Our clients have certainly given us some questions that need to be addressed. One of the main concerns seems to be that of being able to don and doff (put on and take off) their own compression stockings. Staying independent is important to all of us. One question that was asked is if there is a donner for support pantyhose similar to the one for knee high or thigh high support socks. Yes there is. However I do not recommend using it. I believe it is one thing to have one leg in a donner trying to pull up a support sock, but to have both legs involved in a donner I feel could lead to a nasty fall.

It seems everyone wants to know the easiest way to put on support pantyhose. I would like to share with you how I put my panty hose on. I wear 20-30 pantyhose and it takes me about 5 minutes and a bit of patience to put my stockings on in the morning. While it is not an easy task, it is really no more difficult than putting on a pair of knee high stockings. The hardest part of putting on any lower extremity compression garment is getting it over the heel. First I will repeat what I said last week, never gather the stocking. I use the Sigvaris Donning Gloves to put on my support pantyhose. I call them my “magic green gloves”. They enable arthritic hands to have better grasp. I use the little “nubbies” to pinch and pull the stockings up. They also protect my stockings from my fingernails. Even when I have the Sigvaris Donning Gloves on, I use only the balls of the finger tips to grasp the stockings.

First I sit down and with out my “magic green gloves” I pull the stockings on one leg as far as I can.  (For me, it is easier to start with the left leg.) Then I put on my gloves and pull the stocking up and over my heel and then up my leg as high above the knee as I can by pinching the garment and pulling it up. Then I start the other leg into the stocking and use the gloves in the same manner to pull the stocking up to the same level.

When I have them as high up my legs as I can get them while sitting down I remove the gloves, stand up, and pull the stockings up and over my tummy. Once this is accomplished, I put the gloves back on and start at the ankle of each leg and re-stretch the stockings by pinching and pulling all the way up the leg.

Then I take the gloves off and place my hands in the back of the stockings with my palms out. I push away from the body and lift up without grabbing the stockings. This seats the crotch of the pantyhose.

If the color or appearance of the stockings is uneven, I put on the gloves and use the flat of the hand to rub gently up or down the leg to adjust the stocking so it has an even appearance.

peel a banana3

Now that we have managed to put on stockings or socks, how are we going to get them off? I have had clients become so frustrated and panicked that they cut (yes, cut) a very expensive garment off. Same thing applies here as when putting on a compression garment…never gather the garment (or allow it to roll) when removing it. It becomes like the rubber band again and extremely difficult to remove. Instead start at the top and pull the garment down allowing the garment (it does not matter if it is a knee high, thigh high, or pantyhose) to slid on itself until you are able to pull it off your foot. The stocking slides on itself.  Peel your socks off just like you peel a banana.

If the “Peel a banana” method is not working for you, we have another option theMediven Butler Off. The Butler Off looks similar to a shoe horn. There is a handle on top for pushing and a “tooth” to help push the garment off. The Butler Off is not meant for use with sheer support hose, but with more substantial garments. The Butler Off is not to be used to help push yourself up from a sitting position.

How to Use the Medi Butler Off for Removal of Stockings or SocksHow to use Medi Butler Off

  • Slide the tip of the horn under the top band of the stockings.
  • Now push the handle gently downwards: the far end of the horn slides down your calf and then over your heel. During the whole process the inner surface of the horn should remain in contact with your skin. At the same time the “tooth” helps push the stocking downwards. In order to regain contact with your skin you can start again with the horn a little higher and then continue with the downward movement if necessary.
  • As soon as you reach your heel lift your heel up. Then tilt the stick downwards a little to guide the horn along the underside of your foot. Caution: Make sure you do not press the stocking against the ground with the doffing aid. Otherwise the stocking may be damaged. Now push the handle forwards gently: the stockings slides off your foot, but stays on the horn.

There are more ways to don and doff compression stockings or support socks that these, but perhaps this will get you started. If you have comments or more questions, please click on the title of this newsletter, More Questions You Have Asked, scroll to the bottom of the blog, and leave your message as a guest.

Vanda