Should Athletes Wear Compression Stockings?

  • Posted on: Jul 15 2017

Vein Treatments Los Angeles, CA Compression stockings have historically been perceived as appropriate for, well, older folks. You know, the people whose blood flow isn’t good enough on its own and therefore needs a little boost. The idea that an active person could benefit from wearing compression garments may seem  absurd, but here I am about to suggest this.

Recent researchers studying premier athletes who routinely participate in distance running, biking or triathlons wanted to test the theory that compression could facilitate performance. A common problem among endurance athletes is the “wall” that eventually gets hit — the cramping or giving-out of muscles that are pushed to their limit. These symptoms appear when lactic acid accumulates in muscle tissues. Researchers found that compression could alleviate cramping and weakness.

Graduating into Compression Stockings

Compression socks are typically intended to promote healthy blood flow through veins that would otherwise become swollen with pooled blood and accumulate lactic acid. The studies also show that the graduated pressure of compression socks worn over the ankles and calves promotes optimal circulation to the muscles of the legs by allowing the arterial walls to relax and increase in diameter. The greater the diameter, the more perfusion that occurs. With better perfusion comes cellular oxygenation, and with that comes peak performance. Athletes not only perform better, they also recover faster from these demanding events.

Case Study in Marathon Runners

In one study, researchers followed more than a dozen marathon runners and their performance with the use of compression stockings. After the three-month study, researchers concluded that:

  • 47% of participants reported that running was easier.
  • 53% noted greater relaxation of calf muscles.
  • 60% of study participants who normally experienced aching in the lower leg, ankle, and foot after running reported reduction of symptoms as a result of compression stockings.

Beverly Hills Vein Center caters to individual needs of our diverse patient population. Learn more about the value of compression therapy and other vein treatments at 310-277-4868.


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