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Fast-Drying Compression Socks?
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Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
Fast-Drying Compression Socks? on 05/13/2012 14:42:48 MDT Print View

My physical therapist has put me in compression socks when hiking, so I have a pair of these CEP socks: http://www.cepcompression.com/1928-Running-Compression-Socks.aspx.

They compress quite effectively so are nearly impossible to put on or take off without losing a fingernail. However, they seem to take forever to dry, which doesn't make sense considering that they are 85% nylon, 15% spandex, does it?

I'd like something that dries faster, if anything like that exists.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Fast-Drying Compression Socks? on 05/13/2012 15:35:11 MDT Print View

Hi Jack

> My physical therapist has put me in compression socks when hiking
Did he explain why? The idea seems to fly in the face of everything I know about feet and physiology.

[soapbox]
Their web site says:
'The better the blood flow in the arteries, the better the muscles are supplied – and precisely this supply can be positively influenced by compression.'
and
'Even when an athlete is at rest, CEP compression socks increase blood circulation by up to 30%** shortening recovery time.'
But these are CLAIMS, and are not supported by properly conducted independent research. They offer NO proof at all.

Any time you apply compression around the leg and feet you constrict the blood vessels which can only REDUCE the blood flow; it can NOT increase it. Reducing the blood flow does NOT increase the amount of oxygen available to your muscles; it can only reduce it. The idea flies against physics and common sense.

They also claim a cooling effect:
'Cooling effect when damp! CEP’s use of performance yarns quickly transports moisture away from the skin. By moving moisture to the outside of the garment evaporation is increased, reducing the temperature by as much as 7 degrees Fahrenheit.'
Well, yes, but any other wet sock would do precisely the same! The claim sounds great when trumpeted like this, but so what? Pure marketing spin.

You should be aware that while any drugs prescribed for you have to pass strict FDA regulations for your protection, devices like these do not have to pass any independent testing at all. They operate in a wild and totally unregulated market where a vendor can make any wild claims he likes. Snake oil and pyramids.

My own personal opinion is that all these things are scams. Yes, I have tested some of the claims myself. Sorry, but the bottom line is your wallet.
[/soapbox]

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 05/13/2012 15:36:14 MDT.

Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
Recommended to Reduce Swelling and Pain in Surgerized Ankle on 05/13/2012 15:46:02 MDT Print View

Hi Roger,

I have my ankle fused in '09. Summer of '10 I did a couple short hiking trips and had an awful lot of foot pain, lateral side, below that bumpy ankle bone thing, after hiking. The ankle no longer flexes so the joints in the feet and the tendons and ligaments have to take up the slack.

I took this issue to my physical therapist, someone who works with a lot of trail runners, etc., here in Bend, Oregon.

In addition to recommending shoes that very stiff soles (tried that this weekend with new shoes and it made a tremendous improvement to post-hike inflammation and tenderness), he also recommended the compression socks.

I confess I don't recall the explanation, but it had something to do with helping to support the ligaments and other slithery bits in the ankle and foot area.

The physical therapist wasn't selling anything so the sock sale didn't contribute to his income, however he may very well have been passing along mfgr claims w/o basis in physiology.

The test, of course, is to try hiking with and w/o the sockies and see if I notice a difference.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Recommended to Reduce Swelling and Pain in Surgerized Ankle on 05/13/2012 17:25:09 MDT Print View

Do your compression socks make a big difference to post-hike inflamation and tenderness (or whatever) over-looking the fact they don't dry?

I once tried some socks from Swiftwick that are advertised as compression socks. I think they have way less compression than you're talking about. They didn't have a problem with drying. Might work for you.

Jennifer McFarlane
(JennyMcFarlane) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Compression socks on 05/13/2012 17:39:59 MDT Print View

Used in hospitals to improve blood flow (and "prevent" formation of blood clots in the legs) in patients who are ambulating. My guess would be that some of the pain you were experiencing was related to swelling and these help prevent swelling.
Just received a new brand to try- Carolon. They are lighter and dry quicker than the other brand. They have an online store for consumers- might be worth checking it out.

Edited by JennyMcFarlane on 05/13/2012 17:41:05 MDT.

Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
The Salient Question on 05/13/2012 17:49:40 MDT Print View

Jerry writes to ask, "Do your compression socks make a big difference to post-hike inflamation and tenderness (or whatever) over-looking the fact they don't dry?"

That's the million-dollar question. I'll need to take several more hikes with and w/o the socks to learn whether they are of benefit.

I don't mind the longer-than-expected drying time for nylon and spandex, it feels good on the legs, but the feet stay squishier than I wish they did.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Recommended to Reduce Swelling and Pain in Surgerized Ankle on 05/14/2012 16:17:15 MDT Print View

Hi Jack

> it had something to do with helping to support the ligaments and other slithery bits
> in the ankle and foot area.
Ah, that's very different from the claims the sock vendor makes. Those were a load of rubbish.

