Should You Wear Compression Socks While Running: Benefits And Side Effects

If you are a professional runner and are associated with the sports involved in running, you may have heard about compression socks for running. Some people swear with them and never start their activities without wearing compression socks; however, others may have wondered why they should wear compression socks while running? Sometimes, this is your personal choice of wearing compression socks while running and, sometimes, it is circumstantial to wear compression socks for running and other activities. If you are thinking of buying a pair of compression socks for athletic activities or running, you should look at the possible benefits and side effects of compression socks to make the right decision for you.  

What Are Compression Socks? 

Compression socks are special garments designed to apply gentle pressure to your lower legs, helping to reduce discomfort and swelling and improve blood flow. Athletes, especially runners, are recommended to wear compression socks to prevent injuries and speed up the recovery process following a leg or calf injury. Compression socks are of different types and are worn for a variety of purposes. 

Types Of Compression Socks 

Compression socks are of different types according to their compression levels. You need to consult your GP or professional trainers to know the best compression level according to your needs. The following are the types of compression socks runners and athletes used to wear: 

Graduated Compression Socks: Graduated compression socks provide the strongest compression level at the ankle, which gradually decreases towards the top. They are designed for mobility and improve certain lengths and strength. 

Anti-embolism Compression Socks: Anti-embolism compression socks are considered the best tools to reduce the chances of deep vein thrombosis. 

Non-medical Support Hosieries: These socks provide elastic support hoses and deliver uniform compressions that exert less pressure than other compression stockings. 

Benefits Of Wearing Compression Socks 

1. Improve Blood Flow 

The circulatory system pumps blood from our heart to other organs through veins. The blood recirculates back to the heart when muscles contract. Recirculating blood can be disrupted in the case of any vein disorders, resulting in poor blood circulation. Compression socks enhance your muscles ability to pump blood back to the heart from the lower legs, promoting blood flow throughout your body. 

2. Reduce Blood Clotting Risk 

The formation of a blood clot deep in veins may result in deep vein thrombosis, DVT. This happens most commonly in the legs. DVT, if not treated, can lead to serious conditions, such as pulmonary embolism, a condition in which a blood clot travels to the lungs and blocks the artery.     

3. Diminish Leg Swelling 

Swelling may not seem severe, but fluid buildup in the calf or leg is very painful and can restrict your running and other sports activities. If left untreated, swelling or pressure can burst blood vessels, leading to possible infection and keep you away from the running track or playing court for a long time. Every time you feel swelling during or after running, you need to wear compression socks for the prescribed amount of time. 

4. Support Veins And Muscles 

Whether you are a professional runner or weekend warrior, you need to support your veins and muscles to perform well. The studies have shown that high intensity and short duration running builds leg muscles; however, long-distance running can cause significant muscle damage, inhibiting muscle growth. Compression socks help reduce the pain you feel after exercises or long-distance running. This is because the compression socks allow you to get rid of the waste products more quickly.  

5. Reduce The Chances Of Injuries In Runners  

Long-distance running and other sports involved in running and jumping can cause several injuries, including knee pain, plantar fasciitis, ankle pain, and Achilles injuries. Compression socks keep your leg and calf stabilized and also improve blood circulation, oxygen flow, and temperature regulation, helping prevent injuries whilst running. As well as this, regular running can cause muscle oscillation that can restrict your running routine. Wearing compression socks helps reduce muscle oscillation to have a safe running experience. 

6. Speed Up Recovery Process 

If you experience injuries during or after running, your GP or professional trainers suggest wearing compression socks. Compression socks provide needed compressions to the injured areas and promote blood circulation, helping speed up the recovery process following a leg or calf injury from running. 

Side Effects Of Compression Socks 

1. Causes Itchiness And Dry Skin 

Some people or runners have sensitive skins, which become irritated due to compression socks. Under certain conditions, you may also suffer from dryness or itchiness. If you have such problems, you should apply a moisturizing lotion before and after wearing compression socks. As well as this, you should also consult your healthcare provider to choose the right compression socks for you. 

2. Make You Feel Uncomfortable 

Wearing compression socks or other braces to support your legs or calves can make you feel uncomfortable, especially during summer days, because they cover most of your legs.  

3. Can Worsen Some Medical Conditions 

Runners with some serious medical conditions are suggested to avoid wearing compression socks because they can worsen their conditions. For example, if you have a peripheral vascular disease affecting your lower extremity, you should avoid compression socks. The studies have shown that the pressure applied by the compression socks can worsen the ischemic disease.   

4. Loss Of Blood Circulation 

The primary purpose of compression socks is to promote blood flow to improve your athletic activities, such as running. But, wearing improperly and poorly fitted compression socks can restrict blood flow, causing loss of blood circulation and other problems.    

5. Calluses Formation 

Wearing too-tight compression socks can cause calluses and corns formation. As well as this, they can also cause numbness and tingling sensation when worn for a long time.  

When To Wear Compression Socks 

The duration of wearing compression socks depends upon your needs. You can wear compression socks all day if your healthcare providers or professional trainers recommend doing so. If you have chosen the right size and worn them accurately, you can wear compression socks as long as your running or athletic session is over. Besides this, compression socks are helpful to promote healing after injury or surgery. It is better to wear compression socks under the prescribed amount by your GP. Remember that wearing compression socks for a long time can be harmful and worsen your pain and other symptoms. 

How To Choose The Best Compression Socks Indeed, compression socks help reduce the chances of injuries in running and other athletic activities. As well as this, they also help to promote healing after an injury. But, you need to choose the right compression socks to get maximum benefits. At 360 Relief, you can find a variety of compression socks to choose the best according to your needs.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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