How to use compression stockings post knee surgery

Updated February 21, 2017

After knee surgery it may take some time before you are actively on your feet. This lack of activity slows down your leg circulation, which can result in the formation of blood clots. According to Allina Hospitals and Clinics, compression stockings are recommended equipment for use after knee surgery (see Reference 1). Compression stockings put pressure on your legs, lightly "massaging" the muscles and veins and keeping circulation in the leg active. They also reduce the swelling and inflammation associated with surgical procedures. Compression stockings are not easy to put on the first time, but following a few steps will make the process easier.

Apply a light talcum body powder to the legs. This will help the stockings slide more easily over the skin.

Sit in a hard, straight-back chair. Put your hand down inside the stocking to the toes, and roll the stockings down so they are inside out (except for the toe area.)

Insert your foot into the toe section. Using both hands, begin easing the stockings back up over your foot. Be sure your heel fits snugly into the heel portion.

Using gentle tugs, continue to bring the stockings up over your heel, then ankle, and continue slowly up the legs. When you are done, the top of the stocking should be resting just below your rear. Use extreme caution when going over your knee and any bandages. While some only go up to the knees, most compression stockings after knee surgery go up to the thigh, but your surgeon or physician will recommend the proper length for you.

Check with your doctor to see how long and how often you are to wear your stockings. If you have had recent surgery, you may need to keep them on all day, except for a 2 to 3 hour period. After a week you may be told to wear them in daytime only and leave them off overnight. Every patient's situation is different, so check with your doctor for specific instructions.


Wash your stockings before using them the first time. This helps make the fibres more flexible. If you have problems retaining your grip on the stocking fabric, wear rubber gloves.


Always make sure you have a new dressing over any surgical wounds that still remain. Call your physician immediately if your legs begin to turn blue or feel numb while in the stockings.

Things You'll Need

  • Talcum body powder
  • Compression stockings
  • Chair with straight back
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About the Author

A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."