Compression therapy has long been used in the medical setting, but did you know that many athletes have also started to consider compression socks as an indispensable component of their training attire? In medical facilities, compression socks are more commonly used on post-operative patients as a means to promote proper healing and better blood flow to their lower extremities.
Over time, it was discovered that the benefits of wearing compression socks can also be enjoyed by athletes and regular people who want to stay healthy as they go about their everyday tasks. This has helped boost the popularity of compression socks for men and women as training and regular work socks.
What Makes Compression Socks Different from Regular Socks?
Compression socks come in all forms, shapes, and sizes, but in general, they all provide a higher level of compression compared to your average socks. The added compression can be light, mild, moderate, or firm. The lighter ones are often used in more casual settings, such as at the workplace or in a gym, while the firmer models are often reserved for treating venous disorders and can be acquired with a physician’s recommendation.
All in all, the compression socks accessible to the general public don’t look much different from the regular socks that people wear every day. It’s difficult to tell one from the other by looks alone, though you can definitely feel the difference once you switch from regular socks to compression socks.
How can added compression from wearing special socks help the body? Well, the added compression supports the legs, particularly the veins, and promotes better blood circulation. When a person tends to stand or sit for long periods, then the veins in their legs need to work against gravity to send unoxygenated blood back to the heart.
The extra effort that goes into this task can strain the veins and cause blood to pool to the lower extremities. This can also damage the vein walls in the long run and lead to venous disorders such as varicose veins and ulcers. Fortunately, wearing compression socks offers added support to the veins and can help reduce strain and long-term injuries.
How Do Athletes Benefit From Wearing Compression Socks?
People who have switched to compression socks report feeling more invigorated and supported, especially if they have to stay on their feet or sit for long periods. At the same time, athletes who wear compression socks as they go about their training and everyday routines have good things to say about making the switch. Many claim that their compression socks helped them improve their performance, lessened their fatigue levels, helped reduce the occurrence of injuries, and promoted faster recovery after a workout session.
To be clear, a lot of research still needs to be done to determine if using compression socks can help an athlete perform and feel better overall. However, it’s also possible to attribute the positive effects of wearing compression socks on athletic performance to how these special socks improve the body’s efficiency.
For example, the added compression makes it easier for the veins to do their job properly, promoting better blood circulation even in the middle of intense physical activity. The added compression can also help the body deal with the extra vibration and stress due to running, jumping, walking, and other physical activities.
At the same time, many compression socks have features other than providing extra compression. They’re often designed to fit better, provide improved cushioning, and have better moisture-wicking capabilities, to name a few. These can add to a person’s comfort and help them feel much better even after spending half of their day doing intense workouts.
What Should Athletes Look for When Buying Compression Socks?
Athletes are spoiled for choice when shopping for compression socks for men and women, as they can easily find brands and models that offer high-quality products in a wide variety of designs and lengths. Now, to find the right model of compression socks, you need to be more cognizant of your needs as an athlete while doing your shopping.
Ideally, how long should the socks be so you can feel that you’re adequately supported while working out? Also, what level of cushioning and compression do you require from your socks? Aside from the length, design, and compression level, what other features or properties do you want your compression socks to have? Asking these questions ahead of time can help you narrow down your options.
Also, you need to watch out for signs that the socks you bought don’t fit you well. A pair of socks that’s too tight can cut off circulation and cause bruising and skin irritation, and it can do you more harm than good.
Why not try out compression socks today and see what the hype is all about? Put a pair of well-fitting compression socks on and see for yourself if these can help you improve your routine and training.