Compression Socks Offer Surprising Benefits You’ll Love

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Compression socks offer many benefits that may surprise you. For starters, they feel like a gentle hug for your legs, and who doesn’t need more hugs?

But that’s not all.

Compression socks have been used for decades in hospitals to help prevent deep vein thrombosis after surgery and promote wound healing in diabetics. They’re worn by nurses, restaurant workers, and pregnant women to help reduce calf swelling. And research shows compression socks may benefit athletes.

However, almost anyone who wants their legs to feel great can wear compression socks every day.

How does compression work?

In a nutshell, compression socks gently squeeze your legs to promote blood flow back to the heart, which reduces the risk of blood clots. Better circulation also means more oxygen-rich blood is delivered to muscles to help reduce the build-up of lactic acid that causes soreness.

Additional features such as targeted zones provide arch support and stabilize foot alignment.

Compression socks are considered medical-grade devices. Therefore, they are measured on an mmHg (millimeters of mercury) scale.

Here’s a quick overview of compression strengths:

  • 15-20 mmHg (over the counter) helps with mild swelling and fatigue. This level is suitable for everyday wear and travel.
  • 20-30 mmHg (Medical Grade Class I) is the most-used level for varicose veins and post-surgery. This level is most common for sports and travel.
  • 30-40 mmHg (Medical Grade Class II) is used for severe venous deficiencies and lymphedema.
  • 40-50 mmHg (Medical Grade Class III) requires a medical prescription and fitting.

What are the athletic benefits?

Research shows compression socks may speed recovery and improve performance in runners.

The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that wearing compression socks for 48 hours after exercising improved runners’ recovery rate.

“Below-knee compression socks are a valid, safe, and relatively inexpensive recovery method,” the study’s authors wrote. “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.”

The National Library of Medicine also found slight increases in endurance performance “due to improvements in running economy, biomechanical variables, perception, and muscle temperature.” The study’s subjects also experienced less muscle pain, damage, and inflammation.

Bottom line

Compression socks are considered safe for almost anyone who wants to try them. Light to medium compression may benefit athletes, travelers, and those sitting or standing for long periods.

Look for socks with moisture-wicking fibers that keep feet dry and help prevent blistering. Deep heel pockets, seamless toes, and extra cushioning provide added comfort.

You’ll also notice compression socks fit more snugly than regular ones. So, try wearing them for shorter periods until you get used to them. Before long, you’ll love the way your legs feel, and who knows, you may even consider running a marathon.

By |2021-11-05T13:31:12-05:00October 29th, 2021|Featured, Health & Wellbeing, Sports Injuries|0 CommentsBack to Home|

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