Why wear compression stockings?

Men sitting in red room with compression socks.

What are the benefits of compression stockings?

Compression garments - whether stockings, compression boots or clothes - have been shown to be helpful in improving blood circulation. It supports the veins in draining deoxygenated blood.

1. When the veins don't work as they should, blood and fluid can build up, usually in the same places in the lower legs or feet.

The lymphatic system has no pumping mechanism, so it's important that your muscles and joints drain fluid into the lower body. Thanks to gravity and the amount of hours you spend sitting and standing, the circulation in the legs can be negatively affected. The muscles and joints then have difficulty draining blood and fluid. In this case, blood and fluid may accumulate in the lower legs and feet, resulting in swelling.

2. The support of the compression stockings improves blood circulation and prevents tired muscles, foot pain and injuries. In addition, it can speed up recovery after an intense workout.

Compression socks should feel good, not tight or uncomfortable - like putting light pressure on a sore, damaged muscle.

If you don't exercise at all, there is a risk of damaging vein valves. Compression stockings are therefore also useful for people with heavy legs, swelling of the lower limbs or other complaints, who do not exercise much. Compression is also an ideal solution for people who have to sit or stand all day for work, to prevent tired legs.

3. Standing or sitting for long periods of time, such as on airplanes or on the road, can reduce circulation in the veins and damage or weaken the valves, causing discomfort.

Pregnant women wear compression stockings to prevent blood from accumulating in their veins and to lower the heart rate of the mother and child. Because your body now has to work for two, this often also provides extra moisture in the lower body. This extra moisture cannot always be eliminated. The result is swelling in the lower legs.

Compression stockings can be prescribed for patients with a history of diabetes, chronic venous insufficiency, deep vein thrombosis, heart failure and varicose veins to prevent blood pooling and promote blood flow to the heart.

Is there any evidence that runners could benefit from wearing compression garments?

Attempts have been made in scientific studies to process the conflicting results regarding the impact of compression stockings on performance. They evaluated the effectiveness of, among other things, compression stockings. Compression socks have been shown to benefit runners by reducing muscle soreness, inflammation and muscle damage.

What does science say about the effect of compression stockings?

Numerous studies have been done on the effectiveness of compression stockings. Some are significantly more meaningful than others. We have briefly highlighted three studies for you.

Compression garments and muscle metabolism during recovery from intense exercise.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of compression garments on metabolism and to increase recovery after intensive training. The muscles evaluated were the biceps and quadriceps during intense exercise. They were looking for glucose intake. What they found was that glucose uptake was higher in the deeper parts of the muscle. The results showed that wearing compression shorts reduces blood flow in both deep and superficial areas of muscle tissue during recovery. Improved blood flow after exercise can promote metabolic recovery.

Effects of compression sleeves on performance and recovery.

This study assessed the impact of compression garments on performance and recovery. They analyzed most of the available scientific research in 2011 from various scientific journals. They found that when exercising with compression garments for post-exercise recovery, small to moderate effects were observed in the recovery of maximal strength and strength, especially in vertical jump exercises. They also found a reduction in muscle swelling and the perceived muscle pain, a removal of blood lactate and an increase in body temperature

Effect of lower extremity compression tubes on 400 m sprint performance.

This study investigates the effects of wearing compression tubes on sprint performance. They studied blood lactate levels, a visual analog of perceived pain, feelings and arousal, as well as perceived comfort. Their statistical analysis showed a trend for an increased rate of blood lactate clearance when wearing compression tubes. This study has shown that compression tubes on the lower legs can reduce the perception of exertion in 400 m sprints.

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Niek van Spronsen

Niek has been part of the STOX Energy Socks team since 2022, writing informative and inspiring articles about compression socks, sports, health, and nutrition. With a passion for an active and healthy lifestyle, Niek shares valuable tips and advice to help athletes and health-conscious readers improve their performance and well-being.

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