This blog post is written by Laura, a firm believer in the value of compression wear. She is a running enthusiast, and writes about the world of compression wear at Compression Info.
The Benefits of Compression Sleeves
When it comes time for your next big race or even weekend hike, wearing the proper footwear can be essential for ensuring the best experience for your body. Yet, as you open up your sock drawer, you see you have your compression socks alongside your compression sleeves. For the best experience possible, this time, you should choose to wear your compression sleeves.
What is the difference between compression sleeves and compression socks?
Compression socks will cover the entire foot- from the tip of the toe all the way up to the calf or even the knee. There are different types of compression socks, though for runners and hikers the typical choices feature graduated compression. This means they provide gradient (or reducing) pressure up the leg. Compression socks can be difficult to put on and often times needs to be fitted by an expert to ensure proper functionality for the wearer.
Compression sleeves start from the top of the ankle and go up to the bottom of the knee. Compression sleeves can be easily worn by any athlete or those looking for added comfort when they run or hike. Compression sleeves are much easier to put on and off than compression socks, especially if the foot is wet from sweat. In fact, compression socks are difficult to remove from a sweaty foot and nearly impossible to get back on once they’ve been removed.
Wearing compression socks in a race can be risky- especially if you need to visit the first aid station due to an injury and you need to remove your compression socks. If there’s any sweat, you’re going to have a difficult time removing your socks and you can forget about putting them back on.
Benefits of Compression Sleeves for Running and Hiking
Compression sleeves can bring several added benefits to active runners and hikers. Wearing compression sleeves can increase the overall running or hiking experience, as well as the recovery period after it’s all over. A few of the main benefits of wearing compression sleeves include:
The added support from the slight pressure of compression sleeves can give runners and hikers a more comfortable experience when they are hiking or running. According to runnersworld.com, the added pressure will support the muscles of the calves, while at the same time controlling the muscle movements. This added support and control will help prevent muscle oscillation that results after endless pounding from the impact of running.
Recent studies have shown that adding compression sleeves to your run or hike will enable your arteries to dilate, allowing more blood – and therefore more oxygen – to flow through them. As stated at fleetfeethartford.com, arteries can have an increase of 40% more blood flow during the activity and an increase of 30% of blood flow during the recovery period.
After a long run or hike, wearing compression sleeves can assist in the muscle recovery. Dr John Jakeman states that compression sleeves can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the muscles due to the rate of cellular membrane turnover in the damaged muscles following exercises such as running or hiking.
In summary, compression sleeves can truly benefit your next run or hike. Whether you notice the benefits during or after the extended exercise, your legs and feet will be thanking you and you won’t want to run or hike without your compression sleeves ever again.
Editor’s Note – Getting the socks on your foot and leg: When I was at the Outdoor Retailer’s Show in Salt Lake City I learned a great tip that helps when putting on compression socks. One at a time, put your hand down the some from the top into the sock’s heel. Hold the inside of the heel and turn the top of the sock inside out down over the bottom of the sock. When the sock is rolled over the heel take you hand out and you have the opening into the foot part of the sock. Slide you foot in and work the fabric onto the foot so the toes are set in the tip of the sock. The simply roll the sock up and over the foot and heel and up your leg. This is much easier than struggling to pull the sock over your foot, ankle and calf.
Compression socks and sleeves are also valuable then flying or doing any long distance travel where you are seated for an extended period of time.
I came home from the OR Show with one pair of compression socks, a pair of toeless compression socks, and a pair of compression sleeves. Over the coming months, I’ll report more about these.