Shin splints1 are the commonest overuse injury seen in runners or sports persons. It is caused due to applying excessive force on the shin bone. It is called as an overuse injury.
Do Compression Socks Help Shin Splints?2
Compression socks do help shin splints. However, to understand this better let us first have a look at how the blood flows in our body and what function these socks perform upon the blood circulation. This will give us a better idea about how the compression socks help shin splints.
Our heart pumps oxygenated or pure blood to our body organs and muscles with the help of arteries. The cells of our body, then use up the oxygen from the blood and the deoxygenated or impure blood along with other waste products is returned to the heart through the veins for purification. The lungs then purify the blood and the process is done again and again.
Keeping up the flow of purified blood to different organs and body parts is important for their performance and functioning. More the oxygen supply to the cells, the better they perform. Body produces lactic acid during exercises. This lactic acid needs to be removed from the muscles. If not, it can cause pain and performance reduction. Muscle fatigue3 is also a factor for decreased performance. The muscles experience vibrations during an exercise. These tiny vibrations contribute to fatigue over time.
Let us now see how the compression socks function and help our body. Compression socks and sleeves are designed in such a way that they provide a gradual compression. This implies that the compression is the most at the foot and ankle and reduces as the socks become comparatively little loose at the calf and above. This compression counteracts the effect of gravity and helps in a better flow of deoxygenated blood to the heart.
According to a recent study, the consistent compression can dilate the walls of the arteries. This results in an increased blood flow through them to the different body parts. Arterial blood flow increases up to 30-40% during exercise and recovery. This means there will be an increased arterial blood flow with the help of compression socks.
The veins, on the other hand, will constrict and the velocity of blood flow through them will increase. Increased velocity of blood through veins will ensure that the deoxygenated blood and waste materials reach the heart quickly for oxygenation. This will also decrease muscle pain and fatigue as lactic acid will be removed quickly from the muscles. Compression will also help in decreasing the muscle vibrations. This will help in reducing muscle fatigue significantly.
To sum up everything, compression socks are good for shin splints and other injuries. However, they will not be helpful in curing the condition all by themselves. Your injury or shin splint should be properly evaluated by a specialist and measures to treat it should be implemented immediately. Compression socks can help you feel better as your injury heals, prevent another injury and may help you in that last task that you must simply perform. However, they cannot be a replacement for any treatment measures and can act only as a supportive therapy.
You can use compression socks even if you are not injured. They will help you perform better and may prevent an injury from happening. During a recovery, they will help you better so that you can get ready to train for your next session.
Shin splints are a result of an overuse of your lower leg muscles. They result from an inflammation of the tendons that connect your muscle to shin bone. They are curable and preventable. While they go away on their own most of the times, wearing compression socks can help you feel better while you are resting for a shin splint. However, they cannot cure shin splints or other injuries.