Compression socks are socks that are designed to apply pressure on your lower legs to help them maintain blood flow and to enhance comfort and reduce swelling. They compress veins, arteries, and muscles on the surface of your leg, which makes the blood circulate in the legs through smaller channels. This makes the blood get back to the heart faster. So we ask ourselves, are compression socks good for running?
We are going to look at the compression socks from different angles, which will include their benefits, how they work, their types, and the side effects of using them.
Most compression socks are made in such a way that they are tighter around the ankle and less tight at the knee. When buying a pair, make sure they are not too tight. In the past few years, there has been a rise in the compression socks market, especially after some professional runners wore them in a marathon.
How do compression socks work?
That little pressure that you feel when wearing compression socks does a lot of crucial work in your legs which include;
- Helping the blood to flow back to the heart quickly.
- Prevents blood from refluxing back to the foot or into the superficial veins.
- Reduce the circumference of major veins and arteries, thus increasing the volume and speed of the blood flow.
Are there different types of compression socks?
The answer is yes. There are three major types of compression socks, and these are;
- Graduated Compression Socks- This type of sock has a tight compression at the ankle which reduces towards the top. They are mostly medical and are designed for mobility. They mostly require to be fitted in by a professional.
- Anti-embolism socks- This type is mostly for reducing a condition known as deep vein thrombosis. They are designed for people who are not mobile at all.
- Nonmedical support hosiery- These ones don’t necessarily need a prescription. They are mostly for hurting legs, relief if tired, etc. They input less pressure than prescription socks.
What are some of the benefits of wearing compression socks?
These socks have numerous benefits, and some of them are;
- They boost blood circulation in the legs.
- They help reduce the aches caused by varicose veins.
- They help prevent the development of deep vein thrombosis.
- They improve lymphatic drainage.
- They help in stopping leg swelling.
- They prevent blood from refluxing in your legs.
- They help reduce a condition known as orthostatic hypotension. (feeling unsteady when you stand)
Are there any side effects of wearing compression socks?
They can only bring about negative effects if;
- One is allergic to the material used to make the compression socks.
- One isn’t wearing them or removing them properly.
- The socks don’t fit properly.
Do compression socks work on athletes?
For athletes, the compression socks are mainly designed for swelling reduction, to reduce muscle fatigue and muscle soreness. A lot of research has been done, including interviewing some athletes. Some said that they didn’t feel any effect from the socks, some said compression socks are good for running.
The manufactures, however, stated that they have tested these socks and that the socks aid athletic performance because they improve the blood flow, which increases the supply of oxygen into the muscles, thus reducing muscle soreness.