For some athletes, compression socks could be beneficial. Here is information on what compression socks are, what they do, and how they might help you. As always, consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.
What are compression socks?
Compression socks are snug-fitting socks that apply gentle pressure on the ball of the foot, around the ankle and on the plantar fascia. They are the tightest around the ankle and gradually get looser up the leg. The pressure helps to ensure that things stay in alignment and blood flow is improved while you’re wearing the socks. Compression sleeves work the same way but don’t cover the foot, just the leg.
What Do They Do?
The two most critical things compression socks or sleeves do is improve blood flow, which can lessen pain and leg swelling, and reduce your chances of getting deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a type of blood clot.
The compression helps your blood vessels function better by putting limited pressure on them, allowing blood to flow more easily. As a result, they can keep your legs from feeling tired and painful, keep swelling down, and help prevent varicose veins. Because they keep blood flowing, they can help prevent blood clots from forming.
Who uses compression socks?
Some athletes swear by compression socks. Better blood flow brings more oxygen to the muscles. Not only is this helpful during exercise, but the improved circulation can help muscles recover more quickly following intense or lengthy workouts.
If a doctor has prescribed compression socks, then you should follow their instructions carefully. (Some insurances will cover their cost if they’re prescribed by a physician.) You can also purchase compressions socks and sleeves without a prescription.
Although many athletes believe that compression socks and sleeves improve their athletic performance, there’s no direct evidence of this.
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