The use of compression socks among athletes is a new trend nowadays. Using compression socks is beneficial for athletes especially for those who engage in sports that require the heavy use of legs and feet. Falling under that category are the triathletes, who are involved in the three main events of a triathlon: swimming, running and cycling.
Triathletes use their legs and feet a lot during their trainings and most especially during the competition. And for that reason, the use of compression socks is highly recommended.
Some of the health benefits of using compression socks are:
Improved Blood Flow and Circulation
Due to gravity, the blood in the body tends to naturally pool in the lower legs and feet. This can happen whether a person is standing or lying down. Some important clinical applications of compression socks or stockings are for patients with varicose veins and for bedridden patients who experience forced immobility to prevent them from developing a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots.
Compression socks can help increase blood flow in the legs. By doing so, the by-products of muscle exertion, such as lactic acid, are transported quickly away from the legs. Lactic acid is the cause of leg pains and muscle fatigue that athletes experience during or after running. Compression socks helps in lowering the lactic acid build-up in the legs and it can also help speed up the recovery of the athlete’s legs after running. Using compression socks may improve the venous return and oxygenation to the muscles.
When the legs and feet are in use, whether in running, jumping or any activity that causes the feet to forcibly hit the ground, people experience muscle vibrations. These vibrations contribute to the delayed muscle soreness that athletes experience after a long distance run. Compression socks must be strong but not too tight around the legs.
The ideal pressure for athletes is 20-30mmHg. The most pressure is around the ankles and the pressure gradually decreases as it reaches the legs. Using compression socks helps in decreasing the inflammation and discomfort of the legs after trainings or competitions. Some compression socks come with padded heels to provide more comfort and support. It is recommended to replace socks every three to six months to ensure maximum support.
As an athlete, having sweaty feet after trainings or competitions is unavoidable. This is why athletes are more prone to bacterial and fungal infections. Bacteria and fungi thrive in warm and moist environments. The moisture wicking fabric used in compression socks gives it an antibacterial property and makes it more hygienic for athletes. It transfers the moisture from the feet to the socks. Removing the moisture from the feet decreases the chances of bacterial and fungal growth, thus, improving the health of the athletes. It is recommended to wash the socks with mild soap and water after every use.