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Compression Socks Running – Should You Wear Them?

The Importance of Athletic Hosiery for Training and Fitness

athletes in  athletic hosiery on the track
Blood Flow during exercise

To be able to fully understand the importance of the best medical compression sock and sleeves therapy, you need to know the basics about how your blood is flowing all over your body.

Your heart is responsible for pumping blood rich with oxygen to you limbs and muscles via your arteries. Once the nutrients and oxygen in your blood have been used up by your cells, you blood is sent back to your heart through your veins.

Blood Flow During Exercise

Your lungs replace the oxygen and nutrients in your blood prior to the process starting over again. This is important for the performance of every runner.

athletic hosiery boost performance
athletic hosiery on a Runner out for a Run

Medical Compression Socks, Sleeves and Running Product

why you should wear them

Runners often wear an extremely strong medical gear for boosting blood and oxygen circulation, which you need for an intense activity (such as a 5k run or a marathon), fitness, cycling and recovery from injuries. The medical compression sock usually reaches the knees. Thigh high stockings may not be an ideal choice.

therapeutic pressure boosts athletic performance

The purpose is the compression of your leg’s surface veins, muscles and arteries. This enables your blood to circulate through the smaller circulatory venins. Your blood reaches your heart quicker, decreasing the chances of it pooling into your feet.

graduated athletic hosiery and their effect on performance

Most of the medical gear for activity, fitness, cycling, and recovery you will see use graduated medical compression. This means they are tighter at your ankle, less tight at your knee and can be difficult to put on.

breathable athletic hosiery for ladies
men athletic support hoses

Since everyone’s legs are different, both men and women running medical socks come in different leg sizes and mmHg to match your calf and foot measurements. It is important you do not wear your runners medical gear too tightly or you can compromise your blood circulation and recovery from injuries .

just what you need to enhance your performance on the track

Support medical gear, garments, socks, and stockings have been around for a long period of time. In addition to being beneficial for 5k, 10k and and marathon runners, they are also used in the medical field to increase leg blood circulation for individuals who have limited mobility or are confined to bed. They are an excellent tool for improving your blood circulation while you are running (5k, 10k or marathon), training, cycling and recovery from injuries after an intense activity.

Your blood cells function better when they receive more oxygen. Wearing support medical sleeves or socks helps your blood circulate better throughout your legs for superior training and recovery.

Oxygenation of Red Blood Cells During Running
better blood circulation with medical hosiery

Your blood reaches your feet faster so it goes back to your heart quicker. This improves your blood circulation, fitness and recovery from a 5k stretch, 10k stretch, a marathon, cycling or any other intense activity because your veins have more oxygen they need. Another important concept is athletic socks running shin splints. If you have had shin splints, you already know all about the painful and aching pain flaring up every time you run. It feels like it takes a lifetime to heal.

You probably tried elevating your legs, ice, rest and most likely had to stop running until your body healed. What you may not be aware of is the best medical gear or socks can help you recover faster from the pain in your shins.

major benefits of medical hosiery for athletes

The best medical compression sock and stockings provides stability and support for your lower leg. This helps alleviate the strain on your bones and muscles. No, this is not a magical cure and you will not heal instantly, but this will gradually and effectively help with recovery from a 5k, 10k, marathon, cycling and any other activity.

What will happen is you will experience relief. The best compression sock for shin splints has good arch support. A full sock is preferable to a sleeve.

How to Choose the Best Medical Compression Socks for Training & Running

The level of compression is dependent on numerous factors including the size, structure and material of the medical compression socks. Your personal preferences and the shape and size of your legs also play a role.

Support Levels in athletic hosiery for exercising 8-15 mmHG, 15-20 mmHG, 20-30 mmHG, 30-40 mmHG

Good compression socks are constructed of a combination of fibers and rubber with a firmer feel than traditional socks. The most commonly used material is twenty percent spandex and eighty percent nylon.

different levels of support

The medical compression therapy keeps your body in alignment, increases your recovery speed from a 5k, 10k, marathon, cycling, and any other activity, prevents you from wasting energy and improves your training efficiency and performance.

