Every good athlete knows that having the right equipment is essential to success. Pads, helmets, and other performance gear help athletes look great and avoid injury. Considering that over 3.5 million sports related injuries occur every year, it's important to take preventative measures.
One piece of gear an athlete might overlook, however, is their socks. Socks aren't just for keeping warm or making shoes fit more comfortably. Rather, compression starts are an important piece of performance gear that offer many benefits.
If you've thought about using compression socks, but aren't sure what all of the benefits are, then keep reading. Let's take a closer look at how changing your socks could affect your performance.[caption id="attachment_252" align="alignleft" width="1024"] Athletes in compression socks running marathon[/caption]
What are Compression Socks?
In order to understand the benefits of compression socks, it's important to know what they are and how they work. This will help you determine if compression stockings are right for you.
Compression stockings are garments that are specially designed to apply pressure to the legs. This pressure allows blood vessels to work more effectively by helping the blood move through veins and back to the heart. This is why many people wear compression socks during long flights to improve their circulation.
Compression stockings should provide a mild amount of pressure, without feeling too tight. This allows them to promote circulation, rather than cutting off blood flow to a part of the body.
Compression Stocking Prescriptions
In some cases, a doctor may actually prescribe compression socks for a patient in order to treat certain conditions. For instance, this is a common treatment for patients with blood clots, as the compression helps move the blood through the veins.
Compression stockings are also an effective treatment for varicose veins. Patients with these veins often experience itching, swelling, and fatigue in their legs. By aiding in circulation, compression stockings can relieve these symptoms, and allow wearers to be active longer.
Pregnant women, who often experience pain and swelling in their legs, can also benefit from compression socks. This is because fluctuating hormones can lead to increased volumes of blood in the legs. Compression stockings help keep that blood moving and prevent clots from developing.
Doctors also may prescribe these socks after surgery. The increased blood flow helps promote healing in the affected area and reduces pain and swelling.
Some people assume that compression clothing is only for treating medical conditions or injuries. But compression stockings are not only for people with varicose veins or blood clots.
In addition to these medical benefits, however, compression stockings can also be useful for athletes.
How Compression Stockings Reduce Injury for Athletes
While compression stockings can be great for long stationary periods, they can also help runners in periods of high activity. Running, like other types of exercise, produces a lot of lactic acid. Build up of lactic acid can lead to painful muscle cramps.
Wearing compression stockings improves blood flow in the legs, which prevents lactic acid from building up. Wearing the wrong kind of socks can cause an uneven circulation in the legs, leading to muscle soreness.
Also, aiding circulation also helps oxygen move throughout the body. By making sure that oxygen gets to all of your muscles, compression stockings can help prevent injury.
This effect can also be helpful for other types of exercise. For example, athletes who practice cross fit will appreciate the way these socks support the muscles while performing intense kicks and stretches. If you play a sport that requires a lot of arm movement as well, you might want to consider wearing both compression stockings and compression sleeves.
Also, compression stockings are moisture wicking, which makes them more comfortable to wear when sweating. The close-fitting material also won't chafe like other fabrics will.
Benefits for Outdoor Athletes
For athletes like marathon runners and soccer players who compete outside under a variety of conditions, compression stockings offer some unique benefits.
For one, the coverage provided by compression stockings offers protection from the elements. This reduces the risk of mosquito and tick bites, exposure to poison ivy, or even just cuts and scratches. This is especially helpful for runners or hikers who like to explore wooded areas.
Compression stockings also come in handy during inclement weather. If it's rainy and muddy, they'll help keep your legs clean. If it's cold, compression stockings will keep your legs warm and your blood moving.
Aid in Post-Workout Recovery
A common phrase heard among athletes is "No pain, no gain." Certainly, the hard work associated with building strength can cause discomfort and soreness. Even so, it's important to take care of the body between workouts to avoid pushing yourself too far and causing injury.
Wearing recovery compression socks can help rejuvenate your muscles and get your body ready for your next workout. So, in addition to wearing compression stockings during your work, wear them on your "break day" as well. This will help repair muscle tissue, and will minimize muscle soreness.
No matter how careful you are as an athlete, it's impossible to avoid injury entirely. Luckily, compression stockings can help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with common sports injuries.
For instance, evidence shows that compression socks can reduce swelling. So, if you experience pain or swelling after your workouts, compression stockings can provide relief. This is an especially good feature for athletes who have sedentary jobs, as long periods of sitting can actually make swelling worse.
Step Up Your Game with New Compression Socks
Whether you are suffering from painful swelling, or simply want to improve circulation during your workouts, compression stockings can be a great choice for you. These garments will keep your blood flowing, which will allow you to walk, run, and jump longer with less pain and fatigue.
Here at EC3D, we're proud to offer a wide range of compression stockings, including styles for both men and women. All of our socks are made with innovative compression technology and backed by our warranty.
Have you made the switch to compression socks?
What has your experience been like?