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Lower Body Dressing: Socks and Shoes

It may be hard to dress and undress after you are injured or have surgery. The guidelines below will help you to put on and take off your socks and shoes.

Helpful hints

  • Gather your socks and shoes, dressing aids, and walker. Place them within easy reach.
  • Wear slip-on shoes, or use elastic shoe laces.
  • To put on anti-embolism stockings (such as TED) or support hose, use a sock aid made of hard plastic.
  • Total hip replacement: Always follow your hip precautions as instructed.

Socks and stockings

To put on socks or hose

  1. Place the sock aid into your sock or stocking. Make sure the heel of your sock is at the back of the sock aid. For support hose, be sure to spread the hose over the sock aid evenly, without “bunching.”
  2. Hold the sock aid by the straps with both hands. First, do the foot of the leg that was injured or had surgery. This is called the “affected” or “weaker” leg. While holding the straps, drop the sock aid to the floor in front of the foot on your weaker leg.
  3. Slip your foot into the sock aid. Then pull on the straps to pull the sock aid onto your foot (see figure to right).
  4. Pull until the sock is up your leg. Keep pulling until the sock aid comes out of your sock.
  5. Follow the same steps to put a sock on the other foot.

To remove socks or hose

  1. Hold your long-handle shoe horn, reacher, or dressing stick. Use it to push the sock off your foot. Slide or push down along the back of your leg and heel (see figure at right).
  2. Use your reacher to pick up your socks from the floor.


To put on shoes

  1. With your reacher, pinch the tongue of the shoe.
  2. Then use the reacher to line up the shoe with your toes (see figure below).
  3. Slide your foot into the shoe. You may want to use a long-handle shoe horn in the back of your shoe .

To take off shoes, hold your reacher, dressing stick, or long-handle shoe horn. Use it to push your shoe off. Push it off from your heel.​

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