Running with Compression Socks
Compression running socks. I know you’ve seen people wearing them- at the gym, the race starting line, and even on the basketball court. Have you been wondering about this trend too? So when I was contacted by Triangle Vein Clinic in Cary, I was quite eager to learn the reasoning behind compression running socks. It turns out; it’s not so much of a trend, but a therapy for your legs. Interesting, yet I still had plenty of other questions, like how do the socks benefit runners and athletes?
My research began at the Triangle Vein Clinic where I was measured for a pair of compression running socks. I keep referring to these socks as running socks, but the accurate term is graduated compression socks. The term graduated is used to describe how the socks fit tighter around the feet and ankles and gradually become less tight as they go up your leg. The graduated compression supports the normal flow of blood in the leg. Wearing the wrong size socks can negatively affect your circulation. That’s why it is necessary to go to a medical office like Triangle Vein Clinic to get accurately measured for a pair of compression socks. It took less than 10 minutes to get measured for my socks, and I brought an entourage of kids with me too.
The socks come in a variety of colors. Naturally, I chose pink since I would be wearing them in the Komen Race. The Triangle Vein Clinic ordered the compression socks for me, and in a few days they arrived at my house. I wish I had ordered them before I started training for the 5k. I tend to push myself during training, and after my last run the week of the race my legs felt Every Bit of It. I lost a week of training when the kids and I got strep, and I literally made up for lost time on my legs. Shin splits and leg cramps plagued me the night after my run. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to run the race. Then my compression socks arrived.
I carefully slipped the compression socks over my feet and pulled them up to my knee. The socks tightly hugged my feet, ankles and legs, yet it didn’t feel constraining. My legs felt refreshed like they were taking a breath of fresh forest air. The cramping pains that lingered from my last run slowly evaporated, and I was energized to run the Komen 5k on Saturday morning. I was still worried about the after effects of running a 5k. Would the pain be worse?
I looked at the box my socks came in (Sigvaris Performance Socks) and on the back it clearly stated that the socks support the legs and feet in the following ways:
- Improved blood circulation & increased oxygen delivery to the muscle tissue for longer endurance.
- Stimulates & stabilizes compression of active muscles for faster regeneration.
- Reduces aches and cramping to optimize performance potential.
- Achilles tendon protector that reduces vibrations on vulnerable ligaments.
- A footbed cushion zone & toe protector fabrics for comfort and protection against blisters.
I wasn’t about to quit the race because my legs hurt, and now that I had a pair of compression socks I felt empowered just holding the socks in my hand. It was nearly 80 degrees when the race started at 7:30 a.m. There wasn’t much of a breeze when I started running down the street. I could feel the sun bearing down on my head. I was thankful I wore a visor. I was worried that my legs might feel hot in my socks that stopped just short of my knee, but honestly in-spite of their tightness my legs felt cool and comfortable. The box proved itself right, and my aches began to feel minimal. I stopped thinking about my legs and began to focus on the race.
The real test of endurance for the compression socks would be after the race. Would the pain come back? Were the socks just a band aid of sorts during a run or exercise? When I went home after the race, I took the socks off, and I waited. I was waiting for the pain and cramps to return. I looked at my watch; it had been three hours since the race, and still no pain. In fact, the pain never came.
I talked to a few other people that wear compression socks, and I learned that they are good for your legs during in-motion activities like running and exercise, when you sit or stand for long period of time. I wear my socks every time I exercise now, and my legs are loving it. Do you suffer from shin splints or leg cramps after exercise? Or maybe your curious about treatment for vein problems? Contact the Triangle Vein Clinic in Cary, and their helpful staff will schedule a time for you to be fitted for your very own compression socks.
Do you wear compression socks when you exercise? Have you thought about trying compression socks?