12 Tips To Comfortably Wear Compression Socks In The Summer

As we enter the summer months, many of us have tucked away our long winter pants and pulled out our shorts or skirts. However, this causes a dilemma for those of us who regularly wear compression socks, or stockings, for varicose vein symptoms.

While you may be tempted to take a few months off from wearing compression stockings, this isn’t the wisest option. First of all, the summer heat can make varicose veins symptoms worse, including swelling, aching, heaviness, pain, or restless legs.

This is because when our bodies heat up from warm temperatures or activity, our large arteries, arterioles and larger veins dilate, or expand, to allow for more blood flow to the surface of the skin. The increased volume of blood puts even more pressure on varicose veins, which are typically just under the surface of the skin. The increased pressure contributes to inflammation and usually results in increased swelling, heaviness, aching, or fatigue in your legs.

Plus, many people experience swollen ankles and feet in warmer weather, and this is especially true for those with varicose veins since circulation of blood in the legs is weaker for those with damaged veins.

That said, it’s smart to continue wearing compression stockings through the summer months and you don’t have to suffer while doing so. Here are 12 tips to comfortably wear compression socks or stockings this summer—or any time of the year for that matter:

  1. Fabric choice can make a big difference in keeping compression stockings comfortable during the warmer months. Cotton is a breathable, natural fiber that helps wick away moisture. Microfiber is also breathable and is often designed to manage moisture to keep your legs cool and dry.
  1. Use stockings fitted to your legs just as you wear shoes fitted for your feet. Stockings are available in three degrees of compression and the correct size and grade greatly affects the compressive property or value of the stocking.
  1. Wear stockings during the day and not while sleeping as stockings are not needed when legs are at heart level.
  1. Do not use white hospital TED stockings. These are designed for hospitalized patients in a bed, not for people on their feet.
  1. Use calf-length stockings as 85% of the benefit of compression stockings are found in the calf-length. Plus, full-length stockings are much hotter, tend to ride down the leg, and are more expensive.
  1. When stockings are worn regularly they have a wear life of about 6 months, i.e. the compression wears out as elasticity fades. Get new stockings every 6 months.
  1. Do not use moisturizer on your legs before wearing stockings. It will wear elasticity out more quickly.
  1. Open-toed compression stockings are available if you wish to wear sandals, and there are also sheer compression stockings.
  1. Stockings should be somewhat loose on the toe.
  1. Hand wash stockings in Woolite or use a very light washing cycle.
  1. Pull stockings no higher than 3 finger breadths below the crease of the back of your knee to avoid pinching blood vessels and nerves crossing the back of the knee.
  1. In general, stockings should be comfortable for use, and not painful!

We are happy to help you determine the right fit and grade of compression socks or stockings for your legs. You can purchase compression stockings at East Tennessee Vein Clinic or at a medical supply store, but it’s helpful to talk with a vein specialist first about your specific needs to ensure that you are wearing the proper grade of stocking and getting the most benefits from them.

Or, if you’re tired of managing varicose vein symptoms with compression stockings, it may be time to consider getting rid of your varicose veins once and for all. Treatment of varicose veins is quicker and easier than it’s ever been, and is typically covered by insurance.

East Tennessee Vein Clinic is offering free screenings for varicose veins through June.

You don’t need to suffer from swelling, aching, or heaviness in your legs, regardless of the season. Dr. Douglass and the staff at East Tennessee Vein Clinic are solely dedicated to the treatment of varicose veins, and lead the region in experience and expertise of vein treatments. We treat veins differently than other clinics because of our comprehensive attention to treating the root cause and full extent of each patient’s vein disease. Vein treatment is all we do, every day, all day, since 2001.

Visit us online at East Tennessee Vein Clinic, or call 866-281-VEIN, or request an appointment online today. We are offering free vein screenings through the month of June, just mention the offer when making an appointment.

“I felt as though I had visited family.”

- P. F., Maryville, TN