Sports Compression Socks for Athletes and Runners
By: LegSmart - December 27, 2011

Anyone can benefit from the use of compression socks, not just those with medical conditions or poor circulation. In everyday life, Mediven compression stockings can help prevent tired, achy feet and legs from standing or walking a lot, as they reduce muscle fatigue.

Since compression socks are so helpful for day-to-day activities, they can work wonders for athletes. One of the biggest obstacles in the way of an athlete’s peak performance is muscle soreness from training and a slow recovery. Sigvaris Performance sports compression socks and sleeves may help increase an athlete’s performance and help his muscles recover faster.

Sports Compression Socks

Sports compression socks offer several different levels of support. Compression knee high socks only go up to the knee, while compression stockings go all the way up to the top of your thighs. Sigvaris compression sports socks are available for both men and women athletes, and use graduated circular knit compression that is tighter around the ankle and looser towards the top just below the knee. This graduated compression helps promote an athlete’s circulation. Some compression sock manufacturers even make compression socks that hug the arch of the foot in order to reduce the strain caused by repetitive impacts.

The compression range of socks vary in in tightness. The unit of measurement used for socks and stockings is in mmHg (millimeters of mercury), which is the same unit of measure used for recording blood pressure. Athletes generally benefit from sports compression socks or stockings that offer 15 to 20 mmHg or 20 to 30 mmHg of compression. Athletes who use sports compression socks and stockings with higher levels of support do so in order to promote the recovery of their muscles.

Using Compression Socks for Running

The use of compression socks for running is a rising trend. The specialized hosiery may have helped some athletes run faster or for longer distances before feeling muscle fatigue because there is an increase in blood flow and muscles to the leg muscles, as well as a faster elimination of lactic acid from the muscles after a training session or run. A 2010 study by R. Duffield, J. Cannon and M. King revealed that sprinters felt less muscle soreness after completing a series of 20-meter sprints and 10 bounds when they wore sports compression socks. A different study involving fit men who were moderate runners showed a 1.5% improvement in performance at the anaerobic threshold and a 2.1% improvement in performance at the aerobic threshold when the subjects wore compression socks.

Compression Socks for Cyclists

Cycling compression stockings have also proved beneficial for competitive and non-competitive cyclists a like. While cycling requires the leg muscles to perform in a different manner than running, they nonetheless suffer fatigue. Just as with compression socks for running, cycling compression socks help promote circulation in the feet, ankles and calves. The height of the compression sock can also benefit the muscles that support the knee. A 2004 study with 12 senior-aged men found that they performed better on a bicycle and the muscle recovery time improved while wearing thigh high compression stockings. Scientists found similar results in cyclists of different ages who also wore cycling compression stockings.

Recovery Compression Socks

Sports compression socks and stockings may help speed up the recovery time in athletes because the promotion of circulation helps reduce the swelling of muscles, edema (fluid retention) and general soreness. Moreover, compression socks tend to eliminate lactic acid in the affected muscles faster. When using sports recovery compression socks, make sure that you're also stretching following your normal recovery routine.

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LegSmart has been helping customers with Compression Socks and Stockings since 2006 and is made up of a dedicated team of Certified Compression Fitting Specialists. We're fully trained in all ready-made and custom compression garments for all kinds of leg health issues. We strive to be the most knowledgeable team of Compression Fitters on the web and we hope that you enjoy the free resources on our blog.