Compression socks are a must-have accessory for people who suffer from leg pain or edema. To obtain maximum relief from leg and foot conditions, it is important to wear the socks on a daily basis. However, doing so can make them deteriorate faster. Here are three tips for making your compression socks last a little bit longer.
Many times the reason compression socks fall apart sooner than necessary is because they are being laundered incorrectly. These socks are made using primarily elastic material—which helps them provide the necessary gentle squeeze that promotes circulation and reduces swelling and pain—and laundering them in the same manner as regular socks will damage them.
Though the exact specifics (e.g., water temperature) may vary depending on the manufacturer, compression socks must be hand washed after each use. In addition to removing soil and odors, daily washing helps these socks snap back to their original tightness. Additionally, regular laundering reduces the risk of getting a fungal infection in your foot from organisms that may be hiding in the fabric, waiting to strike.
It is preferable that you wash your socks using the special solution sold by the manufacturer. However, any soap designed for delicate fabrics will do (e.g., Woolite). Avoid wringing the fabric dry. Instead, gently press the water out of the socks using a towel. Either lay them on a flat surface to air dry, or tumble dry on the lowest setting. Finally, only don your compression socks when they are fully dry.
Be Gentle When Donning Them
You wouldn't think there was a wrong way to put on your socks, but donning compression socks like you would regular ones (aggressively pulling and tugging) can stretch them out of shape and eventually cause the elastic to break. Therefore, it's important to take care and put these socks on as gently as possible.
There are a couple of different ways you can put on compression socks, and the best one for you will depend on your abilities. One common way involves folding the sock inside out halfway (down to the heel pocket), slipping the bottom portion over the foot, and then grasping the bulk of the sock and sliding it up the leg, releasing the fabric as you go. Another method involves using gloves to help smooth out wrinkles.
Whichever method you use, be sure your nails are neatly trimmed to avoid snagging and possibly tearing the fabric. It may also be helpful to put on your socks right after you have put lotion on your legs, as the lotion may provide a good amount of slip that lets the socks glide on easier.
Purchase Multiple Pairs
A third thing you can do is purchase multiple pairs of compression socks. There are a couple of good reasons for this. First, having multiple pairs reduces the amount of wear and tear any one pair receives. Second, you'll have alternative pairs of socks to wear while your favorite pair is drying on the rack after being laundered. Lastly, you can get socks in different colors and styles, which will make it easier to match clothing in your wardrobe.
You can extend the time that your socks stay in optimal condition by treating your socks well. However, your socks are only as good as the manufacturer who makes them. Therefore, if you want to ensure your compression socks go the distance, purchase them from reputable manufacturers known for their quality.
For more information about compression socks or to get some for yourself or a loved one, visit a local retailer or order online, or contact a company like SmoothToe.
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