Bihl, L., Raab, S., Benton, M., & Waggener, G. (2011). Efficacy of compression socks to enhance performance and recovery in distance athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(5). Supplement abstract 1452.

red line

This study evaluated the effect of graduated compression socks on lower extremity edema and pain pre-, post-, and 24 hours after a two-hour run. Moderately trained distance runners (N = 8) completed a two-hour run at heart rates 15% below ventilatory threshold. Volumetric and algometric measures were used to assess edema and pain. Immediately before the run, legs were submerged in 21C water to the tibial tuberosity prominence. Each gram of water collected was equilibrated to 1 ml. Baseline muscle soreness was assessed using bilateral algometric measurements at 13 reproducible locations with a dynamometer. Force pounds were totaled across the 13 points. Once measurements were taken, Ss donned a pair of 20-40 mg graduated compression socks and completed the two-hour run in a controlled environment (humidity ~52%, room temperature ~18.5C). Immediately post-run, measurements were repeated and graduated compression socks were worn for eight more hours. Twenty-four hours after completion of the two-hour run, Ss returned for final algometric and volumetric measurements.

During the two-hour run, Ss consumed ~0.92 liters of water and body mass changed ~-1.03 kg. While mean differences were noted, no significant differences were discovered between any measurements.

Implication. Compression socks do not decrease post-exertion muscle soreness.

Return to Table of Contents for this issue.

red line