The Benefits of Compression Socks for Runners

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Any runner knows that it does not take a whole lot to convince you to try something new.  Especially when it promises to enhance your performance.  Faster races, easier recovery, superhuman powers and more are all associated with the hot new product for runners, but compression socks stand out as something that truly can enhance your running routine.  Let’s look at it closer.

What Are Compression Socks?

Compression socks are a specialty piece of leg wear that applies a steady, mild pressure to your foot, ankle, and thigh.  The idea here is that your blood flows throughout your entire body, but it can eventually begin to pool into your lower extremities.  Phlebitis, thrombosis, and edema are all possible results from this kind of pooling, but most people will only notice a cramp in their lower leg or a sense of fatigue.  Compression socks work to prevent these kinds of problems.

What Are The Benefits?

The pressure of compression socks provides a number of known benefits:

Increased blood flow

Your body can always benefit from an increase in blood flow.  With blood’s tendency to pool in your feet, anything that will increase that flow provides a huge benefit to you.  By increasing the flow during a run or race, you will be better able to flush out the by-products of muscle fatigue.

 Limit swelling from long runs

On longer runs, and especially marathons, your feet and lower legs will begin to swell.  This swelling can cause your shoes to fit tighter, weigh more, and create an interference in your zen like race focus.  Once your shoes stop fitting due to swelling, you will develop sores and end up finishing your run in pain that can take weeks to subside.

 Faster healing after races

The day after a marathon is usually a pain filled holiday of sitting in bed watching Netflix.  The kind of soreness that occurs after that level of exertion is not easily overcome and many people would give anything to get rid of it.  Studies on runners in real world races found that their ability to recover was dramatically enhanced.

 Feel less fatigue

Having less fatigue is really a byproduct of the increased blood flow, but it is worth mentioning on its own.  In many cases, your heart and lungs will be chugging along, but your lower legs might start to give out.  By enhancing the flow of nutrients to them you will be able to run farther and faster.  When using compression socks, you are realizing the full extent of your training.

 What Should I Look For?

Make sure that you get the right kind of socks so that you can get the most benefit.  Your compression socks should be tighter at your ankle and it should decrease as they move up your leg.  This can change with use as they stretch out, but out of the box they should fit this mold.  22-32mmHg of pressure is the ideal level that you should reach for.  Other than that, as long as they fit you in the right way and are within your price range you will be doing fine.

Check out compression socks even if you haven’t cared for them in the past.  I do not care if you don’t like the way that they look, you are trying to run, not compete in a beauty pageant!

This article was written for by James S., a guest author