Effect of compression socks worn between repeated maximal running bouts Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose: To determine the effect of wearing compression socks between repeated running bouts on perceptual, physiological and performance-based parameters. METHODS: Twelve well-trained male runners (mean ± SD; 5km time 19:24 ± 1:19 mm:ss) recorded their perceptions on the efficacy of compression socks for recovery prior to completion of two experimental sessions. Each session consisted of two 5km running time trials (TT1 and TT2) on a treadmill, with a one-hour recovery period between each TT. In a randomised cross-over design, one session required participants to wear compression socks during the recovery period (COMP), while no compression socks were worn between TTs in the other session (CON). RESULTS: Running performance between TT1 and TT2 in COMP was similar between TTs (mean Δ ± SD; 5.3 ± 20.7s, d=0.07, p=0.20) while for CON, performance significantly decreased in the second TT (mean Δ; 15.9 ± 13.3s, d=0.19, p<0.01). When grouped by perception of efficacy for compression socks, participants with strong beliefs (n=7) experienced improved subsequent running performance with COMP (mean Δ; -3.6 ± 19.2s, d=0.05, p=0.32) compared to those with neutral or negative perceptions (n=5, mean Δ; 17.9 ± 17.0s, d=0.19, p=0.04). Cross-sectional area of the calf and muscle soreness were significantly reduced during the recovery period with the use of COMP (p<0.01), while ratings of fatigue showed no difference between conditions. CONCLUSIONS: Wearing compression socks between repeated running bouts can aid recovery and subsequent performance. Furthermore, subsequent exercise performance may be even further enhanced when athletes believe in the efficacy of compression socks to assist in recovery between exercise bouts.

publication date

  • 2016