Compression Socks Running Benefits: What Are They?
A popular question asked about compression socks is whether they provide benefits for runners. There are many who question their value. The truth is that while small, there is evidence showing that there are compression socks running benefits. They are able to provide extra fuel to muscles and assist in the reduction of fatigue and recovery. If you are serious about your running, with so many inexpensive options available, compression socks are worth trying.
How Do Compression Socks Work?
To understand compression socks running benefits, you first need to understand how compression socks work. Graduated compression socks promote the circulation of blood through the legs. Graduated means that the compressive strength decreases over the length of the sock. They are tightest around the ankle and as the sock moves up the leg, the compression strength reduces. This effectively pushes the blood upwards towards the heart. This combined with the increased blood circulation encourages not only the flow of blood towards the heart, but also the flow of fresh blood coming from the heart.This fresh blood is full of oxygen and other vital nutrients which effectively act as fuel for the muscles.
How Do Compression Socks Benefit Runners
Compression socks benefit runners in a few ways all of which stem from the increase in blood circulation. The increased oxygen and other nutrient delivery into the legs has several powerful effects on leg muscles. Not only does it provide extra fuel to the muscles, giving a boost in performance, it reduces lactic acid, can help to prevent cramp, and minimizes muscle fatigue.This all works in combination to give a competitive edge to the runner.
Compression socks not only benefit a runner during the actual event of running but also during recovery. After the running has taken place the leg muscles will be fatigued and will require recovery. Wearing compression socks during this recovery period makes the recovery process more efficient. The extra blood and oxygen circulation helps to repair and rejuvenate the tired and sore legs. This enables them to recover faster, so by reducing recovery time the compression socks enable an athlete to train again faster. This decreasing recovery time can be especially useful for a serious runner who is training for an event. The extra training it allows enables a performance boost.
One of the other main ways that compression socks benefit a runner is by supporting the muscles. With each stride, vibrations are sent through the leg which causes the muscles to oscillate. By wearing compression socks, the muscles are supported and this oscillation is reduced. This can help prevent fatigue and damage occurring. A great example of this is shin splints. Wearing compression socks can be very effective at preventing shin splints from occurring. By supporting the calf muscles and pressing on the shins each vibration from the stride is reduced. Shin splints have the potential to cause dramatic reductions in training ability and so any preventative measures is definitely a benefit.
One of the lesser obvious compression socks running benefits relates to runners who enjoy trail running. Wearing compression socks provides protection to the lower legs which can be particularly useful when running through densely vegetated areas.
One of the most common questions asked by athletes about compression socks is whether or not they actually work. At the end of the day, this really depends on the intensity of the training. For those who go for a short jog three to four times a week, there will be little benefits from wearing compression socks. However for those who are serious about their running and go for extensive runs several times a week, the compression socks not only have the potential to promote improvements in their training, they help to reduce recovery time. Compression socks are particularly useful for competitive athletes who benefit from the slightest competitive edge.
An example of when compression socks are particularly beneficial to a runner is during an endurance event such as an ultramarathon. Wearing compression socks will not only reduce fatigue and squeeze every last drop of performance out of the muscles but will significantly reduce recovery time which will be highly beneficial to the overall outcome.
Should You Be Wearing Compression Socks?
While studies have shown that there are benefits to wearing compression socks for runners, the improvement in performance that they provide are marginal. They will by no means cause a dramatic effect on athletic performance. However for serious runners or those training for a major event, the evidence does indicate that wearing compression socks can have a positive impact. Deciding whether or not to wear compression socks is an individual decision but are worth wearing for those who are striving to achieve that marginal improvement.
Are Compression Socks Worth The Money
To answer this question you need to ask yourself how serious you are about your running. With so many inexpensive options available on Amazon, purchasing a pair of compression socks will not break the bank. If you feel that you may achieve a boost in performance from wearing compression socks, then they are in the least worth the experiment. That said there will be little difference in potential benefits between different brands of compression socks. So it is not necessary to go with a more expensive option.
Which Compression Socks Are Best For Runners?
To get the full benefits of compression socks they must be graduated compression socks as these do the most to promote the circulation of blood and oxygen around the legs. There are various types of compression strengths available. For runners, the most appropriate level of compression strength is 20 - 30 mmHg.
Compression Socks Running Benefits: The Bottom Line
There is evidence to show that there are compression socks running benefits. They are able to provide a small yet important boost in athletic performance in a variety of ways. They assist in feeding your muscles, reduce fatigue and assist in muscle recovery, reducing your down time. With so many inexpensive options available online, they are worth giving a go. If you have any questions about the benefits of compression socks for runners please feel free to leave a comment below.