What your therapist is suggesting sounds very similar to strapping up the ankle to help when healing damaged tendons. That works at several levels, and that I can believe. In the long term strengthening the ankle works best of course, but that may take 'some time'.

In the meantime, Good Luck!

Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
Yes, But I Am but a Lazy Man on 05/14/2012 17:42:51 MDT Print View

" In the long term strengthening the ankle works best of course, but that may take 'some time'."

Aye. In addition to the suggestions for the compression sox and the stiffer soles, my PT also gave me a recommended series of exercises to perform daily -- all of which are annoying and uncomfortable and boring -- which are intended to strengthen the old ankle. Last weekend's hike was a test drive of the the therapist's advice that I need stiffer soles and I must say that the results were quite good albeit not perfect: There was some "ankle" tenderness and crepitations this morning when I wandered, blearily, about my house in search of my morning coffee.

(I put "ankle" in quotes because the ankle joint per se is fused and forever pain-free, but the ligaments et stuff* surrounding it still feel the stress and gripe and moan.)

=============
* Is there a Latinate form of "et stuff"?

Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
Strapping an Ankle to Help with Healing Damaged Tendons? on 05/14/2012 18:01:17 MDT Print View

That Roger Caffin wrote, "What your therapist is suggesting sounds very similar to strapping up the ankle to help when healing damaged tendons."

Jeepers! What an idea! What the heck am I doing wearing two (2) compression socks when I have only one (1) ankle that has been surgerized????

While one does not want to be caught out wearing one stupid black knee-high compression sock on one leg and some short cheap nylon ankle sock on the other (this just looks sketchy) I could, in a heartbeat, cut my compression sock weightage in half!

I wonder if the materials required to properly strap an ankle weigh less than one (1) CEP compression sock?

33 grams for one sock. They are a total pain to haul on and look entirely stupid.

If anyone knows how to strap an ankle for less weight and a lot less weird appearance, it would be great.

Carson Stanwood
(ZombieCucumber) - F
Putting on compression socks and more on 05/24/2012 15:54:23 MDT Print View

Jack - there is a trick to putting on compression socks - reach inside and grab the heel. Pull the sock almost inside-out. Slip your foot in and then pull up the calf portion. Here's a video that shows you how:


Roger - Contrary to your post, which reads, in part: "Reducing the blood flow does NOT increase the amount of oxygen available to your muscles; it can only reduce it", compression actually permits greater levels of blood flow. Compression allows the arterial wall to relax, increasing artery diameter and thus, blood flow. It seems counter-intuative, but that's how all compression - medical or athletic - works. Also, CEP is in the process of rebuilding their site. It will soon feature a considerable amount of third party research documenting the efficacy of compression for increased blood flow and protection from Deep Vein Thrombosis while traveling.

Full disclosure: I work for CEP.

Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
"Losing a fingernail" on 05/24/2012 16:18:35 MDT Print View

Carson, when I wrote, "They compress quite effectively so are nearly impossible to put on or take off without losing a fingernail," I was really referring to these amazingly brittle fingernails I have here (holds them up to the monitor so everyone can see) which split if I look at them crosseyed, esp. when cold and dry. I use the method you describe. I'm just cursed with thin, splintery fingernails. It's a family thing.

As for the claim about increased blood flow, I'll leave that for others to duke out.

Reminds me: I just dug up this rather fearsome-looking McDavid ankle brace that I used when recovering from the ankle surgery:McDavid Ankle Brace
The thing weighs 128 grams, so it's no lightweight, but it certainly looks like the perfect thingy to test my P.T.'s theory that strapping the ankle will help with post-hike tenderness in the footsie ligaments and joints. There are lighter braces, so if I find benefit I can get something else.

Back to that increasing blood flow claim, I wonder how a fellow go about testing that? I don't seem to have a blood flow-o-meter in my legs.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Putting on compression socks and more on 05/24/2012 16:34:35 MDT Print View

Carson

Can you quote independent medical research published in a refereed journal to support your claims? If so, please let me know where I can read it (without subscription). Otherwise I am afraid I will have to treat the claim that 'Compression allows the arterial wall to relax, increasing artery diameter' as pure marketing spin. I may of course be wrong, but so far I have read nothing to change my ideas. But, educate me if you wish.

The matter of 'protection from Deep Vein Thrombosis while traveling' is a totally separate issue, unrelated to what is required during activity. In fact, the two situations are directly opposite: when travelling you are sitting down the whole time. The idea here is to compress the leg so blood does not pool in the lower extremeities, and mainly applies to people who have poor circulation. You cannot link DVT to athletic performance. Don't bother to quote 'endorsements' over this: we all know they are simply paid commercials.

Background:
We have all seen the claims Nike has put up for the so-called benefits of 'pronation control', 'arch support' and gel soles. None of these have any supporting medical research, and all three of them are consistently rejected by experienced athletics coaches and medicos as being simply FALSE. All three are known to be potentially dangerous for an athlete. We get used to these marketing spins and become very (wisely) cynical.

