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 out regarding compression like its effectiveness in leg compression for athletes and how much more they could improve with it. Let’s all find out.
We’ll begin our discussion with an explanation about the concept behind leg compression and how it works. There are many kinds of leg compression but the most common for athletes are compression socks and sleeves. Blood circulation starts at the heart, where oxygenated blood is being pumped to the extremities and muscles. The cells absorb and use the oxygen and nutrients from the blood, afterwards the deoxygenated blood carries lactic acid and other waste products through the veins 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 vigorous activity and exercise the body produces waste product, for example, Lactic acid - if not removed the muscles can contribute to muscle pain or soreness which lead to the decreased ability to perform. Activities that are physically demanding produce muscular vibrations which contribute to fatigue and damage.
Leg compression, like socks and sleeves, offer graduated compression which means that the compression is higher or tighter at the foot and ankle areas, and lower or weaker compression as it moves up the calf. These types of leg compression garments facilitate the fight against gravity and support the return of the deoxygenated blood back to the heart.
Consistent compression in optimal level 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, thus recovery is quicker than usual. The veins will also constrict under consistent compression that increases the velocity of the blood flow, thus allowing the deoxygenated blood and lactic acid to return back to the heart faster, which will help increase the rate of recovery and decrease muscle soreness. The leg compression garment can stabilize the leg muscles that 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 of the injured part but it will not cure any condition. All injuries should be assessed by a physician 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.