Do You Really Need Compression Socks For Running?

November 18,2021

In recent years, with the emergence of a large number of various running events, more and more professional equipment has become another scenery in the marathon. We can often see all kinds of running compression socks and compression leg covers appear on the runways of various running events. Professional compression materials claim to improve performance, alleviate fatigue and strengthen protection!


But in the eyes of many people, this may be just a kind of decoration to publicize their personality and an old school trend. Are compression leg covers and compression socks just decorative, or do they really have magical effects? As a runner, do you really need it?


compression socks


Principle of compression socks and leg covers


Compression equipment was initially used in the medical field to assist in the treatment of "swelling" related diseases such as lymphedema; Later, doctors found that compression equipment can play an auxiliary role in the treatment of varicose veins and other diseases, and can also prevent patients lying in bed from thrombosis after operation.


The principle is to provide positive pressure to the unidirectional flow vascular valve. The pressure difference between the ankle and the knee can promote the blood to flow back to the heart and resist the influence of gravity on the blood flow to a certain extent; The latter may lead to poor local blood flow for people with poor mobility (for example, long-distance travelers who often fly by air are advised to wear compression socks during flight to prevent thrombosis in deep blood vessels).


Function of compression socks and leg covers


  • Can improve running performance


The purpose of compressing the leg covers is to supply more blood and oxygen to the muscle by squeezing the blood vessels, so that oxygen and energy substances can enter the muscle faster, and also help metabolic waste and carbon dioxide be discharged from the muscle faster. In theory, this will help improve energy production efficiency and make runners run faster.


It's worth mentioning that if you don't run much at ordinary times, it's unrealistic to expect to run a marathon in a pair of compression leg covers. For mass runners with average ability, compression socks can alleviate fatigue or delay the occurrence of fatigue. Delaying the occurrence of fatigue is equivalent to improving sports performance.


  • Reduce muscle pain


In the process of running, the impact brought by the foot flying and landing will lead to muscle tremor, which is considered to be an important reason for muscle injury and delayed muscle soreness. In principle, by giving muscle support, compression leg sleeve can reduce muscle tremor and pain to a certain extent.


The compression effect of compression socks reduces the shaking of calf muscles in the whole running process, which can reduce the degree of muscle fatigue to a certain extent. At the same time, this external surrounding pressure also reduces the wearer's proprioception of pain and can run more smoothly and naturally.


  • Accelerated fatigue recovery


Wearing a compressed leg cover after exercise is conducive to the removal of metabolic waste and the timely introduction of substances required for muscle repair and reconstruction by accelerating blood flow. Some studies have shown that athletes and people who fly for a long time feel less pain after wearing compression leg covers.


Researchers at the University of Exeter measured the physical recovery and muscle soreness on the first to fourth days after heavy load strength exercise. They found that after exercise, the subjects who continued to wear 24-hour compressed leg covers significantly reduced their subjective muscle soreness, indicating that compressed leg covers can accelerate recovery and eliminate fatigue faster.


Not for all types of running


For short distance, such as running within 10 kilometers, the use of compression leg covers does not seem to be very useful, because short distance running has less fatigue. According to a comprehensive study by the European University in Madrid, the study recruited more than 20 runners. First, run five kilometers at the allocated speed of 6, and then try your best to run five kilometers. The results show that wearing compression socks is not statistically significant for running performance and efficiency.


Many runners who have worn compression equipment to participate in marathons for many times said that most people think that the effect of compression leg cover in the first half is not obvious. However, in the second half of the journey, it is obvious that the compression leg cover has a great fixation effect on the calf muscles. With the increase of distance and the invariable posture of road running, it is easy to produce fatigue. At this time, it is also obvious that the compression equipment can provide some auxiliary support.


In the cross-country race field, compression leg covers and compression socks can also protect the skin and prevent the risk of being scratched by weeds and branches.


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