Truth or Lie: Do Badminton Compression Socks Really Work?
Many badminton players experience the toll this intense sport takes on their body. Aching legs, creaky knees, and muscle injuries are common among the players of this great sports. In recent years more and more players can be seen wearing sleeves or long socks on their legs. Many have been wondering what purpose these badminton compression socks and sleeves are supposed to serve.
Badminton compression sleeves are excellent for making sure the leg muscles get a steady supply of oxygenated blood during competition. After the competition they can help the muscles regenerate quicker. They can play a big role in ending inflammation, and healing soft tissue injuries. However their role in preventing injuries should not be overlooked either.
This short video touches on many points made in this article:
Your muscles need oxygen
The circulatory system has many roles in the body. One of the most important, is to supply the cells with oxygen and nutrients. During a badminton game your leg muscles need a steady supply of oxygen to keep up the hard work. This is only possible, if the valves work properly. Tight valves let the blood flow really fast up towards the heart. The heart then pumps the blood through the lungs and the stomach, where the blood gets full of oxygen and nutrients. This blood then goes to the muscles.
The whole system has to work efficiently, and effectively. If only one part doesn’t do its job, the whole circulatory system will suffer. If the veins are too wide, the blood will flow slower in them. In some cases the walls of the veins might be so loose, that the blood just stops, and pools up inside them.
Compression technology was invented in large part to treat this condition. By putting pressure on the limbs, they press the veins together. This leads to quicker blood flow, and the muscles getting lot more nutrition.
This ties together nicely with the second use these products have for badminton players:
After the competition the lactic acid inside the muscles lead to a uncomfortable, sore feeling. The muscles feel tense, until the lactic acid is washed out of the muscles the athlete is not ready to play to her full potential again.
By putting pressure on the limbs and compressing the veins together, these products help the blood circulate through the muscles much quicker. This way the lactic acid gets washed out of the muscles a lot sooner. This recovery method has gained a lot of coverage in recent years, and has become widespread among athletes competing in sports that require anaerobe energy systems.
During badminton, you have to make frequent, sharp and quick changes of direction. You hit one, then try to position yourself, anticipating where you will hit next. Since you have to make a lot of adjustments in your positioning, you makes many sudden changes of speed, instead of working at one constant speed. During such movements the muscles are required to work in an oxygen poor environment. This leads to lactic acid buildup inside the muscles.
Most badminton players put up compression garments during the night after their competition. Spending these hours in compression leggings or compression socks cuts down the recovery period significantly, and lets the athlete work at their full potential a lot sooner.
Other than helping the muscles get a better supply of nutrients and oxygen, the compression garments have another benefit during a badminton game. They reduce the risk of injuries.
Most muscle injuries happen as a result of muscle fatigue. If the muscles are well rested, they can correct the position of the body and the limbs even if you fall down or take an awkward step. However if the muscles are fatigued, their reaction time gets longer. By the time the muscles start correcting your position, you will be in such an awkward position that there will be nothing for you to do.
Compression sleeves are made of extremely durable, yet tight materials. Most models have a large percentage of spandex, which lets you move freely, but keeps your limbs in a confined space. This way even if you step awkwardly, the compression garment will not let the limb get injured.
This is one of the reason, I recommend compression socks instead of compression sleeves if you have a history of twisted ankles. Socks cover your feet, and your ankles. Sleeves start above your ankles, and end under your knees.
The problem with wearing socks can be the tightness of your shoes. You need to wear regular socks over the compression models, and if your shoes are too tight, they will crush your feet, or not get on them. In extreme cases this problem with fits can lead to blisters or skin burns.
It is a must that the model you buy has some copper or silver content. These materials act as antibacterial and anti fungi bodies. The sweaty feet are extremely vulnerable to bacterial and fungi infections. These materials keep the socks and your feet hygienic.
It is just as important that your feet stay as dry as possible. This can be done by choosing sleeves that let your skin breathe. This way the sweat will naturally evaporate off your skin.
Fashion is a big part of how an athlete puts together her wardrobe. This is why compression products are made in a seemingly infinite different colours and designs. No matter what colour your shoes are, what type of badminton dress you wear, you will find the compression garment that will make you look fashionable and awesome on the court.
In order to prevent rashes, burns, chaffing and blister it is imperative that you choose a product that has a seamless design. The socks and sleeves move on your leg just enough that if the seams are constructed poorly, they will lead to bad injuries.
If you feel frequent pain in your knees during or after playing badminton, is it likely that the impact of your steps not he ground has a severe effect on your knees. As you step or jump and put down your feet, the impact of landing on the ground gets absorbed by your legs. This can lead to knee pain. Socks that have a cushioned sole and padded heel are advised for such badminton players. This extra padding on the bottom of the feet helps absorb the impact of your steps. One of the best models for badminton players are the Acel Designer Compression Socks.
Most models you will find in online stores are graduated models. They put the largest pressure on the ankle area, then the pressure gets lower as the product gets higher on the legs. This way the pressure on the veins is the largest where the pull of gravity is the largest on the blood – the ankles. This design has the best results when it comes to enhancing athletic performance, reducing the risk of injuries or speeding up recovery.
The strength of compression is measured in mm Hg – millimetres of mercury. The higher the number, the more pressure the compression product puts on your skin.
Most products advised for badminton players are somewhere between the 15 – 25 mm Hg range. From 15 to 20 mm Hg is considered a low compression product. They are best when it comes to preventing muscle soreness or other problems. When you already had a long history of muscle soreness and injuries, or you feel your body doesn’t regenerate as quickly as it used to, it might be best to crank up the pressure and use a product with 20 to 25 mm Hg pressure. Out of these higher compression models, I recommend the Run Forever Sport Calf Compression sleeves. They are extremely comfortable, with a special design that lets your legs breathe, while applying up to 25 mm Hg graduated compression on your legs.
No matter what kind of model you choose in the end, wearing compression socks for badminton will enhance your performance on the court, and help you recover a lot quicker off it. You can only win by investing in a pair of great quality socks or sleeves.