturizer to your legs or arm in the evening rather than just before putting on your stocking or sleeve
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