Dec 18, 2018
WEAR COMPRESSION SOCKS DURING & AFTER RUNNING
Compression socks have been around for quite some time and are primarily used to improve blood flow in patients with circulatory problems, swelling, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Within the last few years, compression socks have become increasingly popular among athletes and are used both during physical activity, as well as part of the recovery. Yet, many are still wondering; do compression socks indeed enhance performance and speed up recovery?
Many people (myself included), believe that wearing athletic compression socks during vigorous exercises help with better performance, improve blood flow, increase oxygen delivery, and reduce the risk of soft tissue damage, such as shin splints. But not everyone agrees and there are ongoing studies trying to pinpoint if (or not) compression socks for running, and other forms of exercise, actually provide the benefits so many of us are certain of. Are athletic compression socks truly better for performance?
According to a recent clinical study (published January 2019) done by the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, “Wearing compression socks during high-intensity running does not affect immediate performance. However, they have a positive impact on subsequent running performance. The underlying mechanism of such performance enhancement remains unclear, but may relate to improved oxygen delivery, reduced muscle oscillation and superior running mechanics”. Simplified, the journal states that compression socks for workouts have a positive impact on performance over time.
A growing number of studies suggest that the use of compression socks after strenuous activity, like running, may actually speed up recovery, decrease muscle damage, and reduce muscle soreness. Many athletes find that the time needed to recover between exercises becomes shorter when wearing compression socks due to promoting good blood circulation, decrease fatigue, general achiness, and discomfort, as well as alleviating any swelling. In particular, compression socks for running can help decrease recovery time after and in between runs.
A 2015 study found that “The use of graduated compression socks for 48 hours following exhaustive exercise does aid functional recovery in runners. Below-knee compression socks are a valid, safe, and relatively inexpensive recovery method. This study indicates all runners would benefit from the use of compression socks for 48 hours following exercise and they should see a 6% improvement in their recovery parameters”.
Improving performance and decreasing recovery time is a concern for any athlete. From athletic professionals to the casual gym goer, compression socks for workouts can greatly improve your working out experience. Compression socks can help improve performance over time and decrease recovery times.
In addition to the previously mentioned benefits, you may actually really like the way compression socks make your legs feel. Keep in mind, to get the benefits of compression socks, it is important to get the right amount of graduated compression. The socks should be tightest at the ankle and the pressure gradually decreases going up the calf to below the knee.
The ideal compression is still being explored, but current studies suggest that a graduated compression of 15-25 mmHg is ideal.