Sunday, 14 December 2014

How well to compression socks work?

At the beginning of November, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to run the 2014 NYC marathon.  I had a blast racing the event, but as I write this article, my legs are yet to functionally bend at the knee thus rendering stair walking a hilariously debilitating act (hilarious for those around me anyway).  Time to speed up the recovery process…but how?  Today I am going to take a quick look at using compression socks.

How compression works
Researchers now understand that compression socks help with recovery, to a small degree, when used after a hard effort.  The mechanism of action is simple: it helps to prevent pooling of blood and facilitates better venous return (aka enhanced blood transportation from the legs back to the heart).  The reason why this works is because veins (the blood vessels that feed blood back to the heart) do not have muscular walls like the arteries that bring blood away from the heart.  So, while arteries actively help to pump blood away, veins rely on that momentum generated by the heart and arteries, and simply act as passive channels to bring the blood back.

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