Archive Monthly Archives: May 2017

How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis Quickly and Effectively: The Best Compression Foot Sleeves

What are the benefits of wearing compression foot sleeves? Are you a regular runner? Have you ever gotten out of bed in the morning, and felt a sudden sharp pain in your heels? That pain is caused by plantar fasciitis, a very common condition among runners. There are many ways of treating it, but the quickest, cheapest and easiest solution is to wear one of the best compression sleeves.

Many might be sceptical about the usefulness of these products, but I never met anybody who tried them out and didn’t feel the positive effects almost immediately. Runners often suffer of plantar fasciitis and compression socks or foot sleeves are excellent products for treating these diseases.

Compression foot sleeves or socks?

Although compression socks are excellent products, foot sleeves have a few big advantages over them:

  • They are smaller: They can be worn even with the tightest shoes, under or over your socks. If you travel, foot sleeves take up less space in your suitcase. They are also easier and quicker to wash and dry out.
  • They are less visible: Some runners don’t like the way compression socks look on them. Foot sleeves don’t go too much over your ankles. They are thin enough for a regular pair of socks to cover them.
  • They are cheaper: While some compression socks can go for forty or fifty dollars, you can get great foot sleeves for ten bucks.
  • They are easier to put on: Getting tight compression socks on your legs can be a hard and time consuming process. On the other hand foot sleeves are easy to apply.

This video about the BeVisible compression foot sleeves touches on many excellent points about why these products are essential:

What are the main reasons for wearing compression foot sleeves:

  • Ankle injuries: The sleeves hold your feet and ankles tightly, thus providing a cradle-like environment.
  • Plantar fasciitis: The best compression foot sleeves keep your feet stable, and the plantar fascia stretched. This provides a stable environment for healing.
  • Short-term recovery: Compression sleeves can be worn for long times without intrusion. Wear them during the day underneath your socks or during the night in bed.
  • Achilles tendon pains: Some sleeves reach over your ankles and cover your achilles tendons. These products help the blood flow quicker, thus reduce the inflammation in your tendons.

What are the important features?

Another great feature of compression foot sleeves is their simplicity. There are a lot of different features one has to take into account when choosing the best compression socks for running or the best compression leggings, but foot sleeves are easy to choose. Just look for the following things:

  • A good, trusted brand.
  • Firm arch and ankle support.
  • Good levels of graduated foot and arch compression.
  • Quality, well designed seams.
  • Positive reviews.
  • Thin design.

Let’s take a look at why these things are important.

Brand: Some companies offer excellent customer support. They answer all your questions about their products. Most companies even offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you find that their product is not what you were looking for, they return your money, no questions asked.

Arch and ankle support: During the healing process from plantar fasciitis, the feet must stand with the correct angle. At the same time the plantar fascia has to move a little. This requires a very delicate balance from the sleeves. The arch and ankle support can not only increase the blood flow to the inflamed areas, thus reducing the inflammation, but also solidifies the feet and gives it a solid stance.

The pressure applied on the foot gets smaller the higher the sleeve gets on the limb.

Graduated compression: This type of compression means that the bottom of the sleeves put the most compression on the feet, which slowly subsides as it gets higher up the feet. This is the ideal type of compression for increasing blood flow.

Well designed seams: If the seams are faulty, or ill-designed, they can cause skin burn, chaffing or blisters. The socks reviewed here all have great excellent seams, you won’t even notice them.

Positive reviews: The best products all have hundreds of reviews on Amazon. Positive reviews show that the shipping, product handling, the product itself and the costumer support were all great.

Design: Of course everybody wants to look fashionable and feel comfortable at the same time. One can wear sleeves during the day, at work, or just for running. In all settings the comfort and the looks can make or break a product.

Although we don’t know of any studies so far that looked at the effectiveness of compression foot sleeves in treating plantar fasciitis, but medical experts often recommend them as a part of the healing process. The reason behind this is the positive effects of compression technology, and the way in which compression garments hold the plantar fascia. It provides a stable environment, yet lets the ligament move and stretch just enough for optimal healing.

There are a number of runners who significantly improved their condition after wearing foot sleeves. Most were able to get rid of plantar fasciitis altogether.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia – a band of tissue that runs from the heels to the toes. Runners often feel sharp, pinching pain in their soles or their heels as a result of plantar fasciitis.

This tissue can cause other problems too. If it is too short, the person will suffer from high arch. If it is too long, we call it low arch, also called flat feet.

If you suffer form plantar fasciitis, the pain will be most severe just after getting up. The pain might be even worse if your achilles tendons are tight. This is why the best compression foot sleeves also cover your achilles tendons.

The plantar fascia in the foot.At the moment the medical profession has no agreement over what exactly causes plantar fasciitis. It is true, that the condition is very common among runners, but it can appear as a result of too little exercise also. Obesity can be a risk factor, just like the inward rolling of the foot.

