Most athletes, nowadays, wear expensive compression socks, tights, sleeves, and other garments to hold muscles firmly in place. The tight-fitting apparel is thought to improve blood flow to the parts of the body, particularly the muscles that can help boost athletic performance.
Due to its popularity in sports, a lot of questions pop-up regarding compression, like its effectiveness in leg compression for athletes and how much more they could improve with it. Let’s all find out!
Let's begin with an explanation about the concept behind leg compression and how it works. There are many kinds of compression wear, but the most common for athletes are compression socks and sleeves - Browse Doc Miller's Compression Gear here.
How Exactly Does Compression Apparel Affect Your Body
Blood circulation starts at the heart, where oxygenated blood is pumped through your arteries and capillaries to your lungs, muscles, and outer extremities. Your cells absorb and use the oxygen and nutrients from the blood, which is exchanged for waste products produced by the body.
Your veins carry the deoxygenated blood with waste, like lactic acid, to the liver, where it is converted to glucose and back up to the heart. When the deoxygenated blood reaches the heart, the process is repeated.
Oxygenated blood is important for the performance of athletes because the more oxygen that flows through the blood the better the muscles will function. During intense activity and exercise the body produces waste products, for example, Lactic acid and carbon dioxide. If not removed quickly the acid causes the muscles to feel pain or soreness and reduces the absorption of oxygen, which leads to exhaustion and a decrease in performance.
Activities that are physically demanding create vibrations in the tissues, which contribute to muscle fatigue and damage.
Leg compression, like socks and sleeves, offer graduated compression which means that the compression is higher or tighter at the feet and ankle, and lower or looser compression as it moves up the calf. These types of compression garments facilitate the fight against gravity and support the veins with returning deoxygenated blood back up the body to the heart.
Consistent compression at optimal levels will increase the blood flow of the body because the walls of the arteries will dilate allowing more blood to flow. This also means that more nutrients and oxygen will be transported throughout the body, especially to the affected area, allowing the deoxygenated blood and lactic acid to return faster.
The veins will also constrict under consistent compression that increases the velocity of the blood flow, which will help increase the rate of recovery and decrease muscle soreness. The leg compression garment can also stabilize the leg muscles, which decrease the vibration of the muscles resulting in the reduction of fatigue.
Leg compression garments are good for shin splints, calf cramps, and Achilles tendonitis, it can help lessen the pain and soreness, but it cannot completely cure medical conditions. All injuries should be assessed by a medical professional to address the real cause of discomfort.
Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. Please contact a licensed physician for a proper diagnosis of your specific case.