Must-Have Accessories for Compression Hose, Braces & Supports
One thing you’ll quickly realize when you first start to wear compression hose is that there is a world of accessories that make donning, wearing and caring for your hose much easier. Unlike regular socks and stockings, compression hosiery can’t just be slipped on and off. The nature of the fabric, which is strong compressive stretch material, often requires accessories called donning aids to put on compression socks or stocking correctly and easily. Some items, like surgical stockings or orthopedic devices require an adhesive to hold them in place properly. And when you remove your compression hose or sleeve, you’ll want to launder it using products that will preserve elasticity without damaging the fabric.
Your compression hose isn’t the only thing that needs gentle care: you may also want a cream or gel to relieve dry skin or to soothe the pain and numbness that can accompany venous deficiency or diabetes. There are even kits on the market that include several accessories for wearing and caring for your compression hose and these may be a convenient and economical way to make sure you have everything you need.
Compression hose can be difficult to put on, but manufacturers come to the rescue with dozens of items that facilitate donning the hose–and removing it– easily and correctly. Donning aids come in various styles: some are constructed like soft tubes that help you gently push socks and stockings up the leg. Others have molded plastic forms that act as a heel guide and handles to help move the sock up the leg. Some donning aids are frames designed to allow you to step into compression hose. Your healthcare professional may also recommend donning gloves, which help you grip the compression material without damaging it.
While many donning aids also help with taking hosiery off, there are devices made specifically for removing stockings and socks. These help you push the sock down with steady pressure, with no tugging or pulling. Unlike traditional hose, compression hosiery has a job to do and it can only do that job if it is put on correctly. Donning aids can help you do that easily and efficiently.
Some support devices and hosiery need a little help staying in place and skin adhesives work with a variety of products. Anti-embolism stocking, surgical stockings and orthopedic braces for knees, shoulders, even ankles and wrists work best when they’re placed properly. Adhesives usually roll on, so they can be applied precisely where they’re needed. Many people use a small amount of adhesive to keep the top band of a sock from rolling or to keep the shoulder strap of an armsleeve in place, for example. The adhesive itself is flexible and non-irritating and removes easily with a damp cloth.
You spend money and effort to find the precise size, style and compression level you need in compression socks and stocks. The same attention should go into the care of your hosiery. With proper laundering you’ll extend the life of the elastic material, eliminating sagging and tearing. Special hosiery washes are formulated to remove dirt and oil while returning the fabric to its original shape and fit. They also make a very light lather, so they rinse easily.
Skin Creams & Gels
Along with compression hose, braces and supports, you can aid healing with specially formulated skin creams and gels. Creams to moisturize the skin can make compression hosiery and other types of bandages or supports more comfortable by hydrating and protecting the skin. Gels have the added benefit of actually reducing the pain of aching muscles and joints, while adding a cooling, soothing effect. There are even products formulated specifically for diabetic skin care: they relieve the pain of neuropathy and help improve circulation. While you’re taking care of your leg health or healing from injuries, take care of your skin too, with products that hydrate the skin and ease soreness, muscle fatigue and pain.
If you’re just starting out with compression hose, the wide range of accessories may seem a bit overwhelming: what do you absolutely need? What style or brand should you choose? Make these decisions easier by getting a care kit for donning and laundering compression hose and for taking care of your skin. If you just want the basics, choose a kit that comes with donning gloves and high-quality hosiery wash. If you want a more complete set of accessories, there are kits that offer a donning aid, gloves, hosiery wash and even a mesh laundry bag to launder compression hose. Some kits offer additional products, like leg gel or cream. You can even order a second, travel size kit for when you’re on the road.
Whether you’re looking for a specific style and brand of donning aid or are searching for a pain-relief gel, Ames Walker offers a broad range of devices and products to simplify compression hose and speed the healing of injuries, strains and sprains.
Kaki Zell - Vice President of Sales, Marketing, eCommerce at Legs-4-Life LLC Kaki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She’s been working in the medical device industry for over 11 years and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greensboro Science Center.
Written November 2014 | Page Last Updated December 2021
Science Direct. “Donning Devices Enable Elderly People with Severe Chronic Venous Insufficiency to put on Compression Stockings” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1078588414006327