There are many ways to treat this condition. The less evasive is to just rest, and take mild painkillers in order to lift the pain. Stretching can do wonders. In more severe cases physiotherapy, orthotics, or splinting might be in order. In extreme cases steroid injections are applied to treat the condition.

There is however an easy to apply, affordable and safe treatment method. Wearing compression socks or compression sleeves. The graduated compression foot sleeves help blood circulation, thus reducing the inflammation of the plantar fascia. This way the pain subsides quickly, and you will be back to your best in no time.

Let’s take a look at the five best compression foot sleeves on the market in 2017.

BeVisible Sports Plantar Fasciitis Socks

The BeVisible Sports plantar fasciitis socks.

The BeVisible Sports plantar fasciitis socks provide firm arch and ankle support, while letting your plantar fascia stretch.

They are also excellent at dealing with Achilles tendonitis and heel pain.

They are very comfortable, can be worn under shoes, socks, with flip-flops or sandals. Ideal if you want to wear something during the day to treat arch or heel pain.

The graduated compression technology of the sleeves helps increase blood circulation and increase blood flow to the aching areas, thus speeding up recovery.

By wearing these compression sleeves, you will be able to stop taping your ankles and wearing bulky night sleeves on your feet in no time.

Although they are a bit more expensive than other products, the company offers a ninety day no questions asked satisfaction money back guarantee. If you are not satisfied with the product, they will give your money back straight away.

Gr8 Sportlife Unisex Plantar Fasciitis Ankle Compression Sleeve

The Gr8Sportlife Plantar Fasciitis Ankle Compression Sleeves

The Gr8 Sportlife brand is famous for their excellent couture service. And now they have a line of excellent compression sleeves.

Graduated compression increases the blood flow in the feet and ankle area, helping the aching parts of your feet heal quicker.

Excellent for running, or wearing them while walking. They fit well, although some reviews say that the sleeves were a bit loose on their legs. It depends on the width of your feet I suppose. If they prove to be too loose, just wear a pair of socks under them to prevent them from moving around.

The seams are very well designed in order to prevent chaffing or skin burn.

You can wear socks under them as well as over them, they are very comfortably designed.

These sleeves also come with a 100% satisfaction money back guarantee.

SB SOX Compression Sleeves for Men and Women

SB Sox compression foot sleeves.

SB Sox is also famous for their excellent costumer support. They state very publicly that for them the customer is the number one priority. You don’t have to go further to be sure of this than the Amazon page of their compression foot sleeves. Every question is answered in an exemplary manner. They even e-mail you a free e-book and FAQ guide when you purchase their product.

The sleeves provide great graduated compression that helps your feet heal and provide an instant boost to your blood circulation. These socks can free you from physical pain, and help you walk free again.

They can be worn with slippers, sandals, insoles, shoes, over or under any type of socks. They are made of breathable, water repellent fabric. This helps if you are on your feet for long stretches, as it keeps your feet dry by letting the sweat evaporate. The material also has anti-odor and anti-bacterial qualities.

CXCraft Health is Wealth Compression Foot Sleeves

 These sleeves were designed with both athletes and weekend warriors in mind. They provide a snug fit, and let your feet move around in order for the plantar fascia to heal.

The padding is very narrow. They are still very effective, but you can wear tight sports shoes with them.

They use Inflammation Reduction Technology to speed up the blood flow inside the feet, thus healing inflammation quicker and washing out lactic acid.

The sleeves cover your achilles tendons, putting pressure on them. This highness the blood flow to these areas, thus reducing inflammation, and leading to quicker healing.

They are made of nylon, spandex and elastic to create a breathable, comfortable, moisture wicking product.

The company takes pride in its excellent costumer support, and the quality of their product. This is why they offer a 100 % lifetime guarantee. If you are not content with the Health is Wealth compression foot sleeves, they will refund their price.

Physix Gear Sport Plantar Fasciitis Socks with Arch Support

 Physix Gear Sport is an excellent manufacturer of compression gear. Their compression socks are one of the best, with great reviews on Amazon. The same applies for their compression sleeves.

As soon as you put them on, you feel the pain in your heels fading away, and a sudden freshness in your feet. They target their support at the plantar fascia, without restricting motion. The socks have great ankle support, and well designed seams. They are very comfortable while keeping your sleeves closely on the feet.

They come with built-in ankle support and arch support. These features keep your feet at the correct angle in order to let them heal and move freely at the same time. The material makeup of these sports sleeves is 80% nylon, and 20% spandex.

You can wear them with sandals, shoes, boot with insoles, slippers, under or over socks. You can wear the Physic Gear Sport sleeves with taping, inserts, or even inside orthopaedic shoes.

The company offers only a 30 day money-back guarantee on the sleeves. This is the only aspect in which these products do poorer than the other compression sleeves on the market. Otherwise they are comfortable, with excellent healing ability and design.

