Compression socks and sleeves have gotten a fair amount of attention lately. They’ve been popular with people who spend a lot of time on their feet or are bedridden – both have concerns about proper circulation. In recent years, however, compression has become popular with athletes.
How does compression work?
A high-quality compression sock or sleeve applies direct, gentle pressure to a specific area of the body. Compression helps to improve circulation and ensures more oxygen gets to the muscles or back to the heart.
Help to heal.
Our feet and ankles carry our bodies, meaning they bear the brunt of our weight. That stress can make them particularly prone to poor circulation, which can lead to swelling and pain. It can be a domino effect! The pressure of compression, however, helps to ensure proper circulation so that the oxygen carried by blood reaches where it needs to go. That’s what makes them so popular with people who spend a lot of time on their feet, sit for long periods, or are bedridden.
But compression can be beneficial for athletes for two reasons.
- If you’re recovering from an injury, proper circulation is vital for healing. The nutrients and oxygen in the blood help repair muscle. Wearing a compression item can help push critical nutrients to your muscles. Some athletes make them a regular part of their daily routine to help with recovery.
- Some athletes will wear compression for sore muscles. They either wear them at night to help with soreness or help prevent it.
Compression can be made a regular part of your workout and wellness routines, just as you would a healthy diet, stretching, and safe exercises. Some athletes wear them while training, while others wear them while stretching after they workout to ensure better circulation.
There are three types of compression socks to consider:
- A low profile compression sock can be everyday wear targeting your feet to help avoid swelling.
- Midrise compression socks add more support and circulation.
- A calf compression sock can better address circulation throughout the entire leg and lower body.
You can also try a compression arm sleeve if you have issues with your elbow!