Compression Socks are one of the fastest growing trends to hit the performance gear shelves. They look cool, come in a variety of fashionable colors and patterns. As with most trends that come and go in sports, it takes a while for the science to catch up with the practice. About five years ago, when compression gear first became popular as a potential ergogenic aid, there were very few published reports regarding their efficacy.
Of those that were published, no scientific evidence existed to support the athletes' claims of reduced delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), less fatigue, improved performance, improved venous return, less edema post-competition and faster recovery.
As a result, their use during competition was not endorsed by many clinicians, athletic trainers and physical therapists. However, due to their popularity and continued use by professional and recreational athletes, scientists have investigated the mechanisms behind the purported benefits of compression garments. As a result, several peer-reviewed papers have been published on the topic and it is certainly a topic worth revisiting.
What Does Compression Gear Do?
Clinically, compression gear is designed to deliver specific levels of pressure to the affected limb. Typical pressure ranges are from 20 to 40 millimeters of mercury, depending on the limb and the clinical indication.
Off the shelf stockings may deliver 30 to 40 millimeters of mercury of pressure whereas custom stockings deliver 40 millimeters of mercury pressure at the ankle, 36 millimeters of mercury at the lower calf, and 21 millimeters of mercury at the upper calf. These pressure levels are designed to enhance venous return and reduce edema in patients with various vein disorders.
Here are a few other reasons to try compression socks, that doesn’t depend on science.
Protection: They protect your legs from small scratches, abrasions and nasty things like poison ivy on the trail.
Swelling: Compression technology has been proven to limit swelling, especially in people who spend all day on their feet. I'm guessing spending 24 hours on the trail for a 100-mile ultra counts.
Dirt: Collects on your sleeves and not on your legs.
Warmth: Allows you to wear shorts on those iffy days when you'd reluctantly wear tights
Coolness: No they don't keep you cool, but ABD ATHLETE's look pretty darn cool in their Training and Recovery Socks.
Introducing ABD ATHLETE'S PRO XSO2" Compression Socks.
- Superior 200 Needle Count Premium Construction Socks W/ Dense and Durable Yarns That Go to The Knee!
- Graduated Compression Socks Are Clinically Proven to Flush Toxins, Enhance Circulation, Enhance Oxygen Levels and Speed Up Recovery Time.
- Our Targeted Compression socks are Precision Designed to Target the Arch and Ankle to Reduce Soreness.
- Relieve discomfort from spider veins, relief from minor leg & ankle swelling, relief from minor edema / lymphedema, relief of tired aching legs, relief of leg discomfort during pregnancy, minor varicose veins, for wear following sclerotherapy, orthostatic hypotension, postural hypotension, and helps prevent DVT