Athletes are increasingly wearing compression socks or calf sleeves because of their ability to enhance performance, speed recovery and prevent injuries.
Compression’s origins are well-grounded in medicine. Support stockings have long been prescribed post-surgery to assist in venous return and to prevent blood clots. By applying gradient compression from the foot and/or ankle, the blood is encouraged back up the leg to the heart. While one’s body is designed to do this on its own, a little extra help can go a long way.
Gradient Compression Important
Circulation is normally aided by flexing muscles, which helps squeeze out waste by-products, lymph fluid, and de-oxygenated blood. Inactivity, the everyday effects of gravity, as well as vigorous exercise or trauma can cause fluid to pool in the muscles and surrounding tissue. The right amount of gradient compression — tighter at the bottom of the leg and becoming looser further up — can promote better circulation and speed up recovery.
People who stand at their jobs, sit for long periods while traveling, or who are pregnant (which doubles a woman’s blood volume) understand how this pooling makes the lower legs swell and feel heavy. Wearing leg compression can alleviate these symptoms. This works for athletes, too, because vigorous exercise causes muscle damage.
Reduce Muscle Vibration
Compression clothing also reduces muscle vibration. A study by the Human Performance Laboratory at Canada’s University of Calgary examined how muscles work hard to not vibrate because it damages the tissues. But the body’s natural “damping” mechanism that reduces muscle vibration requires energy, and therefore increases fatigue. The study showed that compression clothing dampens muscle vibration, thereby saving up to 8 percent in energy output!
Treat Shin Splints
Shin splints are another injury that compression can either prevent or help heal. This painful condition is a common complaint of many athletes, often caused by high-impact training, poor technique, or biomechanical issues such as pronation that strain the muscles surrounding the tibia. If left untreated, stress fractures can result.
Athletes are also finding that compression provides better oxygen delivery—and energy—to busy muscles. This means muscles warm up faster, which prevents injuries and allows athletes to achieve a higher level of fitness faster.
RecoFit Compression Gear can make a difference in your performance, recovery and comfort, whether you are a serious athlete, a frequent traveler, or someone who is on your feet all day.