A couple of weeks ago, Compression Advisory Experts made themselves available for a UK Run Chat hour to answer questions that members had about compression.
As 140 characters is a bit limiting, we wanted to follow up with slightly more comprehensive answers to the questions that were put to us by UK Run Chat Members.
If you have any questions for us, feel free to leave a comment for us and we’ll answer promptly.
The following questions were posed directly to @VR_legwear on Twitter
What are calf guards?
Calf guards are also known as calf sleeves. They are compression socks, without the foot part. Some athletes prefer them as they can go barefoot or vary their choice of ankle sock depending on the weather/shoes etc.
Do you recommend sleeves or socks? | Are calf sleeves or socks better for an Achilles injury?
During recovery or periods of immobility, we will always recommend socks over calf sleeves as in socks you are getting compression over the foot as well as the calf. Sleeves are only designed for wear during activity and when training it’s down to personal preference which you choose. Some people like to adapt their choice of ankle sock to the weather and thus prefer sleeves. Others may prefer the extra support over the arch and ankle that the socks provide.
For an achilles injury, a sock may irritate the area less than the calf sleeve (though seamless, the fabric edge will be over the injury) and offer more ankle support.
Best worn during run or during recovery? | Is compression good for recovery? If so how long should you wear it for?
There is more research to support wearing compression during recovery. Most of the benefits of compression are to do with improved recovery by improving venous removal of toxins and waste products of muscle activity. It is also once you are immobile that your lower limbs are likely to swell and become uncomfortable rather than during activity.
During activity, compression supports your joints and reduces muscle oscillation. There is also evidence that wearing compression aids proprioception (knowing where your feet are) which can reduce instability and the occurrence of minor injuries.
For best recovery results, compression should be worn for a period of 3 hours or more after exercise. For example, if you run to the office, you could wear compression while you sit at your desk during the day, to help you recover and support your calf while you are likely to be immobile for long periods. Compression has been shown to greatly benefit those who suffer with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
How do I know if my compression is too tight?
Firstly, when buying compression, you should have to take your leg measurements and give your height and shoe size to get a correct fit. (See more). You should also be aware of the compression class of the garment you are purchasing and the science supporting its use for your needs.
If you’re finding it more uncomfortable as you wear it.
Note: It is normal for compression to feel tight/uncomfortable when you first put it on.
If correctly fitted, this should subside as you get used to the pressure. If it gets worse or you start to feel pins & needles, pain, numbness etc. then the garment is too tight.
Can you recommend some funky styles for men?
From the VR Range we can recommend:
For sport, the Performa and Orignal Super Fit offer a range of colour options in socks. The Performa Lite and ProBoost Lite offer many colours of calf sleeve.
For Daywear and Recovery, there are stripes, spots, argyle and plain options.
Many compression companies have embraced individual style when designing their products. Once you’re happy with the quality of the compression and the fit of the products, there are plenty of stylish options out there for you. (If you’re looking for something in particular, drop us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org. We can recommend a supplier or might even design our own for you!)
Is there any compression designed to help stop you from becoming too warm?
Temperature control is down to the fabrics used in the products (See more). Sports products are designed for moisture-wicking and dryness. The Performa and Performa Lite have panels specially designed to aid breathability.
Travel products are designed for breathability and comfort. The Original Super Fit and ProBoost Lite are made from very thin fabric, to prevent you from becoming too warm.
Remember, the UKRunChat community get 10% off on www.vitalactive.com with discount code UKRUNCHAT