For the stocking to work effectively it is important that they are the correct fit. They are numerous brands of compression stocking on the market.
Custom, made to measure stockings are also available. Whilst it is recommended that compression stockings should be selected following professional advice, lower classes of compression stocking are available to buy without prescription.
See also Sigvaris Compression Stockings.
Support stockings often sold for people involved in sports are one example.
If stockings are not prescribed, a pharmacist may be able to assist with selecting the correct over the counter stocking by measuring the leg.
Measurements are best taken in the morning before the legs swells. Where to measure may differ between different manufacturers of compression socks.
For below the knee stockings, measurements are usually taken from around the narrowest part of the ankle, around the widest part of the calf and from the heel to the end of the longest toe (when a closed stocking is worn).
For thigh length stockings the distance from the heel to buttock and the widest part of the thigh is also measured.
If buying independently, there may be trial and error involved when selecting the correct tightness. If the stocking is too tight and can't be tolerated lighter versions which apply less pressure should be tried.
Compression stocking application aids can help people who have difficulties putting their stockings on. As the stockings compress and put pressure on the leg they may be hard to fit in some cases.
The Arion Easy-Slide Aid is an example of a two handed compression stocking aid which can be used with graduated compression stockings and other compression hosiery.
A one handed compression stocking aid can make it easier for those with an impaired arm. Two handed compression aids can be adapted for one handed use by placing a loop between the two handles. One hand can then pull up the stocking.
The best time to put on compression stockings is after rest (in most cases early morning) when the legs have been kept horizontal whilst lying and have not had chance to swell.
There is also a device available which helps with compression sock removal.
Skin irritation and dryness can be prevented by applying an emollient (moisturiser) when the compression stocking is off.
Emollients are thick liquids which smooth, soften & moisturise the skin and can protect the skin from cracking.