How to Take Off Compression Socks with Ease

Compression socks are fantastic for recovering from exercise, preventing swelling and discomfort when you travel or you’re on your feet all day, and combating symptoms of a multitude of medical conditions. They’ve been helping patients feel better after surgery and reducing the discomfort for pregnant women for decades. But, let’s face it: they can be tricky to put on and take off.

So, you’re probably wondering how to make sure you stay comfortable when you put and take off compression socks. We’ve covered how to put them on here, and it’s time to help you learn how to remove compression socks easily and without a fuss.

Read on to find out:

  • Step-by-step instructions for taking off compression socks;
  • Tips to make this easier and quicker;
  • Common issues and how to troubleshoot them.

How to Take Off Compression Socks Step-by-Step

Compression stockings, socks, and tights are meant to be tight on your lower legs, to support your blood circulation and create that feeling of a gentle massage. Once you’ve put them on and worn them for any length of time, compression garments should actually become almost like a second skin and you would not expect to feel them too much (certainly not as discomfort!).

When it comes time to take them off, therefore, many people find themselves struggling. Avoid hurting yourself or damaging your socks by following these steps.

Step 1: Prepare Yourself

Taking off a pair of compression socks isn’t the same as removing normal footwear. You can’t just fling them off easily, standing on one foot, or not paying attention to the movement. We recommend taking a seat so you’re stable and relaxed.

Step 2: Gently Remove the Top Band

Many people find that the top band is quite tight on compression socks. Start by sliding your fingers in between the band and the leg, and gently pulling it away from the leg, then down. For stockings or tights, it’s a good idea to wear a pair of gloves to protect them from catching.

Step 3: Loosen the Fabric and Pull it Down

Slowly and patiently work your way down the leg, loosening the fabric from against the skin with one hand, while holding the top band with the other.

Step 4: Gradually Remove the Compression Sock

Now you can slowly remove the compression sock all the way down to the ankle. Be careful pulling the fabric over the heel, so you’re not stretching it too much. 

At this point, you can also hold on to the toe end of the sock and pull it gently off, while following with your other hand where you’re holding the rest of the material.

Step 5: Repeat for the Other Leg

Once you’re done on one side, repeat the same process on the other. One is always easier than the other, but follow the same steps and you shouldn’t have any issues.

Tips to Make Taking Off Compression Socks Easier

Wearing compression socks to prevent the formation of blood clots or more serious medical conditions is an easy and convenient tool for relieving symptoms and keeping your legs fresh and relaxed. The steps we outlined above should also make it relatively easy to remove them when you’re done for the day (or after however long you’ve been wearing your pair). Here are some extra tips for making it even easier!

Use a Sock Removing Device

With a simple internet search, you can find a number of devices to help make sock removal even easier. Some of them look like shoe horns and can be used without bending down too much. However, be careful not to be too forceful with them, as they can damage the sock fabric.

Wear Gloves for Better Grip

Gloves can help get a better grip on thinner compression socks or stockings. They’re also helpful when it’s hot or when you’ve just put lotion on your hands. We also recommend wearing gloves if you have longer nails or wear jewelry, so you don’t catch the material of thinner compression garments.

Sit Down on a Secure Surface

Before even thinking about taking off compression socks, get in a comfortable and stable position by sitting down on a chair or bed. It will be a lot easier to lift your legs up, bend down, etc.

Fold Down the Sock Before Pulling It Off

Instead of making the classic mistake of pulling the sock down from the bottom and stretching the material, while possibly hurting yourself with the tight top band, try folding the sock down before pulling it off. Once you slip your fingers in between the leg and the top band, it’s usually easy to fold down the socks to the ankle and then pull them off around the heel and from the toe end. 

Common Issues and Troubleshooting

By their very nature, compression socks and stockings are tight and can feel difficult to remove. But, whether you’re wearing open-toe or regular socks, and regardless of the fabric, sometimes additional problems can arise, even when you’ve followed all the steps for putting them on and taking them off. Don’t panic, here are some common troubleshooting solutions. 

How to Avoid Fabric Snags and Tears

To make sure you’re not pulling your socks and creating tears in the material, always start removing them from the top band. Wear gloves to ensure your nails or jewelry don’t get caught, too.

Another long-term approach to preserving your socks’ fabric is to care for them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This includes washing them regularly after every use, with a gentle detergent. Find out more here.

How to Remove Compression Socks On Someone Else

If you’re helping someone else, you will want to follow largely the same steps as if you were taking off compression socks yourself. Begin by having them sit on the edge of a chair, bed, or sofa, and wear gloves to make sure you have a good grip on the socks.

Then, grab the top end of the sock and fold down towards the ankle, lifting their leg a little bit towards yourself. Slowly roll the sock up and over the heel, then you’ll be able to take it off completely by pulling gently towards you. Repeat the same on the other side.

How to Remove Compression Socks with Arthritis

If you suffer from arthritis, you can find it more awkward to take off compression socks. Ideally, ask someone else to help you remove them. If this is not an option, we recommend wearing rubber gloves and slowly pulling down the whole sock from the knee towards the ankle, almost in a “hugging” motion against your lower legs. This should avoid you having to use your fingers and gripping too much.

Once the sock is pooled around your ankle, it should be easier to slide your thumb between the sock and your heel, and pull the sock outwards and over the heel. And then you’re done!

Wearing compression socks for medical conditions or simply to avoid swelling and discomfort during all-day activities can be extremely beneficial. However, many people are put off by the hassle of putting them on and taking them off. In reality, this is relatively simple, as long as you’re patient and calm and follow these simple steps. Check out our diverse range of socks, sleeves, and stockings here and pick your next favorite pair. 

1 comment

  • Kim

    My husband and I absolutely love you socks! They’re the best and we know as we’ve tried many other brands. Please consider making short videos showing how to properly put on and take off our socks. Thank you for your consideration.

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