Moody, D., Houle, S., Adamson, K., & Creer, A. (2011). The effect of compression socks on recovery and running performance in collegiate distance runners. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(5). Supplement abstract 2767.

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This study determined if wearing lower body compression garments following daily workouts would result in additional performance improvements in male collegiate distance runners (N = 15). Ss were separated into a sock group (N = 7) or a control group (N = 8). Sock-group Ss were required to wear graduated compression socks for four hours or more immediately following daily workouts or races (six days per week) for a period of four weeks during an outdoor track season. To assess performance, racing times for each runner's preferred distance (1,500 m to 10,000 m) were adjusted for altitude and converted to standard metric times (using IAAF scoring tables). Runners also completed a weekly recovery questionnaire to assess sport-specific stress and recovery. Three sock group Ss and four control group Ss were unable to complete the study due to illness or injury.

Weekly training distance for the sock group was ~66 km and for the control group ~79 km. Ss in the sock group wore compression socks ~31 hours per week. Weekly sport-specific stress and recovery scores were similar in both groups throughout the training period. Running scores over the course of the study improved to a similar degree within the sock group (~8%) and control group (~9%). There were no differences in running score improvements between the groups.

Implication. Consistent compression sock usage following running workouts does not provide any additional recovery or performance benefits in male collegiate distance runners.

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