Have you ever suffered from plantar fasciitis? How did you cure it? If you used compression sleeves, how was your experience? Share it with us in the comments!

 

Running Recovery Tips: 11 Fun Ways of Getting Rid of Fatigue While Enjoying the Process

Since I started running regularly nothing makes me more mad than missing a workout. I might miss a session or two due to work or family commitments, but sometimes I get an unfortunate injury. These are part of life as a runner, but what I find very hard to accept is having a bad workout due to muscle soreness or fatigue. This is a result of inadequate recovery techniques and can be dealt with easily. I decided to dive in and search the internet for the best running recovery tips known to mankind.

I never thought that there were so many ways to speed up the recovery process. From better running technique to better eating, or using foam rollers, there are countless ways one can get back to one’s best quicker.

Tip 1: Correct running technique

By using and efficient running technique, you can significantly reduce the load on your body, which will in turn require less recovery.

Here is a short video, that explains how to run efficiently. The video takes into account the following points:

  • Which are the variable and invariable elements of your stride? Invariable elements are present at all runners in one form or another. Variable elements are unnecessary add ons, one can do better by loosing them altogether.
  • Where to land on your feet during your stride?
  • Are you using your knees too much?
  • Is moving the arms necessary for the proper running technique?

The Balanced Runner has an excellent post on the correct running technique, and how you can find yours.

Tip 2: Compression socks

The Physix Gear Sport Compression socks, the best product for helping runners recover.

Since this is a website about compression wearables, it should not come as a surprise that they are featured on this list. Studies have demonstrated that wearing compression socks during exercise speeds up the recovery process. Even wearing them after a workout helps the muscles push out the lactate and other waste materials in order to get rid of muscle soreness.

But how do they work? Compression socks put pressure on the veins, thus reducing their diameter. This helps the blood flow quicker, washing out the waste materials from the muscles. The blood flows from the legs to the heart quicker, thus it also flows through the stomach, lungs and other organs quicker. This way the deoxygenated blood lacking in nutrients gets replenished quicker. This way the muscles get the necessary nutrients for recovery sooner.

If you want to read more abut this process, or how to choose the best compression socks for your needs, check out this article here about running recovery socks.

Tip 3: Eating right

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but eating the right types of food and eating them regularly is a key component of recovery. Maintaining a healthy diet lets your body work at optimal levels, while letting it recover quickly after a workout.

Amanda Brooks has an excellent post on her website Run to the Finish, with an anti-inflammatory food chart. It details a diet that promotes great heart, while helping with joint and muscle recovery. After the chart, you can find thirty delicious recipes that will help your recovery.

Here are some recommended foods:

  • Beets improve the oxygen uptake and use in the muscles.
  • Fermented foods (yoghurts, pickled vegetables) helps digestion and reduce inflammation.
  • Oranges, bananas rich in Vitamin C improve connective tissue recovery.
  • Eating blueberries both before and after exercise improve muscle recovery.
  • Salmon reduces swelling and provides the proteins for building muscle.

Here is a great running recovery smoothie recipe:

If that is not enough, FlyFeet Running has an excellent smoothie recipe that I love. There is nothing better, than arriving home after a long run, and hitting the blender! Eggs, blueberries, bananas and coconut water…anyone?

There is a common recovery drink that runners recommend: chocolate milk. But is it useful, or a fad? Emily Brown has some interesting points about this on Runners Connect.

As she writes, chocolate milk aficionados swear that it is a great recovery drink, because:

  • It has the perfect ratio of carbohydrates to protein (3:1) for recovery.
  • Replenishes fluids and electrolytes lost during exercise.
  • Contains Vitamin D and Calcium.
  • And it is cheap compared to recovery shakes.

But are these claims true? One study compared the recovery affects of chocolate milk to a fluid replacement drink and a carbohydrate replacement drink. The study found that chocolate milk outperformed these drinks in some aspects of recovery. If you want to read more about the study design, visit the post on Runners Connect.

Tip 4: Time to live a little

Competitive runners have a reputation of refraining from all the fun stuff in life. We are not like that at all! Take for example the ritual of post marathon burgers and beers. Go to the Crazy Running Girl blog to see how it’s done in style!

This is how you celebrate running in style. From the She’s Going the Distance blog.

As you are reading this, you are probably shouting at your screen: But beers dehydrate you even more after a long race! I agree, they are probably not the best for your physiology, but hey…they feel so good and you deserve a little bit of a treat after a marathon.

Tip 5: Sleep, sleep and more sleep

Sleep is a crucial part of running recovery, that we tend to neglect. After all most of us are not professional runners, we have a busy schedule to maintain: work, family an friends. Most of us decide to chop off a few hours from our sleep schedule, which is a big mistake.

