If you’re healthy and flexible, putting your socks on every morning and taking them off in the evening is something you probably do without thinking.
However, not everybody can do this seemingly simple action easily. People who have mobility issues and have trouble bending will benefit from learning how to use a sock aid, as it removes the need for them to bend over to get their socks on and off.
Here’s everything you need to know about these devices if you or someone you know could benefit from using one.
What Is a Sock Aid?
A sock aid—also known as a stocking aid—is a device that helps people to put socks or stockings on easily without needing to bend.
It usually consists of a half-tube at one end and either long rigid handles or ribbons or ropes that you can reach without stretching.
Good sock aids usually come in multiple different lengths to accommodate different heights. However, the longer the better, as long as the tube can reach your feet while the ropes are in your hands.
You can also find a metal framework type of sock aid, which is used to assist people with better mobility in getting compression socks on easily.
These sock aids are not likely to be used by people with mobility issues.
Why Do You Need a Sock Aid?
People with mobility issues or severe pain may struggle to lean over far enough to put their socks on without pain.
These may include arthritis, injuries, spinal injuries, or recovering after a stroke.
In these cases, a sock aid can be an invaluable tool to help people with mobility problems retain their independence and make the everyday task of putting socks on much easier.
Sock Aid Features
Flexible vs Rigid
You get two kinds of sock aids—flexible and rigid sock aids. This refers to the piece of the sock aid at the bottom, which holds the sock.
Flexible sock aids have an end piece that’s flexible and allows you to slip the sock over it without stretching the sock out too much. They’re easier to use if you only have the use of a single hand.
Rigid sock aids don’t bend as you slide the sock over them, which may lead to your socks becoming stretched over time.
Some sock aids have a plastic end piece, while others have fabric-covered end pieces. The fabric helps to keep the sock in place and stops it from sliding.
Sock aids come with either one or two handles. A single-cord handle may be the best choice if your mobility problems extend to your hands. The two-handled sock aids require more coordination and may be more difficult to use.
Also, the handles may be rigid or loose like ropes. Rigid handles are more difficult to store, while loose handles can make it much easier to store your sock aid in a drawer or cupboard.
How to Use a Sock Aid
When placing the sock on the sock aid, you will hold the end piece in your hands or place it between your knees. This allows you to reach it easily without bending.
Orient the Sock With the Sock Aid
Make sure you are aligning the sock correctly. The closed part of the tube needs to be underneath your foot when you put it on, so make sure the bottom of your sock goes under this part of the sock aid.
Slide the Sock Over the Sock Aid
Scrunch the opening of your sock down until you are holding it open almost at the very bottom. Slide the tube into your sock, pulling the sock up and over the half-tube.
Pull the sock up over the tube, but make sure it stops before the handles attach to the tube.
Make Sure the Toe of the Sock Is Pulled Tight
You may notice that the toe of the sock hangs off of the tube loosely. You want to pull this tight over the end of the sock aid, so you should scrunch the sock up the tube so that the toe is tight, but the sock’s opening doesn’t go over the handles.
Hold Onto the Handles and Drop the Sock Aid to the Ground
Once the sock is on the tube, you should grab the handles and lower the tube to the ground. This may be easier with rigid handles, but you will need to be more careful if you have rope handles.
It’s easiest to throw the tube with the sock out in front of your feet and then use the handles to drag it back gently until it’s in the right position, just ahead of your foot.
Place Foot Into Sock
While holding the handles, you will need to maneuver the sock-covered tube to your foot. While still holding the handles, slip your foot into the sock.
Make sure you place your foot into the sock until your toes touch the toe of the sock. Hold the handles tightly so that you don’t accidentally pull the handles out of your hands.
You may need to flex your foot to get the sock over your heel before the tube completely comes out of the sock.
Pull on the Rope and the Plastic of the Sock Aid
Once your foot is inside the sock, pull the handles gently and slowly towards you to get the sock off the tube and onto your foot.
If you have mobility in your feet, you may need to move your foot a little to help get the sock off the tube and onto your foot.
Adjust Sock as Necessary
Once the tube has been removed, you may need to adjust your sock slightly to make sure it’s comfortable. You may have to do this using your other foot, or remove the sock entirely and try again with the sock aid.
How to Take Your Socks Off
You can also get a different sock aid known as a reacher. This is designed to be used with just one hand.
It consists of a rigid handle with an extra extension piece jutting out that can act as “jaws” by pushing a button on the handle.
To get the sock off of your foot, slide the extended piece into the back of your sock and lift the sock over your heel. Once the sock starts to lift from your toes, remove the piece from the back of your sock.
Using the jaw feature, grab the toe of your sock and gently pull it off of your foot.
How to Make Your Own Sock Aid
You can easily make your own sock aid using a flexible piece of cardboard or thin plastic and two ropes.
We recommend using stiff cardboard that can be bent into shape or making a half-tube out of a plastic bottle.
You will need to make sure that it’s quite bigger than your foot to allow plenty of space to slip your foot into the opening.
Also, make sure that if you’re using a plastic bottle or something similar, you file down the edges so that there are no chances of injuring your feet while putting your socks on.
Get somebody to help you measure the length from your outstretched foot to your hands when seated. This will help you get the right rope length, making using your sock aid much easier.
Then attach the ropes—or a single rope in a loop—to the plastic tube piece. Your sock aid should be ready for use immediately.