Compression stockings: What are they and do they help with performance?
Runners are notorious for finding ways to better their training or get an edge in the big race. Whether it comes to nutritional supplements, footwear, or a lucky charm, there is always something new reported to help you excel.
Compression stockings around the calves are starting to makes waves in the running community for a couple reasons: they reportedly help to decrease muscle breakdown, keep muscles warm and increase overall performance.
A recent study looked at overall marathon times and measured the amount of muscle breakdown while running a marathon with and without compression stockings. This study found no significant increase in running performance (based on times) while wearing compression stockings during a marathon. The study also looked at the chemicals in the blood after the marathon to measure the amount of muscle breakdown following the run. Again, there was no significant decrease in these chemicals which demonstrates that muscle breakdown was also unchanged with compression stockings.
Although this one study found no major changes while running in compression stockings, there were no adverse reactions to wearing them. If anything compression stockings can help to keep the muscles warm and also look cool, but don’t bank on them making you an olympic runner!
Luke Mehling PT, DPT