Compression socks can help reduce swelling and improve blood circulation in your feet and lower legs if you’re recovering from a sprained ankle, plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis, which many hikers experience at some stage in their hiking “career”. I’ve used them to relieve the pain and symptoms of all of these ailments and most recently from a sprained ankle. They’ve helped me heal faster by reducing swelling and increasing blood flow to the injured areas.
In the past, I’ve used CEP compression socks to help heal my plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. The problem is that CEP compression socks are really expensive, costing upward of $40 or $50/pair, depending on the size and height of the socks you buy. For my sprained ankle, which is now mostly healed, I switched to SB Sox Compression Socks which are sold on Amazon and cost $11/pair or one-fourth of what the equivalent CEP compression socks would have. The SB Compression socks turned out to be just as good for my needs and I wore them throughout my recovery process.
If you’ve never tried them, compression socks are snug-fitting, elastic socks that gently squeeze your feet, ankles, and calves. They’re available in different heights and degrees of compressive pressure, measured in mm Hg (mercury). I used the 20-30 mm Hg model for my sprained ankle and bought a few pairs that I could rotate through. I only needed them for one ankle, so each pair went twice as far.
Compression socks work by reducing the amount of effort your body needs to make to return blood from your feet and legs to your organs and lungs where it can be cleaned and replenished. The increased blood flow helps to reduce swelling and increase the rate that an injury site can heal. It’s a very simple idea that used to helps athletes recover faster as well as surgical patients.
The SB Compression socks are sized based on the thickness of your calves and not your shoe size. The pressure exerted is also graduated, meaning that they’ll be tightest around the ankle, but diminishing in pressure higher up your leg. Compression socks are best worn during the day only and not at night when you’re prone and the body needs less help to return blood to your organs and core. They definitely feel tighter than regular socks, but they’re not uncomfortable to wear. They just have a very different sensation and don’t just disappear into the background like your regular hiking socks,
Another benefit of compression socks is blister reduction, which might be of interest if you get hiking blisters a lot. Compression socks are very wicking, meaning they move moisture away from your skin to the exterior of the sock where it can dry and evaporate. This in combination with the fact that they go on skin-tight without any folds or wrinkles, means you don’t get blisters, or as many blisters when you wear them.
While my sprained ankle has healed, I’m still strengthening it by ramping the distance and difficulty of my hikes up slowly. I’ve continued wearing a compression sock on that ankle as a proprioceptive reminder, kind of like tying a string around your finger, that it’s not in tip-top shape. That sock probably wouldn’t stop another ankle roll like the one that caused the original injury, but it’s less annoying to wear than an ankle brace and provides enough proprioceptive warning to alert of a potential footing issue.
These SB Sox Compression socks are an inexpensive alternative to much more expensive compression socks because the company sells directly to consumers through Amazon, rather than spending money on Internet advertising and marketing. I think they’re a quality product and a great deal that I wanted to make you aware of. They also come in a lot of rad colors and patterns if you’re a hiking fashionista and want to have a little fun while you heal from a hiking injury
Disclosure: The author purchased this product.
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Last updated: 2020-08-04 02:31:06
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