Both women’s and men’s running medical compression socks and stockings are available in different lengths and mmHg. The best compression socks for running should stop just below your knees. As a runner, you will need to choose the correct level of pressure. This is measured using mmHg.

The socks need to fit snugly without feeling painfully tight. The lower the number, the milder the compression. The majority of runners prefer 20-30 mmHg.

Although this depends on your personal preference, too high of a number will make your socks too tight while too low a number will not help you improve fitness or recover from a 5k, 10k, marathon, cycling or any other activity.

You need to measure your calves to make certain you purchase the correct size. Choose a fabric and texture that feels comfortable. You need to select different pairs for warmer or cooler weather.

You can find good compression socks in a variety of breathable materials including cotton, wool, spandex, nylon, polyester and lycra. It is critical you make certain you purchase a pair with the proper length.

Too Long = Bad Fit

If they are too long you will want to roll them down. This is equivalent to putting a tourniquet on your leg. You will restrict your blood flow and can cause a serious injury, especially during an intense activity, such as a 5k or 10k stretch, marathon and cycling.

How to Put them On

using a donning device to apply your athletic hosiery

To put on your compression socks, smooth them out to eliminate any bunching. Do not roll down the tops or they will be too tight. This can cut off circulation or result in blood flow issues.

Consistency means you need to wear them every time you go for a run in order for them to help you recover from an intense activity, such as a marathon, 5k, 10k, or cycling. If you have ever wondered should you wear good compression socks while running, the answer is yes.

Running Socks – Should You Add Compression?

Runner out for a Training Run in a pair of pink compression socks

This question can easily be answered by all of the benefits you will receive by wearing the best medical leg gear . This includes:

  • Enhanced Oxygen Delivery: One of the most critical aspects of your performance is ensuring there is enough blood-rich oxygen flowing to your muscles every time you choose to run.

    One of the worst experiences is being a marathon, 5k or 10k runner whose calf muscles lose strength prior to reaching the goal line. The best medical compression socks are critical for making certain your have optimal oxygen delivery.

    The entire purpose of a good compression sock is to provide compression gradually. This means they must be looser on the top and tighter at the bottom.

  • Fighting the Effects of Gravity: Another benefit for every runner is that the best medical compression socks help your legs fight off the impact of gravity because your blood is pushed right back to your heart.

    The stockings create pressure to help push fluid up your legs. Once your blood flow has been increased, all of the essential oxygen and great nutrients go to your legs when you need them the most.
  • Preventing Swelling and Cramps: The best compression sock helps decrease any excess movement of the muscles in your calves. This is the reason your calves become fatigued when you run.

    Wearing good compression socks may reduce the amount of effort required of your legs. When your muscles are not working quite as hard, the impact of fatigue is effectively reduced.

    Medical compression socks for running can additionally help control any swelling you have experienced in your legs, ankles and feet. As the socks squeeze all of these areas, the fluid buildup is prevented in your tissues.

  • Decreasing Lactic Acid: Good compression socks for running may also help with the soreness in your muscles. This issue has been experienced by all runners.

    Every time you exercise or run, your body produces lactic acid. This is basically a waste product. If you allow the lactic acid to remain in your muscles, you are going to be extremely sore when you wake up the next morning.

    This will prevent you from making the five-mile run you were looking forward to. The constriction of the socks will constrict your veins.

  • Enhanced Blood Flow: This is what you want since proper compression narrows your veins enabling your flow of blood to increase. This is referred to as increased velocity.

    This means both the lactic acid and your blood will reach your heart a lot quicker. This helps remove the lactic acid from your muscles so you will wake up the next morning ready for your run.

    If you are competing in a marathon, this is critical.

  • Leg Protection: Compression stockings protect your legs from abrasions and small scratches. If there is poison ivy on the trail, you will not need to be concerned. Any dirt kicked up during your run will collect on your socks as opposed to your legs.

