When you hear “compression socks,” what do you think of? Likely the image of over-the-knee socks will come to mind because they are the most common ones in the market that can cater to a wider base audience with different needs and medical conditions.
That being said, there is a need for ankle high length as some individuals might prefer the therapy around the ankle, shin, and foot only. Also, what leg health benefit does this length of the sock provides?
To help you make an informed decision on which length to go for ultimately, we’ll take a look at what compression ankle socks are used for, what to look for when you are shopping for one, the sizing and how to care for them.
What are Compression Socks?
Although they may look identical, these standard-looking socks are not the average ones you wear to work every day. They are medical devices created and developed in the first place to combat unhealthy leg symptoms, which in some cases, one is worse than another.
What Do They Do?
How do they help you to achieve better leg health? Well, it’s simple and straight forward.
They exert pressure on lower legs, often with the most pressure around the ankle, less towards the calf then the least pressure around the thigh or below the knee (depends on which length you go for, knee high or thigh high, etc). This is what we called a graduated compression.
This distribution of pressure provides the best and most efficient way to help accelerate blood flow by pushing the blood towards your heart, against the law of nature- gravity.
Now, you might feel confused by how on earth is gravity relevant to health at all?! Well, let me reel you into our little medical science space you could learn about some medical facts related to your health. Never too late to learn something new, right?
Why Does Anyone Need Them?
Blood circulation is the most crucial part of one’s health. Us, humans, have one heart. And the function of the heart is to pump blood to every nuts-and-bolts of your body.
That is how oxygen and nutrients are distributed throughout your entire body and also how you remove waste off your body- through blood circulation.
Once your blood circulation becomes disrupted and left untreated, often it will lead to a major health crisis. The best two examples I can give you are heart attack and stroke, how about that? But, in most cases, blood disruption often happens around the lower extremities.
Why is that?
Unlike the other parts of the body, the lower extremities rely more upon the muscle contraction and venous veins to push the blood towards your heart because of wait for it… Ta-Da! Gravity! But everyone is on their feet all the time these days or sitting the whole day due to our work.
If you don’t know it yet, standing and sitting for an extended period of time is the number one reason to cause a blood flow disruption.
This is why external tools like compression socks are vital to millions of individuals out there by functioning under the principle of improving your blood circulation so you can be as far away as you can from those horrible leg diseases.
Ways They Also Help:
- Provides Pain Relief to Achy Feet Problems
- Provides Comfort and Relieves Soreness of the Calf Muscle
- Provides Faster Injury Recovery Time
- Prevents Swelling (Edema) Around the Calf, Ankle, and Foot
- Provides Support to the Calf Muscle for Better Muscle Contraction and Muscle Stability
- Provides Pain Relief from Vein Related Conditions
- Provides Assistance to Venous Vein Valves for Better Blood Flow
The list goes on and on for the benefits it provides. Since we now have checked all the boxes on why these magical socks are very relevant to one’s health, we can now move on to why go for ankle high length instead of knee high or thigh high.
Ankle-High Compression Socks
Compression ankle socks are manufactured to exert pressure around the ankles, enhancing blood circulation. Improved blood circulation can bring health benefits that athletes can stand to gain from.
A good pair of compression ankle socks will be woven with high-quality synthetic fabrics. These fabrics are designed to hug your ankle tightly but gently. They tend to cover the entire foot and rise to just below your ankle, that region where a sneaker would hit.
Once you apply the socks, the pressure from the fabric will push oxygen-depleted blood out of the foot and back towards the heart. The improved blood flow and lymph flow will help reduce swelling in your feet.
Whether you are in search of ankle-high compression socks for sports or just daily wear, there will be one for you in the market. If you choose to opt-in for an extra high-pressure ankle compression sock, be sure to check in with your doctor before wearing your pair.
Hero of the Athletes
Compression ankle socks are designed with athletes in mind.
Research suggests that wearing compression legwear after physical activity can be a great way to delay the onset of muscle soreness, as well as aid in performance recovery. Since they are designed to enhance blood flow, oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood are able to move throughout your body more readily when you’re wearing compression legwear. This can give athletes an edge by curtailing recovery time.
There may be benefits to wearing your ankle compression socks during a work out too. The lactic acid that would otherwise build up in your legs can be reduced via improved circulation. They can also help you stay active if you suffer from hypotension, preventing you from fainting and experiencing dizziness.
Athletes: Which Length to Go For?
One of the benefits of wearing them is that they are more inconspicuous. Sometimes wearing a knee high compression sock just feels like too much. As an athlete, you may also be looking for a sock that feels less restrictive; ankle support socks that provide ankle support and applies pressure to the foot and ankle may be ideal.
Are you preparing for a marathon? Or maybe you’re just heading out for your first mile as an athlete or cycling perhaps? While finding the right pair of shoes is important, compression ankle socks are an essential piece of equipment that can give you an edge over your mates. Just like a great pair of shoes, a quality ankle compression sock will protect your ankle with firm support and can prevent the development of blisters.
