What size compression socks should I buy if I have a running injury? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
Compression socks are a really useful tool if you’re recovering from a running injury because they can really help to apply a little compression and squeeze all that inflammatory fluid out of your foot, your ankle and your leg.
The reason that’s necessary is that in the phases of wound healing, the first phase is the inflammatory phase where your leg swells and then the second phase is actually the proliferative phase where you get proliferation or growth of collagen and repair of tissue that actually happens. Well, that phase doesn’t start until the inflammatory phase is over. So, if you get stuck in a cycle of inflammation where your foot stays swollen, it’s going to take longer for you to get back to running.
I have talked a lot about compression socks and they’re very, very tight. They’re difficult to get on but they can really do a lot to get that fluid out. And I was talking to a runner yesterday who has asked me about the exact right size for her because she was worried if they were too tight. It would actually hurt when she was pulling them on and if it hurts when you’re pulling them on, well, then you might be actually you might be stretching, straining, stressing the injured tissue, and that could prolong your recovery. So, you don’t want to do want to do that. But if they’re too loose, then you don’t get much compression.
When we were talking about this, I said “What I would do if I was you is I’d go online, I would order inexpensive ones because you’re probably not going to use them forever. I wouldn’t invest a tremendous amount of money into them. But I would get some inexpensive ones that you can get quickly. Then I would order two sizes not one size.”
When you look at the sizing it will tell you to measure your calf circumference and that’s where you base your size on. I would basically try to pick one size that’s in the middle of the range for you. That’s what’s thought to be the proper size and then I would also order a set that are a little bit larger, that’s the next size up.
Why? Really simple. Let’s say you get the ones that are the proper size for you nut it actually is really difficult to get them on or it actually hurts when you’re putting them on, then you’re not going to use them. So instead, what you do is for the first period of time you actually put on the larger ones and it kind of applies a little bit of compression, you sleep in those for a day or two. It kind of squeezes out some of the fluid and then it might be easy for you to get the other ones on at that point.
The other benefit is that if you put on the size that’s proper for you, and then you take the other sock that’s a little bit larger, and you put it on top of that one, you actually increase the compression further and it pushes out even more fluid.
So, think about the size that is best for you and don’t just get one, get two. One a little bit larger than the other and you’ll probably get the swelling out a lot faster to give you more options and you can get back to running sooner.
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