It seems like whenever I look at articles about runners, there's some new idea that bubbles up to help runners improve their performance during marathons and other competitions. One new idea that has taken hold among runners is wearing compression socks and other types of compression clothing.
My curiosity about this topic was quite strong since I often recommend compression socks to my patients. But in their case it's because they have edema or swelling in their lower legs. Compression stockings can improve circulation and reduce fatigue. I even wear them since I'm on my feet all day and they help keep my energy up.
But do compression socks really help runners perform better? A new study published in The International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance attempted to find that out.
Sixteen competitive male runners were tested with and without a compression sleeve on their calves while they were running on a treadmill. It turned out that there was no statistically significant difference when they wore the sleeve vs. when they didn't.
Other studies found similar results with the exception of studies done with athletes who used sprinting and leaping as part of their sport such as basketball.
Other researchers have suggested that a strong belief in the benefit of wearing compression socks can have a positive effect on performance.
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