Easiest Way to Put on a TED Hose

Powder puff and powder in container

Thrombo-embolic deterrent, or TED, hose are knee- or thigh-length compression stockings designed to prevent blood clots in the legs that could lead to painful deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombophlebitis. They are prescribed following surgery for patients who are mostly confined to bed. Graduated pressure is tightest in the ankle or calf and diminishes higher up the leg to support venous blood return. TED hose are usually white with a hemmed cut-out on the ball of the foot so that caregivers can check circulation without having to remove the stockings.


It is essential that TED hose fit properly. Nurses measure circumference at the widest part of the calf or thigh and leg length from the back of the knee or the fold under the buttocks to the base of the heel, depending on whether knee-high or thigh-high stockings are ordered. When worn, TED hose that fit well should rest 1 inch below the knee or 2 inches below the top of the leg. Contact a physician if stockings are not the appropriate size.


Post-operative patients may not have the strength to pull on tight stockings and should receive help to put them on. One way to make things easier is to put a plastic bag over the patient's foot and put the stocking on over it. TED hose will slide easily over plastic. When socks are in place, tug the cut-out over the toes and remove the plastic bag through the hole. Alternatively, use a device called a "slip sock," which works the same way.


You can use cornstarch, talc bath or baby powder to make TED hose glide on much more easily. Thoroughly coat feet and legs with powder, and put some powder inside the stocking as well. Roll up the stocking. Start by fitting it over the toes, working it over the heel and pull material smoothly up the leg. Be sure to smooth out any wrinkles.


Rubber gloves with textured palms and fingers, donning gloves are designed to enhance grip. They make pulling on TED hose almost effortless. New products made from cotton with rubber coating may be appropriate for those with latex allergy.


Even stockings that are worn continuously are removed for bathing. Be sure feet and legs are completely dry before stockings are replaced. They will be easier to put on in the morning before getting out of bed, when feet and legs are less swollen. Make sure the TED hose are in good condition and are clean and dry. Do not apply lotion to legs before putting on TED hose.