  • Warmth: A lot of runners are more comfortable wearing shorts. When the weather is cooler, this is an excellent option.

    This is especially true is you do not like to wear tights. The muscles in your legs will also be kept warm. This is a good way to help stop muscle strain.

    Heat also relaxes bunched up and tight muscles by improving your circulation and getting rid of an accumulation of lactic acid.

Wearing Compression Run Socks to Help with Training and Recovery from an Intense Activity

Marathon Runner

Any serious athlete is always looking for new ways to improve their performance and hone their level of skill. Wearing this type of sock is still fairly new for any serious runner.

In the past, the compression sock was used in the medical field due to the numerous benefits. Physicians have been prescribing compression for decades to prevent and treat circulatory system issues and vein diseases.

Evidence has come to light that using compression is just as effective when you are going for a run as it is after having vein or leg surgery.

The popularity of using compression by runners has led to a lot of research being conducted on the subject. The effects of compression on both recovery and performance have been studied in numerous trials.

Studies of Athletic Hosiery

Some of these studies have occurred in a laboratory while others have taken place on the track. Different variants were used such as the specific type of socks, the materials, the actual distance of the run and the fitness level of the participants. Although there were some mixed results, most of them were positive.

It is important to note even the studies that did not find benefits between athletic performance and compression did not show any negative results.

Most of the studies not finding any difference were conducted in a lab. There are a lot of well know runners who swear to the benefits provided by a compression sock.

This includes the former record holder for the American 10,000 meters, Chris Solinksky, top runners such as the latest marathon record holder for women, Paula Radcliffe, the four-time Olympian Jo Pavey and the long-distance runner for Australia, Benitta Johnson.

The theory linked to the performance benefits is due to the graduated compression. This is what increases the delivery of oxygen to your muscles, speeds up your body’s elimination of lactic acid and increases the circulation of blood going to your heart.

Decreasing Vibration with Medical Compression Stockings

One of the most frequently heard theories comes from the Science of Running. They believe wearing compression socks decreases the vibration of your muscles resulting from the impact.

The decrease in vibration can reduce the amount of soreness often felt after a run in addition to increasing the actual power of the legs.

The studies conducted regarding performance have resulted in a wide variety of results. While many have concluded compression provides a significant benefit for performance, others have claimed the difference is minimal while still others have stated they found no difference at all.

Studies of Compression Stockings and Their Effect on Run Performance

The majority of studies conducted using real athletes as the participants have found the most performance benefits directly linked to compression. When all of the studies are considered, the results generally agree that compression stockings offer benefits for recovery.

Study of the Effect of athletic Socks on Recovery of Male and Female Athletes after a hard training run

Although most of the studies do not understand the reasons, muscle fatigue and soreness are decreased by using compression during your run. Compression also provides quicker lactate recovery.

Certain athletes believe using compression during their workouts not only improves their performance but their recovery speed as well. A popular online site called Competitor quoted Chris Solisky.

He said compression enabled him to recover from workouts significantly faster. He uses compression for all of his rigorous workouts.

As for the question of whether or not compression socks will help you with your run, the majority of studies say yes. Compression will decrease muscle soreness while reducing your recovery period.

The only point every single study agreed on was the compression must be graduated to provide any benefits for the athlete. The most compression must be placed on the ankles while gradually decreasing as the pressure moves up the calves. A wide variety of athletes believe the compression has improved their performance level.

Athletes claim compression has reduced calf strain and soreness while providing numerous recovery benefits. Compression is becoming extremely popular because it is favored by elite runners.

No adverse effects from compression have been reported.

This means wearing compression socks may provide you with the edge you have been looking for. If you are interested in improving your performance when you run, there is no reason not to give compression a try.

Make certain you purchase the proper stockings size and length based on your specific measurements, then see what kind of difference it makes.

Black Mens Compression Socks on a Runner