Doing any type of exercise is recommended for everyone, but sometimes long and intense training sessions may lead to some uncomfortable consequences. These refer to the feeling of tightness and cramps in the lower parts of the body which may further result in bad swelling and pain. While many sportsmen ease up on intense training to alleviate the symptoms, others turn to compression therapy which helps them get through any type of exercise. This kind of treatment has been around for many years and has been used to prevent and manage various venous issues and reduce swelling and achiness in the legs and feet.
The best thing about compression garments is that they may be used by everyone of all ages and for all kinds of reasons. Recently, compression socks have become a must-have part of any athlete’s sports gear as they help them boost their performance and recover quickly from muscle pain and injuries. So, if you are a fitness enthusiast and wish to reach new athletic heights, here are some tips you should follow to help you find the best compression socks for running which will accommodate all your needs.
Choosing between socks and stockings
There are three types of compression stockings and these are graduated, anti-embolism stockings and nonmedical support hosiery. However, before getting your compression garments, it is recommended that you think about what the affected area is on your legs. This will certainly define what kind of compression garment you need. For example, knee-high socks, which are an example of graduated compression stockings, would be sufficient if you have swelling in your ankles. They end right below the knee and are considered the most comfortable and easy stockings to put on.
On the other hand, thigh high stockings are usually worn if you have swelling above your knee. For that reason, they are worn at the top of the thigh covering the entire leg, improving the circulation in the lower part of your body. Because the stockings vary in size and compression levels, it is advised that you consider all factors when you are choosing your stockings type in order to achieve the results you want.
The best materials to achieve maximum comfort
The material for your compression garment is very important as it helps define the level of comfort you are looking for when running. For that reason, you should look for stockings which are made from breathable materials and have moisture-wicking and skin-cooling fabric properties. In general, compression socks are made from many materials which are produced in different combinations to achieve the desired elasticity, softness and appearance of the stockings. For example, microfiber is one of the finest and most natural materials which regulates the temperature and allows the skin to breathe. Spandex is another material which is known for its extreme stretchability and it helps hide any imperfections there may be in the affected areas in the legs. A third material that is also used in the making of stockings is nylon which is used to achieve softness, elasticity and high-strength.
Choosing the right level for compression
The compression level for your stockings is another important factor you must consider when choosing the right fit for your run. There are five main compression levels measured in millimeters of mercury or mmHg for short. As the number increases, the level of compression will increase too. For that reason, different compression levels serve different purposes. For example, the first level of 8-15 mmHg helps maintain healthy blood circulation and it reduces the symptoms of swelling. When it comes to sports socks, the compression level of 15-20 mmHg is mostly used because it offers greater support to the legs. This will certainly help you protect the lower part of your body in intense training sessions and running. It is important that you remember to look for those compression socks which will apply the right amount of pressure on the affected areas like your ankles and less as you move up the leg in order to avoid a decrease in blood flow.
Selecting the right size for your compression socks
There is no standard size when it comes to choosing your compression socks. Even though they are stretchy, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look for the ones that will fit you best. One way to get the right size for your socks is to measure your legs and feet. Depending on the type of stockings you are getting, you should take measurements of the following parts:
- Your ankle circumference
- Your calf circumference and length
- Your thigh circumference at the groin and length
The key is to identify the exact point of pain because that will most likely define your stocking type. Other measurements that sometimes play a role in determining your compression socks size are your weight and height. However, if you are confused with your measurements, there is a compression socks sizing chart which can also help you choose the best size for you.
The perfect style for every look
Another very good thing about compression socks is that they come in a wide variety of styles and colors. This means that you don’t have to go for any dull designs, but instead for some cool styles that can match your work out gear. Runners often go for dark-colored socks such as black, gray or navy blue as they don’t show any dirt they get from running. On the other hand, bright-colored socks are usually worn while doing indoor exercises as they get less dirty. The best thing about these socks is that you don’t have to limit yourself and wear them only while working out, but you can also incorporate them into your everyday outfits. The different designs and patterns these socks have make it easier for you to style them with your work clothes when you are in a hurry or while you are casually running errands.
Wearing compression socks while doing any type of exercise can certainly be beneficial for increasing the blood flow and alleviating any swelling and pain you may be feeling in your legs. Keeping a pair of compression socks in your sports gear can help you recover after long runs, especially if you are running marathons, and get you through your workout sessions without any discomfort. So, by combining them with a proper running form and the right pair of running shoes you will be able to achieve better athletic performance and higher endurance in no time.