Compression socks actually useful for runners?

compressions socks

Compression socks appear to have a positive effect on performance, recovery and injury prevention. Although not all studies can show a measurable explanation for this effect, athletes even seem to experience that the socks are effective

Although marathon runner Paula Radcliffe was already seen wearing compression socks in 2000, the athletics world was first introduced to compression socks during the 2006 European Championships. In the final, which he won by the way, 800 meter runner Bram Som wore the characteristic compression socks. Numerous top and amateur athletes now wear white, black and, more recently, blue and pink compression socks or tubes (without sock). But as a runner, do you actually benefit from the socks? Does it make you run faster? Does it prevent injuries or do you recover faster after exercise?

What is it and how does it work?

The market leader in Europe in the field of compression socks is STOX. They have a huge range of compression socks. Both work by means of a so-called compression (pressure) effect that is strongest around the ankle and slowly decreases towards the knee. The tube can only be worn during exercise, the sock is also recommended during recovery. The theory behind the socks is twofold: On the one hand, the tight fit should ensure less mobility of the calf muscles. And thus reduce the pulling forces of tendons on the periosteum of the tibia. This is called the bandage effect. On the other hand, the decreasing pressure must ensure that the blood in the lower leg is pushed more quickly towards the heart. The idea is that the pressure at the ankle pushes the blood up more effectively and waste products are removed more quickly.

Are compression socks and stockings effective?

In recent years, a number of Dutch studies have been conducted into the effect of the Herzog compression socks on recovery, performance and injury prevention among athletes. In addition, worldwide research is also being conducted into how compression socks can help prevent and cure thrombosis and edema, among other things. There are even studies on the effect of the socks on long flights.

Is there an improved performance while using STOX compression stockings?

In 2009, a survey was conducted among 21 recreational runners. They performed a maximum exercise test without and with compression stockings. The total time of the exercise test was considerably higher with compression stockings, and the anaerobic threshold was also at a higher speed (14.11 vs 13.9 km / h) with the stockings. Another study found that these improvements could not be explained by a difference in heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac output or oxygen uptake during exercise.

Or is there a faster recovery with compression stockings and socks?

Due to the faster drainage of blood, the socks might promote recovery after exercise. Research among recreational athletes shows that they experience less muscle pain after 10 kilometers when they use compression stockings with decreasing pressure. This may be explained by a reduced increase in the enzyme CK when using the socks. CK is an enzyme required for recovery after high intensity exercise and is associated with muscle damage.