As a runner, undoubtedly you’ve come across somebody wearing compression socks at some point in time when there's just a long run, you call a running store, see it, you're at a race, somebody's going to have them on, and you're wondering, how do compression socks work for athletes for runners? Do they have any effect? Is it worth getting any?
If you haven't visited me on the channel here before, I’m Jesse funk, and this is a show I called Runner's High, where we talk all about running, I answered all of your questions from the serious to the silly and everything in between. So if you haven't been with me here before, hit that subscribe button, stick around for more videos about running. I also have another show called The Smart Athlete Podcast on this channel, comes out on Fridays, where I interview interdisciplinary athletes in all kinds of fields, from pros to amateurs, to do all kinds of amazing things. So you'll want to check that out, hit that subscribe button and stick around.
Now, let's talk about compression socks. Are they effective? Do they work? What do they work? How do they work? Are they actually worth anything? The basics of it. The most unscientific way I can explain conversion socks is basically that they squeeze your legs, they don't allow blood to pool in all of your veins in those areas, and then pushes the blood back up towards your heart to continue to circulate. By doing that, it then allows more blood nutrients to get into those areas and help repair tissue. So that is the basics of how compression socks works?
And why it's good for Runners because we use our legs all the time. We need them to recover faster, and so we put compression socks on them. Because we want to get nutrients, get more oxygen, get all the bad stuff out as soon as possible. But you may be wondering, how do I choose? What are the options? What are the numbers mean? Because there are a lot of options out there. 1 sock, 2 sock, white sock, blue sock, as you try to sort through all of these options, there's a few things to look at. But the thing that you might find is the amount of pressure a particular sock gives. So this will often be labeled NNHG.
So this is a unit of pressure, and then you'll see anywhere from like 10 to I think almost 50 for prescription style compression socks, because doctors will prescribe different kinds of pressure for different issues, different medical issues.
Now, that isn't our particular use. But it is something to keep in mind. Now I've seen different recommendations for runners, and they typically range from 18 to 30. I haven't seen any higher than that. As I always say I’m not a medical professional, just trying to report the best information that I know. But in that range, there's obviously some play, and I know that personally, there are some I've had, I won't say any particular brand, because I actually had mixed results from one particular brand I use for a number of years where I really liked the socks, I felt they did well for me. But they also were too tight and ended up like overnight, I would feel like they were cutting into my shin, because the compression was too tight at the top of the sock.
So there is a little bit of trial and error for your personal use to find the right thing. But if you start with that range, then that's going to be the thing to do. Now, I use in particular for recovery. But the other thing to consider is that something leaves him for performance and wear them while running. Now, it may be the improved circulation, that is what is helping with performance in running.
Because we know generally speaking, if you're wearing compression gear, often there's some kind of demonstrable performance improvement. But there's also another affected another effect to take into account. Now the other effect is a reduction in oscillation, meaning we're not bands coming down having all our parts jiggle around and move while running. This is something that can be a positive effect, and often, from what we can measure it reduces fatigue in muscles.
Now, when we reduce fatigue in muscles, then consequently we can perform to a higher standard compared to if we allow ourselves to fatigue sooner, and that's simply obvious. If we don't fatigue, we continue performing at a high level and then we are having a better performance.
So it may not just be that simple matter of compression is going to increase blood flow, it can also be that there's a reduction in oscillation or reduction in movement and fatigue resulting from that oscillation because you're wearing those compression socks or leggings whatever you want to wear.
So, now, you know the two basic ways that compression socks help you. Both hopefully in recovery capacity to improve blood flow, oxygenation, nutrition to those areas and then removal of lactic acid and all bad stuff and then also the reduction and movement of your muscles, when you're performing reducing fatigue and making sure that you can perform at a higher level for a longer amount of time. What I want to know from you is; have you used compression socks? Do you plan on it? What do you use and what's your experience?
So, I like to shape this as a community, leave it down in the comments below not just to let me know but also to let your fellow runners know. What's your experience? What do you recommend? Leave it down in the comments below, I look forward to hearing from you. I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner's High