Ruth Buzzi’s Old Lady offered an extreme example of wrinkled stockings, but even small wrinkles in compression stockings can be very uncomfortable. We often have customers tell us that their compression stockings hurt – that wrinkles in the fabric are digging into their skin. This is usually a problem with the size of the stocking and/or the type of fabric. If sized correctly, and knit from the right type of yarns for your condition, compression socks should not be painful, and there should not be wrinkles in the fabric.
Eliminating wrinkles can be a matter of putting the socks on correctly or finding the correct size. Check the list below to figure out why your compression socks have wrinkles, and what you can do to get rid of them. Whatever you do – don’t give up on wearing compression – once you find the right style and size, the medical benefits will far outweigh the effort spent hunting for the best sock.
- Did you smooth out the stockings with the palms of your hands? Sometimes it can be difficult to get compression stockings on your leg properly. You might think you’re done once you pull the sock over your foot and up to its proper place on your leg, but it’s very important to run your hands over the entire stocking to make sure the fabric is straight, and there are no wrinkles or bunching of the fabric. Wearing a pair of rubber donning gloves will make this job much easier. Donning gloves give you get a better grip on the fabric and ensure the stocking is evenly distributed from your toes to the top of the stockings. Need more instruction? You can find tons of videos online that demonstrate the best way to put compression socks on – like this one.
- If you have the stocking on correctly, and still see wrinkles around your ankles, the stocking is probably too large for your leg. Too much fabric will cause wrinkles at the ankle, or behind the knee for thigh highs and pantyhose. Check these two measurements to see if you’re in the correct size:
Length: First, check the length of the stocking. Many companies offer short or petite sizing, in addition to regular lengths, so you can get the perfect fit. For example, Juzo Soft Knee Highs come in three different lengths: Regular, Short and Petite. Measure from the floor to just below the crease behind your knee and compare your length to the size chart. In this Juzo sock, a Regular length fits a lower leg length from 15.75″ to 18.25″. The Short is for 13″ – 15.75″ and the Petite fits lower legs less than 13″ in length. Thigh highs and pantyhose also come in different lengths. For these styles, measure your leg from the floor to the crease of your buttocks. For most brands, over 28” is a regular length, and under 28” is a short. (Hint – If the knee high stockings you’re looking at don’t offer a length option, they are regular length only. Your leg should measure 15″ or longer. If your lower leg is shorter than 15″, look for a stocking available in a short length.)
Circumference: If you have wrinkles at the ankle and length is not a problem, you still may be in the wrong size. Most compression stockings are sized by ankle circumference, and the extra fabric at the ankle could be caused by an incorrect circumference measurement. Remember to measure your legs first thing in the morning, and measure the narrowest part of your ankle, right above the bone. As the day wears on, your legs will swell – giving you an incorrect measurement in the afternoon or evening. Correct measurements are the key to comfortably fitting compression garments.
- Lastly, you need to confirm that you’re in the best fabric for your condition. If you swell during the day, and have a good deal of soft, fleshy tissue on your legs, you may not be able to wear sheer fabrics. Sheers don’t offer enough containment for the swelling. Generally, the thicker the fabric, the better it is at containing swelling. “Surgical” weight or opaque fabrics are the strongest and provide the most containment. Try Allegro Surgical Weight or Juzo Dynamic Varin. Remember, the level of containment of a fabric has nothing to do with compression level. Always stick to the compression level your doctor recommended, but try different fabrics to find the right strength and containment your condition.
Finding the right size and style of stocking for your legs can be a trying task, but it’s worth it! Customers write to us every day with stories about how compression garments have made a huge positive impact on their lives. Ask a medical provider or a friend to help you measure your leg, so you have the correct measurements from the start. Our certified fitters are available to consult on sizing, style, and fabric choices Monday through Friday from 9am-6pm, ET at 1-877-545-8585 – so never hesitate to call and speak with us.