In addition, I have tried compression stuff myself, and it restricted my blood flow so my legs got cold. Taking the stuff off let my legs warm up. That's experience, not spin. (That might be one way for Jack to test the claim.)

I have an open mind, but you will have to produce scientific proof.

Cheers
PS - from Wikipedia:
"Compression shorts are also popular among female athletes, especially among those who wear skirts or kilts during games. In those situations, athletes wear compression shorts under the skirt so if they fall over and their skirts ride up, their underwear will not be exposed."

Edited by rcaffin on 05/24/2012 16:55:10 MDT.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: "Losing a fingernail" on 05/24/2012 16:39:25 MDT Print View

Jack those are the type of ankle braces we have athletes who have chronic sprains use.

also compression socks have been used by diabetics for decades to increase blood flow in the feet/legs. Problem is that the blood has no problem getting down but needs help getting back UP due to gravity.

recently the athletic world has gotten into it for recovery.. running and cycling mostly. I haven't used them myself yet but i'd love to give it a shot.

Carson got any samples ;)

Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
Right/Left compairison on 05/24/2012 16:45:07 MDT Print View

Roger,

Cool idea. I can wear one CEP on the affected leg, and leave the other au naturel. Check for asymmetry in the leg temperature department.

Clearly I am going to need a grant for this. I'll write to the relevant organizations.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Right/Left compairison on 05/24/2012 16:56:35 MDT Print View

> Clearly I am going to need a grant for this. I'll write to the relevant organizations.
You do realize that the supporting paper work has to exceed your body weight, or you have no chance?

cheers

Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
My clever plan on 05/24/2012 17:00:42 MDT Print View

Okay, so here's my plan:

1. I lost 55 lbs recently, so I'll just drop more weight.

2. And with enough wine in me I can work up an impressive case of logorrhea (keyboardorrhea?)

So I'll take a flyer at it. Pass the bottle.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Fast-Drying Compression Socks?" on 05/24/2012 17:02:15 MDT Print View

Not Ramblin': I use the ankle brace that you pictured, or one exactly like it, for nordic skiing and for backpacking. It's brilliant. I use it on my left ankle only. I've been very happily surprised that the brace doesn't cause blisters. It gives terrific, highly adjustable support--far and away better than the figure 8 wraparounds that I've also used. I bought mine at Johnsons Medical Supplies in Berkeley, where the local women's high school basketball team has endorsed it. Why do I need it? suffice to say that I was born with a club foot and in the course of correcting it in childhood, some structural changes were made that leave me with less than optimal functioning. Yes I've done and continue to do serious strengthening etc. but structural issues can't be wished or entirely exercised away. Anyway, I thought that I'd give a shout out. Oh and yeah I routinely do 70 mile sierra backpacking trips comfortably now!-Or more so than before.

Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
Lucky Man on 05/24/2012 21:04:16 MDT Print View

I wish I could still Nordic ski. When I moved to Bend from SoCal I had one of the local knee doctors take a look at my 10 year-old total knee replacement, and asked him if I could ski again. He looked at the X-rays again and laughed. "The doctor who put this in would hate me forever if I said `yes'."

You see, there is a rod running up the inside of my femur. The rod has a hexagonal cross section.

Now imagine what would happen to that femur if the knee was severely torqued and the rod spun.

So here I am, in prime xc skiing country, and can't slap on a pack and head out for an overnighter in the snow. Snowshoeing is also contraindicated in my case.

At least I can backpack.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Fast-Drying Compression Socks?" on 05/24/2012 21:59:52 MDT Print View

Yep, from what I hear Bend is just fantastic for Nordic skiing. I'm in Berkeley which is "just" a three hour drive away from Lake Tahoe, where there's a lot of Nordic options. Now, as you know, there's a huge difference between classic and skate skiing styles, each one with its stresses. In my case, Nordic skiing in either style is less stressful on my knees and ankle than backpacking. But I understand that you have different structural issues. Seriously though, striding or skating on groomed 'green' courses is exhilarating--no backpack--like ice skating for miles through the trees--but more stable--perhaps worth the chance,if you stay off the downhills?

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
do a test on 05/25/2012 00:47:04 MDT Print View

Hi,

The various athletic forums are full of back-and-forth arguments about whether compression socks work. There is only one way to know: Test them.

I have tested mine running, biking, and backpacking, with this simple methodology: Go out for the day with the compression sock on one foot, and your regular sock on the other. Do your legs/feet feel different? (Do people look at you funny for wearing one tall and one short sock?)

Be sure to repeat the experiment by switching the leg that the compression sock goes onto.

The answer for me was that the compression socks worked. My non-compression-sock calf would be noticeably tighter after about 3 miles of running. If the terrain was steep and/or the run 10+ miles, the difference was crazy-dramatic. For biking or hiking, I started to notice the difference after about an hour.

I don't wear the compression socks year-round - only during periods when my calves have started getting really stiff.

I'm not sure which compression socks might dry faster. Carefully read reviews before you buy another brand, though. From what I've heard, some of the brands out there just don't offer all that much compression.

- Elizabeth