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Sport oriented compression socks

There is no doubt that many athletes and runners use compression socks as their go-to garment during and after physical exercise. A study conducted involved 21 male athletes who did two step tests with and without compression socks (Kemmler et al. 2009). The outcome was that they were able to perform longer while wearing the compression socks vs. when they did not. Slight increases were also noted in the participants anaerobic threshold - especially when the legs were of primary use (cycling/jumping) (Kemmler et al. 2009). The theory was that the compression garments prevented indirect muscle vibrations/oscillation, which in turn promotes muscle efficiency (O'Mara, 2013).

Sport Physiologist Elmarie Terblanche, conducted one of the in vivo studies, involving athletes that ran the Two Oceans ultra-race in South Africa. It was discovered that individuals who wore the compression stockings while racing had a much faster recovery rate and significantly less muscle damage. These individuals also ran on average 12 minutes faster than the athletes who did not wear the compression socks (O'Mara, 2013).

Although this study cannot be deemed as conclusive evidence due to many contradicting factors that were not indicated, it is reasonable to believe that compression socks may in fact aid in endurance and promotion of healing after strenuous exercise involving the legs as the primary output of activity.

In order for athletes to benefit from compression socks - they must have graduated levels (tightest at the ankle and decreasing to the hip), be custom fit to the individual and have 20-30mmHg of pressure (O'Mara, 2013).


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