Any suggestions about how to get full length stocking on with very painful hands?

I wear one full length stocking and one knee length one. The short one is class 1 but the other is class 3. I am finding that no matter what I try putting my stockings on leaves me with very painful hands and the pain lasts most of the day. Nothing helps apart from strong painkillers that I am unable to take if I have to go to work or drive, which isn't a lot of good.

I would welcome any and all suggestions that might help.

Thanks in advance,


13 Replies

  • Has your clinic tried you with the various 'donning devices' that are available now? Some of my elderly clients find that using these is really helpful to get their garments partway up their legs, then, with a trusty pair of rubber gloves, they are able to gently pull the garment the remainder of the way. The foot, ankle & knee seem to be the sticking points. Are you able to get some 'hand therapy'? When I've had a day dealing with heavy legs and then bandaging people, I go to bed with Ibugel slathered into my hands, and a pair of cotton gloves over the top!

  • Thanks Lynora, I have spoken to the nurse at my local health centre but I am still waiting for her to get back to me. I do use rubber gloves to put them on and I apply the ibuprofen gel regularly but I am still struggling. I am on holiday at the moment and finding the pain hard to deal with but when I go back to work things will be even more challenging.

  • I really don't know if you're allowed to put certain creams on your legs, but I started thinking that maybe some sort of ointment which will make the stocking 'glide' will be of help. I know that the stockings will get dirty pretty soon, but I can't think if anything which can make your hands less painful. I'm sure that Lynora's suggestion is the best from all points of view.

  • No, not cream - it can cause folliculitis, and also can encourage the fabric of the garment to perish. If anything, you could try a very light dusting of cornflower or talcum powder - and I'm talking VERY LIGHT dusting here - as this can also irritate the hair follicles if applied too generously.

  • I thought that it might damage the garment but didn't know about folliculitis. It might be difficult to put sleeves or stockings in very hot weather as the skin might not be very dry. I was thinking about talcum powder, but didn't know that corn flour can also be used. Lynora, you are an encyclopaedia of knowledge.

  • If the skin is still damp after a shower, then a few seconds showing the arm/leg a hand-held hairdryer on 'medium' may be just enough to dry it completely. I'm thinking of asking Mr Dyson to invent a body dryer, since his 'fans' are so efficient! Think of the money saved on laundering towels!!!

  • There are a number of donning devices 'out there' and most are available on prescription - here are a few to start with:

  • Thank you both for your help. I will investigate those aids and then go back to my GP. I know it is a bit easier when I have moisturised my legs well the night before but I never thought of trying talc. The problem is with my hands and putting on the stockings takes so much pulling to get them on evenly that I end up in pain for much longer. It's becoming a real catch 22 situation.

  • The problem for a lot of people is trying to grip the stockings ,as your hands slide as you pull them ,try a pair of yellow rubber kitchen gloves ,better for gripping and should be easier to pull compression stockings..Hope you find a solution that is better for you Lynn.

  • There are also options to layer garments ie. 2 layers of a lower compression garment that you can manage or using a lower class of garment with a 'wrap' such as Medasun 'ready wrap' or haddenham 'Farrow wrap' both on prescription. The wraps are easy to apply however they are a little more bulky but very effective.

  • Hi, I am prescibed Mediven hosiery for my lymphoedema in my lower legs. Take a look at where you will see a device that holds the stocking open while you put your foot and leg in. Then you simply pull it the stocking up using the handles on the device. There is a video demonstration. I think this device may solve your problem.

  • Thanks, that is what I need, it's getting the doctor to prescribe it that is the problem. I thought about using layers of compression but even putting on my class 1 half leg stocking hurts my hands. I am not due to see my LE nurse till November but I will need to make an interim appointment as some days my hands are simply too sore to wear my stockings.

  • My two middle fingers on each hand have been damaged because of pulling up stockings, in fact to such a degree the left hand middle finger tendon has been damaged and I now have a ganglion cyst.

    As to cream on the legs, I thought it was important we kept our legs moisturised?


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