I’ve talked a lot about compression socks over the past few months. The fact is, I just really believe the evidence: all the research suggests that compression socks are a useful tool for athletes, for those who suffer foot pain and, well, for anyone with feet.
But if for some reason you’re still not convinced, there are a few benefits to compression socks you may not be aware of. Whether you’re an athlete, someone whose job requires long hours on your feet or anyone in between, read on to find out the six benefits of compression socks you never knew.
1. Compression socks reduce calf cramping
I’ve mentioned once or twice that I’m a runner. Back in my day (I don’t want to date myself) I ran a marathon or two, and I was very good at it. Of course, finishing a marathon in 4:44:11 (pat, pat) requires long, long bouts of training.
That training is the devil on your legs. That’s especially true if you’re a beginning runner. But the pain you’ll feel in your calves, hamstrings and other muscles in your legs is real no matter your experience. It’s worst in your calves; it takes a very specific activity set to train those muscles, and your calves are susceptible to great pain if they’re not trained slowly and correctly.
Compression socks can help with that pain drastically. They’ll decrease the total movement of the muscles, increasing both stability and efficiency. Of course, you’re also helping to improve your blood circulation when you wear compression socks, and that is beneficial in preventing calf cramping as well.
2. Compression socks can prevent odor
It’s not one of your favorite things to talk about, I’m sure. But compression socks can help to reduce that “gym shoe” smell you get in your shoes. That’s not just true for athletes, either. Nurses, wait staff and even office staff will notice a remarkable difference in the “scent” of their shoes after switching to compression socks.
Compression socks are made partially of elastic, so you might think they’d cause your feet to sweat. Just the opposite is true, though. Compression socks were designed to wick moisture away from your body. This, in turn, reduces foot odor.
Don’t think compression socks will match your work attire? There are now hundreds of compression sock designs to choose from. Many are quite “fashionable,” and no one will even notice you’re wearing them.
3. Compression socks will keep you warm
It may seem pretty obvious, but compression socks, particularly compression stockings, will help to keep you warm when you’re outdoors. Athletes will find this especially useful when working out in cold weather.
But whether you’re an athlete or just playing in the snow, the warming effect of compression socks will decrease the likelihood of strains, sprains and tears. Aside from that, of course, you’ll be more comfortable!
4. Compression socks can help you heal faster
Compression socks are frequently prescribed by doctors as a healing tool by surgeons and physicians. They’ve been shown to help treat venous leg ulcers and lymphedema.
But compression socks can help to heal a host of other conditions as well. After surgery, they help to prevent dangerous blood clots. They reduce excess swelling, common after surgery, by pushing fluids back up into the circulatory system. And they can help to reduce the pooling of fluids around the actual surgery site, decreasing the instance of infection.
If you’ve had surgery or suffer vein disease, be sure to speak with your doctor about whether compression socks are right for your treatment. He can give you the green light, and will prescribe you the strength of sock best for your medical situation.
5. Compression socks will save your toenails
Alright, I know this is kind of gross. But if you’re a long distance runner, you might understand.
When you wear shoes which don’t fit properly, or if your shoes aren’t fit to your specific pronation, you risk black toenails or toenail loss. If your stride or gait is uneven, it’s a risk for you too.
It sounds like an unlikely disorder, but there’s actually a name for it. It’s called onychoptosis, and it dates back to ancient Greece. As you know, the Greeks were long distance runners, too! Aside from being an embarrassing condition, onychoptosis is very painful to some athletes.
You can help to prevent onychoptosis by wearing properly fitting shoes. You can also help by keeping your toenails trimmed. But did you know that compression socks will help to prevent you from losing your toenails, too?
Compression socks will keep your feet stable, and will keep you from rubbing your nails against your shoe. That, in turn, will help keep you from developing an embarrassing case of black toenail, or losing your toenails entirely.
6. Compression socks can save your social life
You’ve just left work for the day. On your way out the door, a few of your office mates stop you, asking you if you want to go to grab a few drinks. Unfortunately, you have to decline. You’re just so tired, your legs and feet hurt, and you can think of nothing else but curling up on the couch with a book.
Compression socks can help.
Now, I’m not saying that compression socks will guarantee you drinks with the girls. But what I am saying is that compression socks can reduce the amount of work-related fatigue you feel.
Prolonged standing at work has been proven to be associated with long-term ill effects on your health. Cardiovascular problems, back pain, general discomfort and pregnancy-related issues are all direct effects. Wearing compression socks can help to improve your circulation, correct your posture and alleviate the pain you feel at the end of a long day.
So while I can’t promise that you’ll be hitting the club every night, I can tell you with scientifically-backed certainty that you’ll feel like you could. Along with heaps of other benefits, give compression socks a try to see how they can help your energy level.
Here are the best ones you can find on the market: