Many athletes use compression socks. This type of equipment is popular with athletes who use it to recover from injury, fracture, or edema in the legs or calf.
However, some studies show that compression socks or sleeves are not that effective and that they are a piece of equipment like any other that does not affect treatment. Can Compression Socks Help Athletes? Are they efficient? Here are some answers to clarify.
Do compression socks improve athletic performance?
From the start, some were sure to go faster and further thanks to the increased leg support offered by compression socks. Although most of the evidence is anecdotal, more contestants have become curious enough to take a chance.
What does the research say?
It’s mixed. Some studies seem to show a noticeable improvement in speed and endurance.
It has been recognized that most of the studies have been performed in the laboratory under artificial conditions. A single study, carried out in South Africa and tested under actual racing conditions, found a statistically significant difference in athlete performance.
The evidence is still being compiled, and the matter is still under discussion. Over time, it is possible to determine under what circumstances, or in combination with other factors, compression socks and calf sleeves for athletes can make a difference.
More or less well-founded advantages
The additional support of the compression sleeves has also been associated with a lower incidence of shin splints.
Some say the firm, enveloping support that reduces vibration and friction to muscles and ligaments improves mechanical efficiency. Because of this, users may experience less muscle strain from repeated impact with the ground.
Can compression socks help tired, sore muscles recover faster after a workout?
Many athletes have reported faster and easier recovery after physical training when they have tried compression stockings or sleeves.
These claims have been substantiated by research, which shows faster recoveries on average.
The athletes studied reported less pain, stiffness, fatigue, and twitching in the calves, especially when they kept the socks on for a while after their workouts.
One study found that when marathon runners wore compression socks for 48 hours after their run, they performed better in a treadmill test two weeks later.
Purchase of compression socks and calf sleeves
Of the compression levels available without a prescription, those designated 8-15 mmHg may not provide the tighter support of the 15-30 mmHg socks that athletes usually prefer.
So, are compression socks or sleeves good for shin splints, calf cramps/strains, and Achilles tendonitis?
Yes, the answer is that they will not cure any ailment if the only thing you do to treat your injury is compression. All damages must be evaluated so that the real cause can be treated.
Wearing compression can help relieve your injury as you recover, help you get through that last long run before your marathon, or possibly prevent another damage from occurring.
Rest, massage, stretching/strengthening, footwear, and training progress should be considered when having a leg injury.
And if you’re not injured, can you still benefit from the compression?
Absolutely! The increased blood flow will help improve your performance and decrease the rate of fatigue in your muscles. It will also help you recover faster, which means you’ll be ready for your next workout so you can train harder.
Should I wear socks or sleeves?
The answer to this question depends on several things:
If your injury is in your arch, ankle, or lower Achilles tendon, you will want a sock to cover the injured area. If your wound is higher, a sleeve should go.
Another factor to consider is the type of socks you like to wear. If you have a favorite pair of running socks that you can’t run without, you’ll probably like the sleeve better because you can wear your favorite socks with them.
Why wear compression socks?
If you are going to use compression equipment to recover, wear the sock. This is because the sleeve has graduated compression and can cause the effects of gravity. They can swell the feet and ankle because blood cannot flow past the tightness of the lowest part of a compression sleeve.
Wearing the sock and graduated compression will help keep the foot and ankle in good shape. Remember to wear compression shoes when going for your run or on a business trip.
Sitting in an airplane or car for an extended period can wreak havoc on the legs’ blood flow. Let the compression help your veins draw blood from your legs and return it to your heart!
Also, wear socks if you are trying to alleviate the symptoms of shin splints or calf pain.
Another consideration – the strong placebo effect
Some of the reported benefits of compression socks and calf sleeves for athletes come from what is known as the placebo effect. Can the belief that something makes you better make you better? In other words, if it works for you, why wouldn’t you?
Even if you can’t explain exactly why or if there isn’t a scientific study of how you feel if the physical support of socks or compression sleeves results in less physical confidence, then maybe behave you found your advantage.