Over the course of time, the best sports socks have become known as an every essential. Especially very crucial as a component of footwear. Socks today can determine the difference between success or failure on the playing field. However, unfortunately, the role of socks in preventing injury and enhancing performance is often misunderstood. And also often neglected.
If you still don’t believe me that the socks are important. Then just look at the following foot pathologies that can be directly affected by the type of hosiery worn by the athlete:
Toenails: Your toenails may end up getting subungual hematoma, onychomycosis, onychogryphosis
Integument: friction blisters, hyperkeratoses, heloma dura/molle
Infections: dermatophyte, yeast, bacteria, viral (verruca)
Mechanical or Shear-Induced Injury of Subcutaneous tissue: capsulitis, bursitis, calcaneal fat pad atrophy
Mechanical or Shear Injury Against Bone Prominence: retrocalcaneal exostosis, sesamoiditis, hallux valgus, tailor’s bunion, accessory navicular, tibial crest periostitis, medial and lateral malleolar contusion
Now that you have seen how serious these injuries can tend to be. Let’s have a look at what causes them and why the best sports socks are so crucial.
The forces involved in generating the above-mentioned tissue injuries include ground reaction forces, tangential shearing forces, and a combination of pressure and shear induced by athletic footwear.
Numerous researchers have demonstrated that ground reaction forces can approach or exceed three times body weight in a running athlete. Also, vertical plantar pressures against the calcaneus and metatarsals are significantly increased in the running athlete as well as special patient populations with foot deformities, i.e., rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes mellitus with neuropathy.
Shearing forces result from forward or sideways momentum of the athlete whether walking, jumping, running, or lunging. Spence and Shields identified four types of dynamic forces that can be associated with running gait: vertical forces, fore and aft shear, lateral shear, and torque. Shearing force on the skin surface of the foot is exacerbated by the playing surface, type of footwear, type of insole, and type of sock material. Shearing forces are thought to be more damaging to the feet than ground reactions forces. The combination of abnormal pressure and shear results in the formation of friction blisters in athletes and ulcerations on the feet of patients with diabetes mellitus.
In addition to the abnormal forces generated by the specific movements of the sport, the type of footwear worn by the athlete can generate unique damaging pressure and shear in specific areas of the feet or legs. The following unique forms of athletic footwear and the various locations of the potential skin or deep tissue damage are illustrated in the following tables.
The Tale Of The Fiber:
The ability of a sock to dissipate damaging forces on the surface of the foot rests partly on the fiber composition and more significantly on the construction technique of the manufacturer. It is the lack of understanding of fiber technology that leads most health care professionals to make erroneous recommendations to their patients regarding selection for sporting activities.