While compression socks are becoming increasingly popular amongst the running community, just how beneficial are they to a runner’s health and performance?
Compression socks are designed to be worn up to the knee, with the strong elastic squeezing around your calf muscles and compressing the veins.
In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at ten educated and scientifically proven ideas that explain why compression socks are so important for runners.
What’s more, we’ll also look to answer a number of the frequently asked questions.
1). Relief From Cramp And Swelling
One of the common causes of calf muscle fatigue is excessive movement.
However, the pressure applied by compression socks can limit this movement, which in turn, reduces cramps and fatigue, allowing you to run faster for longer.
2). Improved Oxygen Delivery
To be a successful runner, it’s essential that enough oxygen-rich blood is flowing through your body to the muscles. For example, the last thing you want is to lose strength in your calf muscles during the final mile of a race.
Fortunately, high-quality compression socks are looser on the top and tighter at the bottom (for proper circulation), ensuring that optimal levels of oxygen are delivered to your legs during a race.
3). Protection For Legs
Needless to say, wearing compression socks on your lower legs is much better than wearing nothing.
While this isn’t their primary aim, compression socks can protect your legs from scratches, abrasions, dirt, and poison ivy on the trails.
Similar to the previous point, compression socks are incredibly useful for keeping your legs warm and protected during the cold winter months.
So, if you’re someone who loves to wear shorts while running, compression socks are an excellent addition.
5). Reduced Lactic Acid
Whenever you exercise, your body will naturally produce lactic acid, which is a waste product.
Therefore, if you leave this lactic acid in your muscles, there’s every chance that you’ll be incredibly sore the next day.
If you want to avoid this muscle soreness, wearing compression socks while you run is a good idea.
6). Injury Prevention
Compression socks are beneficial for a whole host of lower leg injuries, including shin splints, calf strains, and Achilles tendonitis. Not to mention the positive impact they can have on your recovery.
7). Good On The Eye
While this is far less important than any of the other benefits on the list, who doesn’t want to look the part while churning out the hard miles?
Compression socks are becoming increasingly popular and fashionable in the running community, so don’t miss out.
8). Supply Of Nutrients
The pressure that compression socks provide can help to reduce the impact of gravity, and push important fluid up your legs.
This increase in blood flow is extremely beneficial as it helps to supply essential oxygen and nutrients to your legs when they’re in need of it most!
While there isn’t a ton of research on this, it’s widely believed among runners that compression socks can be used to improve recovery from muscle soreness after a long run.
10). Improved Performance
The final benefit on our list, and by certainly no means the least, is the effect that compression socks can have on performance.
Not only do improvements to blood circulation and lactate removal significantly help your running, these socks can also have a positive influence on your mental approach to long training runs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Wear Compression Socks At Night?
It’s advised not to avoid wearing compression socks at night, unless you’ve been told to do so by your doctor. This is because, while they’re known to increase blood flow and improve circulation, they’re not designed to be worn to bed.
Do Professional Runners Wear Compression Socks?
Yes, the vast majority of elite runners wear compression socks due to the wide range of health benefits they can provide.
This can be seen if you watch big races such as the Boston Marathon, with most professional runners wearing both compression socks and calf sleeves. Some runners even wear compression sleeves on their arms.
Should You Wear Compression Socks If You Have Peripheral Neuropathy?
Some people suffering from peripheral neuropathy experience dry and cracked skin on their feet. Therefore, socks that are a firm, soft material are often the most comfortable.
Furthermore, if your peripheral neuropathy has advanced to a stage where you have no feeling in your feet, it’s a good idea to wear socks that fit perfectly to your feet, so they don’t rub against your skin.
Needless to say, compression socks should be avoided as they’re not ideal for sensitive skin and other skin-related infections.
Do Compression Socks Make Varicose Veins Worse?
Compression socks tend to exert a greater amount of pressure near the ankles and feet to provide an extra squeeze. This is beneficial because it promotes blood flow.
While some studies suggest that compression socks can improve certain symptoms of varicose veins, there’s little evidence which supports the idea that compression socks alone can rectify the issue.
Are Compression Socks Good For Diabetics?
Yes, compression socks can help to combat many symptoms of the disease by reducing aches, swelling, and pain in the legs and feet. They’re seen as a viable, non-invasive treatment for patients suffering from nerve damage and poor circulation.
The Bottom Line
To conclude, compression socks are becoming an important part of running attire, and with good reason. There are lots of impressive benefits, from warmth and protection to improved oxygen delivery and lactate removal.
Hopefully, after reading the information in this guide, you’ll be able to recognize the benefits of compression socks, and be in a much stronger position to decide whether they’re something you want to add to your running attire or not.