But not all compression ankle socks on the market are as durable and comfortable as they claim to be. It might be confusing for a newbie to pick the right sock for the very first time. Let’s review these three simple, yet essential things to consider while you shop for a pair for yourself!
Choosing the Right Pairs
When searching for any compression socks, these are a few things to consider:
- Breathability: How do you think a runner’s clothes should be designed? That’s right; they must be breathable! That same design concept goes into whatever support legwear. They should be created from a breathable, quick-drying fabric to optimize the breathability capacity to the maximum. One of the functions of a good sock is its ability to wick sweat away from your feet as you run.
- Extra Padding: Extra padding is a nice addition to any piece of footwear. But not all of them come with extra padding. As you are selecting the right pair for yourself, think about your heels, arch, and toes. These are the regions of the foot that experience the most impact during physical activity. Choosing a pair of padded ones can give an extra layer of comfort while running.
- Technology and Special Fabrics: Modern technology has led to the development of new fabrics and designs that meet the specific needs of individual athletes. Depending on the weather you’ll be running in, the fit of your shoes or any skin sensitivities you have, there are options on the market created specifically with someone like you in mind.
Choosing the Right Size
Take a look at each brand’s sizing chart to find out which sock size aligns with your shoe size.
It is common for a size medium sock to align with a men’s shoe size of 5-9.5 and a women’s shoe size of 6-10. A size large sock would fit you if you wear a men’s shoe size 9-12 or a women’s shoe 10-13.
Be sure to confirm the brand guidelines against their sizing chart before you make your purchase. Socks that fit too large put you at risk of blisters. Socks that are too small may cut off circulation to the foot and lead to discomfort.
Variations to Go For
1. One That Matches Every Outfit
If you are in search of a pair of compression ankle socks, consider buying colors and styles that you will feel confident wearing with your current workout gear. Socks that match your outfits are more likely to get worn, and the more you wear them, the more you will reap the benefits of these socks.
ComproGear offers a variety of compression socks in easy-to-match colors within the range of 20-30mmHg of compression. Designed to be breathable, our blend of nylon and elastane (Spandex) allows for wash-resistant durability and compression.
2. Reinforced Heels & Toes
Reinforcement on the socks is a great way to add extra support and increase durability. The added reinforcement at the heel and toe of the sock strengthen the areas that tend to see the most wear and tear. Keep in mind that they are designed to prevent swelling, resolve cramping and reduce symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
The compression level of the socks will be affected if a hole or tear materializes in the fabric.
A reinforced heel and toe can help keep your compression legwear functional for longer. So, if you manage to see these sold in a multi-pack, pick one up. It’s handy to have multiple pairs on hand so you can put on a fresh pair before each workout. Keep another set ready to go while your other pair is drying or in the wash.
3. Copper-Infused Socks
Copper compression socks are made of breathable and lightweight fabrics woven with copper ions.
The copper functions as a natural antibacterial agent.
This keeps your socks fresh, even when they’ve been worn for extended periods of time. Generally, they would have a higher-cut ankle, so they will peek up above your shoes. Copper compression ankle socks usually have a pressure rating somewhere between 8-20mmHg.
The nice thing about open-toe compression socks is that it’s easy to pull on a pair of average socks over top. Since your toes are free underneath, wearing your day socks over top doesn’t feel too bulky.
You’ll enjoy a bit more freedom with your toes outside of the compression zone. Plus, open-toe socks are definitely easier to put on. They can also be worn with flip-flops in the summertime.
How to Care for Them?
Easy as 1, 2, 3!
It is safe to wash your compression ankle socks in a machine only if you use cool or warm water. Ideally, you’ll want to put your compression socks into a mesh laundry bag designed for delicates prior to washing.
Do not use hot water in the wash cycle or dry them in a dryer, as this can result in shrinkage. The heat can also damage the fabric, causing the socks to lose their compression.
Alternatively, you can hand wash your socks with a mild soap. Do not wring, stretch or twist the socks. Gently squeeze the water out and hang them to dry away from direct heat.
We have reached the end of the article and I hope you now have a better vision of which length to go for in terms of the practicality provided by different lengths of compression socks.
All and all, ankle support socks are great for any individual out there, especially for sports enthusiasts and athletes, and also people who are suffering from light to mild pain in the feet.
If you are still looking for wider options in terms of styles and how they can play a role in your everyday activities, work especially, consider compression pantyhose, compression support sleeves, etc. You have options among all the options in the market!
If I can give you some last bits of advice, always read the product descriptions and materials to avoid potential allergic reactions to the material used in manufacturing them when you shop for one.
Look at the star rating and review if you are shopping online, also the shipping and delivery T&C to avoid an unhappy buying experience.
Last but not least, never settle for low quality products. Shop with the intention of the overall value in mind instead of the price point only. If you can do all that, I’m sure you can find a pair that is right and worth it for you!
Now, what are you waiting for? Go shop a pair of ankle support socks for yourself now!