Have you ever tried to put on a pair of compression socks? If so, you may have been surprised by just how tricky it can be to get them on. Zippers might seem like a nifty way to make the process a bit easier and although there are downsides to compression socks with a zipper, they do have a purpose. For those who really struggle with putting on compression socks, there are also alternatives.
Zippers, while convenient, can’t give a guaranteed level of compression (pressure) in compression socks. For this reason, most medical grade compression sock makers don’t typically make them or even recommend them for venous diseases. You want to have uniform pressure throughout the leg, otherwise it can cause adverse effects in other parts of the leg.
Ulcers and other wounds related to poor blood flow are typically treated with compression therapy since it makes the veins work more efficiently. In fact, compression is the #1 recommended therapy for wound care and is one of the few cases in which compression therapy is covered by Medicare. The usual recommended level of compression appropriate for wound care begins at 30-40 mmHg (millimeters of Mercury or units of pressure), but in some situations, greater compression may be needed.
In the case of wounds, the difficulty of putting on compression socks can be a real barrier to usage since patients are also using bandages and other topical treatments for wound healing. Using compression socks with a zipper would make it easier for the patient to pull the garment on while keeping the bandages and other items in place. If using zippered compression socks for wound care, be sure to place the zipper on the opposite side of the wound. This is because the area around the zipper has lower compression levels and you want the higher effective area to be in place of the wound.
Now that you know zippered compression garments aren’t ideal for managing venous issues, what are the other options? There are some tips and tricks to get the socks on either by yourself or with the assistance of a helper (Hello, spouse!). Be sure to explore these options. The Compounding Center staff is dedicated to helping you get these suckers on the best way possible.
The actual compression sock/stocking is still your best bet for addressing venous insufficiencies. However, we do understand that the actual compression sock/stocking just isn’t going to work for a variety of reasons. Thankfully, the creators of the compression garments have created an alternative.
Instead of choosing zippered compression socks with lower compression quality, consider compression wraps. Different manufacturers call them different names such as CircAid Juxalite, Farrow Wrap, and CompreFlex Lites, but they are all based on the same principle. The compression wrap is an inelastic wrap with velcro straps that comes with a guide for measuring the compression level.
We have found that the Sigvaris CompreFlex Lite is the best and easiest to use because the compression measuring guide can be easily affixed to the garment so you won’t lose it between uses. The wrap stays in place while you are working to get the compression level situated and accurate. Sigvaris has also included two liners so you can wear one while the other is being laundered. The Compounding Center is currently the only retailer in the region that carries them in stock so you don’t have to wait! Come in and let our knowledgeable staff teach you everything you need to know about the socks and wraps. Then take them home and start getting better faster and with confidence.