You might have seen a lot of runners wearing compression socks either after runs or even during runs! So, what’s the deal with them and should you wear them too?
HOW DO THEY WORK?
Traditionally, compression socks were used in the medical field for bedridden/immobile patients who needed to improve their leg circulation and help prevent the formation of blood clots. They are basically a very strong, elastic sock usually worn up to the knee. They compress your veins and muscles so that blood is circulated through your legs via narrower channels. Blood then gets returned back to your heart faster, making it less likely to pool into your feet and cause swelling.
HOW WILL THEY HELP ME AS A RUNNER?
Compression socks are designed to reduce swelling, muscle soreness, and muscle fatigue experienced post-exercise. Some runners find that they don’t help them at all, and research isn’t completely in agreement on the benefits especially as it relates to wearing them while running. Many runners do find that the socks help speed up recovery post-run. We recommend trying them out to see how and if they could work for you!
WHAT SHOULD THEY FEEL LIKE?
Most brands apply graduated compression, so they are tighter around the ankle and less so around the knee making them kind of hard to put on. Since leg sizes vary, you need to find your correct size. They shouldn’t feel SO tight that they are uncomfortable but they should be tight! There are also different levels of compression ranging from 15 (lower compression) to 40 (medical grade) mmHg.