If your physician has instructed you to wear compression socks, it's vital that you understand how to care for and wear them properly. Here's a handy list of dos and don'ts for compression stockings to keep them in top shape:

Dos for Compression Stockings

Do put them on right after you wake up. In the morning, your legs and feet are generally less swollen, so it is easier to put compression garments on at that time. Also, doctors generally prescribe compress compression socks to be worn all day long so you get the maximum medical benefits.

Do replace them regularly. The compression in compression socks is provided by elastic fibers that typically break down over time. You'll know you need new Juzo or Medi compression garments when they become easy to put on; that reflects the elastic fibers have lost their compressive capabilities.

Do wash them every day. Regular washing extends the life of your compression garments. As you wear them, compression socks stretch to fit your legs. Washing helps return them to their original shape, which makes them last longer.

Do follow the care instructions. Clean your compression garments in cold water with a dab of gentle soap. Some brands, such as Medi compression stockings, may include their own cleaning kit. If not, it is highly recommended that you buy a specialized washing solution separately.

Do measure your legs before buying. Medi compression support stockings, like all brands, are available in different sizes. In order to get the full medical benefits, it's important to wear the right size.

Do use donning gloves. A ragged fingernail can rip your compression stockings. Donning gloves protect your stockings while providing grip to help them go on easier.

Don'ts for Compression Stockings

Do not wear lotions or oils under your compression garments. Oils and lotions can weak the elastic fibers.

Do not wear them at night. Never wear compression socks while you sleep, except your doctor specifically prescribe it.

Do not clean with chlorine bleach. Harsh chemicals like chlorine bleach can damage your compression socks.

Do not roll them down. Circulation may be cut off if you roll down your compression stockings while donning or removing them.

Do not cut them off at the foot. Cutting off the foot of your compression stockings will only make it harder to put them on, since the foot acts as an anchor. Moreover, cutting off the foot could make your compression socks roll up and become uncomfortable to wear. If your stockings are too tight around the foot, consider wearing Medi compression open-toe stockings.

Do not wring them out to dry them. Wringing or scrubbing can damage your compression socks. Make them last longer by treating them gently.

Follow the tips listed above to extend the life of your compression stockings and to maximize their medical benefits.