Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Can wearing compression socks help you squeeze out a better performance?

Swelling is an inevitable by-product of foot and ankle injuries and surgeries.  Although it is totally normal, the swelling is uncomfortable and patients don't like it.   I regularly prescribe compression stockings to help control this swelling.

I have watched with interest as more and more runners wear compression socks during their runs.  Specialty running stores are beginning to carry them, too.

This begs the question, what is the benefit, if any, to runners?

Although I have not run with compression socks on, I do wear them occasionally, and my legs will typically feel "fresher" afterwards.  I have worn them the day or two after a tough marathon for the same reason.

There are a handful of studies looking at the physiological effects of wearing compression stockings during exercise.  Most studies show no measurable improvement in running performance.  However, there does seem to be a trend towards increased tissue oxygen saturation and decreased soreness after a workout.

Although wearing compression stockings is unlikely to improve performance, they can perhaps hasten recovery and prevent soreness afterwards.

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