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Sport Compression Sleeves and Socks – The Science

Last blog I talked about the non-science. This time, the science behind sport compression sleeves and socks. You’ve seen them, distance runners, professional athletes and perhaps, even me, an adventure racer, wearing them. Why, you ask?

Benefit Performance

When you wear compression, studies show that the walls of your arteries dilate, which increases the amount of blood flowing to your muscles. When you increase your blood flow, your muscles are getting more oxygen and nutrients they need to power through your activity.

Compression garments also support your muscles and decrease the amount of muscular vibration. This reduces the muscle fatigue you may experience during exercise. Less muscle fatigue can mean improved endurance.

Benefit Muscle Performance

The circulation boost from compression keeps lactic acid from building up in your muscle. Compression also boosts your lymphatic system and reduces inflammation. Since your muscles benefit from the increase in circulation, you recover faster from exercise with less discomfort.

Helps Reduce Swelling and Prevent Injury

Since sleeves and socks compress, they also reduce any swelling caused by injury. Compression may be beneficial for those dealing with shin splints, muscle cramps and tendinitis. Compression won’t cure your injury, but you could feel much better with support.  Making your routine more comfortable can motivate you to keep going.

Wearing compression may prevent future injury. The gentle pressure created by the gradual compression will support your muscles and keep the area protected. Especially with leg sleeves/socks as they will support your calf muscles and protect your lower leg from bumps and scrapes. Compression is not a substitute for physiotherapy, stretching or proper rest on an injury.

So, there you have it, sports compression may improve your performance and recovery and may even reduce your risk of future injury. This same science applies for those working long hours on their feet. A friend who is a mail carrier swears by them!

Sports compression sleeves are not a covered benefit with extended health insurance plans. However, with a referral from your family physician, Bauerfiend® sport compression socks are Grade 1 (20-30mmHg) and are a covered benefit of many health insurance plans.

If you would like more information or to be measured for some Bauerfiend® sport compression socks or sleeves, please call or email me to arrange a time (we’re limiting walk ins during COVID).

Roberta Weston

Registered Kinesiologist

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