Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Compression stockings and the challenges of summer

Medical compression stockings and garments are used to control swelling (oedema) in legs or arms. Often, the conditions which lead to the use of medical compression garments also means that the person has a higher risk of infection in that limb (cellulitis).

Even though summer is the time of sun and holidays, those who need to wear medical compression garments have unique challenges as summer usually means:

  • increased swelling of the affected limb
  • having to wear a garment during long hot days
  • being extra careful to protect skin from sunburn and insect bites

Here are some ideas that may be of help to those who wear medical compression stockings or garments and those who find summer a difficult time of increased limb swelling.

Always remember to consult your health care team before you change your routine.

How to manage swollen legs with compression stockings

  • Stay well hydrated
    • Unless your swollen legs are due to a heart or kidney condition, limiting your water intake will not reduce the swelling.
    • Limiting your water intake on a hot day might lead to dehydration and ill health.
  • Continue to wear your compression stockings and garments
    • Put your garment on early and before your limb has a chance to swell
    • Most compression garments can be made with open toes. Ask your care team if this is appropriate for you
    • Lightly dust powder around your foot and heel to help slip the garment over a sweaty foot
    • A pair of rubber gloves (make sure they have a good grip i.e. gardening gloves) will assist you in putting on your garments
    • You may need to use an aid to get your garment on and off. Speak to your health care team to work out what is best for your needs
  • Elevate legs when sitting
    • Sitting with your legs down and not moving can lead to increased swelling and other health conditions (pressure sores and/or DVT)
    • Keep your legs elevated while sitting and remember to move your feet and legs regularly
    • Get up and walk regularly
  • Stay home in the hottest part of the day
    • The hottest part of the day is usually around 3pm.
    • If you must go outside then go out in the morning
    • Close the blinds and keep the doors shut to help keep the house cool
  • Homemade air conditioning
    • The affected limb will feel cooler as they dry if they are sprayed with cool water
    • Have a bowl of iced water or a wet cloth in front of a fan
  • Keep a pair of spare garments in the fridge
    • Swapping your garments with a cool pair kept in the fridge will give some temporary relief
  • Medical Concession Cooling Scheme
    • This cooling concession provides a 17.5% discount on summer electricity costs for concession card holders if a member of the family has a diagnosis of lymphoedema (chronic swelling) and other conditions affected by heat
    • Information can be found on state government websites or from your energy providers
    • Victorian Government information:

Fact sheet: Click Here             

Application form (word): Click Here               

Application form (pdf ): Click Here 

Extra skin care advice if you wear a compression stocking during summer

As previously mentioned, those who wear medical compression stockings or garments have a higher risk of skin infection (cellulitis). This makes skin care and skin protection even more important.

  • Always use Ph balanced, skin friendly skin cleanser and moisturiser without fragrance, colours or parabens
  • Always shower after swimming and re-apply moisturiser
  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside to allow sunscreen to bind to your skin
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours (or as recommended) as well as after swimming and excessive sweating
  • Be extra vigilant with insect repellent!
  • Wash sunscreen off when you return indoors and apply a good moisturiser.

Where to buy compression stockings

Independence Australia has a range of range of compression stockings for your needs. We stock many different brands, sizes, lengths, and thicknesses for your specific requirements. From brands such as TEDS, Jobst and Brevet, you can find the entire range here.

Additional information on compression stockings

For more information on compression stockings, please see our comprehensive guides on Applying and Removing Compression Stockings, How to Measure Compression Stockings and Understanding Compression Stockings.

For more information on compression stockings on the Independence Australia health resource hub, please visit here.

More health advice

View our wide range of health advice, tips and recommendations by visiting our health articles or checking out our top health articles below.

Avoid dry skin after hand sanitiser

Moisturised hand after hand sanitising  Hand Sanitiser leaving your hands feeling dry? We explore the importance of keeping your hands moisturised.Hand sanitiser has recently become a hot ticket item, thanks to the arrival of COVID-19. As we have realised over...

The powers of topical zinc

The powers of topical zinc

The powers of topical ZincZinc oxide has been used in topical preparations for centuries, it is one of the essential nutrients that our body needs to assist us in fighting off illness, it supports our immune system in fighting off harmful cells and helps our body to...

Skincare and incontinence

Skincare and incontinenceLiving with incontinence is an everyday challenge made even more difficult when skin irritation and conditions flare up. Unless incontinence skincare also becomes part of your daily routine, you could end up with some very uncomfortable or...

This article is sponsored by Independence Australia, a social enterprise that provides choices for people living with a disability or other personal need, enabling them to regain and retain their independence within a supportive community.

If you would like to support the valuable work we do, you can help us to provide choice for people living with a disability or other personal need by Shopping online with us or Making a donation.