Anyone who has run in anything from a local 5k to the Boston Marathon is likely to have seen at least one person wearing knee-high socks. For colder races, you may have thought this was to keep their legs warm while still wearing the shortest pair of shorts they could find. In the summer, these people stand out like sore thumbs and probably leave you wondering why they are wearing knee-high socks in 90-degree weather. More than likely these people are wearing graduated compression socks.
Graduated compression socks have been used for years by doctors to increase venous blow flow in patients’ legs. These socks are now becoming a popular commodity in the running community and everyone wants the best and brightest, just like the trend of wearing the best compression shorts for basketball. While a flashy pair of compression shorts and socks will make you stand out, is there an actual benefit?
In medical application, there are numerous studies showing the benefits of graduated compression. In the sports world, there is a growing camp of researchers supporting benefits of compression socks. Many athletes have taken to wearing the socks and now swear by them. During South Africa’s Two Oceans ultra-marathon, runners wearing compression socks ran an average of 12 minutes quicker than those who were not wearing the socks. These runners also were found have recovered faster than the others.
So why do these socks seem to help with performance and recovery? With increased blood flow in the legs, the socks will increase oxygen levels in the muscles, which in turn decreases muscle fatigue. Increased blood flow will also provide the muscles with more nutrients, allowing them to recover faster. Graduated compression socks are also known to lessen the duration and severity of delayed onset muscle soreness caused by longer runs or runs with steep downhill sections. Every runner has their own comfort preferences and the only way to know if these socks will work best for your specific needs is to try them.
Whether you are looking to buy arm sleeves online or learn more about the benefits of compression clothing and other sports tips, Sweat It Out is the go-to source for all things sports attire related.