Most runners feel, that when training gets heavier, or after a long race they will feel the urge to sleep more. This is totally normal, the body has to make up for the strain of exercising.

During your sleep, your body produces growth hormones in order for the muscles to recover. It also lowers cortisol levels.

There is a huge difference between sleeping just six hours, or having a full eight hours of sleep.

Here are some tips to help you sleep better:

  • Always sleep in a pitch black room. Close the curtains, no blue light or electronic devices allowed in the room.
  • Go to bed thirty minutes before you want to fall asleep. Let your body wind down.
  • Try to fall asleep around the same time every day.
  • No blue light devices allowed in the bed. This includes phones, television, laptops.
  • Don’t drink much before going to bed. Alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns.
  • Refrain from fluid consumption in general an hour before going to bed. This way you can avoid waking up for urinating.

Tip 6: The correct steps on the day of the race

Scott Dunlap recommends on his blog a whole process on race days that will make your recovery quicker.  The process consists of three steps: warming up, cooling down, and some nutrient intake within 15 minutes after the race ends. This does not seem like rocket science, but how many times did you go easy on the warmup, or missed the cooling down, because you have just finished the workout, and “Missing it just this one time won’t do any harm!”? Exactly.

Do your warmup properly. Warm up gradually, starting with light exercise and then slowly building it up. For most workouts a 15 minute warmup should suffice. Scott estimates, that skipping warmup could add 12-24 hours to your recovery time.

At the end of the workout don’t just stop. Slow down to a jogging tempo, then walk for a few minutes.

It is essential to take in some easily digestible carbs – bananas are excellent – and some water after you stop. This is the ideal time to have your chocolate milk. The body is looking for nutrients to repair the muscles and fill up the energy storages. Fluids are essential for maintaining proper blood circulation. Get these in your body as soon as possible, preferably fifteen minutes after ending the race.

Tip 7: Respect the easy days

A well thought-out training plan will have easy and hard days, to allow for recovery and a tapering effect. This is crucial, if the body does not have time to heal itself, the hard workouts of the training cycle will be useless.

If you feel the urge to exercise on easy days, some walking or light jogging would be the best.

Some people make the fatal mistake of having two demanding workouts on the easy days of their schedule, thus making it a hard day. Steve Wagner makes the point on the Addicted to Running blog that if you must put in two workouts a day, put the second workout on a hard day. This way you are not screwing up the recovery days.

Tip 8: Run after a race, or not?

The age old question is: Should you run after a long race during your recovery week? Sara at the Running Wife blog has an excellent insight into how her recovery week activity profile and that of her husband differs.

The week after running a marathon Sara does not run. On the other hand his husband runs the very next day.

Sara goes into more detail about what kind of activities she does the week after the race. She goes spinning, or goes for a walk. Spinning uses different muscles than running, but both walking and spinning help push the soreness out of your muscles.

Tip 9: Getting some body work done

Jenny is a marathon runner and a busy mom. She advises runners to get either a massage or visit their chiropractor once every ten days. This kind of external work on the muscles helps muscle recovery, but also increases the range of motion of the joints, not to mention that it improves connective tissue healing.

Tip 10: Use foam rollers

After races you don’t need to visit the masseur straight away, you can refresh your muscles with the use of foam rollers. This is an important step in the half marathon recovery for blogger and runner Kelly Calazzo.

Do you often feel stiffness in your leg muscles? Using foam rollers is an excellent way to massage your legs and soften up the tissue.

Here is a video about how to use foam rollers for leg recovery:

Tip 11: Visualise

This might be a bit too out there for some people, but studies have found that visualising the recovery process in detail can speed it up. Only Atoms writes about this phenomena in their list of running recovery tips.

Are you sceptical? Maybe you should give visualisation a chance. After all visualisation is a common practice for athletes. If it can help you run a better marathon, or win soccer matches, why couldn’t it help you recover quicker?

How should you visualise? Sit down in a quiet place, and think about your recovery in as much detail as possible. What are you wearing? How does it feel when your muscles are building themselves up again? What does feeling the lactate washing out of your muscles feel like?

+ 1: Extra Running Recovery Tip:

I have found an excellent video on The Run Experience Youtube channel. The video recommends putting your feet up parallel to a wall while you are laying on your back to encourage better circulation, and let the blood wash through your leg muscles. You can check out the video below:

If you are still hungry for new information on recovery, the Running Vegan NYC podcast dedicated a whole episode to running recovery tips and tricks.

Conclusion

As you see, there are countless ways to recover from a long run. I don’t use all of these techniques, but I regularly wear my compression socks, drink a smoothie after running and always make sure to sleep at least eight hours per night. Sometimes I get to use foam rollers after my workout. No matter which of these running recovery tips you use, you are guaranteed to get back to your best quicker.

Do you have a favourite recovery tip? Share it in the comments!