Green, yellow, pink or blue: today, compression socks or stockings are available in almost every colour. However, their positive effect on performance is disputed. How much is real and how much is placebo?
Good for recovery
Although results in scientific studies are varied, one relatively clear common conclusion can be drawn from them: compression socks enhance recovery. Through the positive effect on blood-transporting vessels, they improve blood circulation, increase oxygen supply of the musculature and they improve venous backflow. This effect can be felt as long as you are moving, standing or sitting. As soon as you lie down, the principle doesn’t work anymore. Thus, compression socks can as well be taken off for sleeping. Furthermore, whole socks are more efficient than cuffs. However, probably, none of them makes you faster. Nevertheless, they have other positive effects, making you a popular sparring partner.
Higher running comfort
Compression socks can support tendons and ligaments similarly to the way bandages or tapes do. Also, they help preventing muscle vibrations, which can be obstructive for performance under certain circumstances. Light legs over inumerous kilometers may be the result.
Everbody can wear compression socks, as long as they feel comfortable. The only exception are people with progressed peripheral vascular disease or decompensated cardiac insufficiency.
This is a contribution by Dr. Rer. Nat Michael Schwarz. He works as a sports scientist and performance diagnostician at the Medbase sports medical centre in Zürich. This specialised centre for sports medicine coaches both team and individual athletes and offers a broad spectrum of performance tests, ranging from sports medical check-ups to sports specific physiotherapy and rehab.