Compression Stockings for Runners: #Friend, #Foe, or #Fake


Objective: To assess the effect of graduated compression stockings (GCS) on lower leg volume and leg complaints in runners during and after exercise.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre and an outdoor running track in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Patients or Other Participants: Thirteen Dutch trained recreational runners.

Intervention(s): Participants used a GCS on 1 leg during running.

Main Outcome Measures: (1) Lower leg volume of both legs was measured at baseline, directly after running, and at 5 minutes and 30 minutes after running using a validated perometer. (2) Leg complaints were reported on questionnaires at set intervals.

Results: (1) In both experiments, the legs with GCS showed a reduction in mean (± SEM) leg volume directly after running, as compared with the leg without GCS: −14.1 ± 7.6 mL (P = .04) for the 10-km running track and −53.5 ± 17.8 mL (P = .03) for the maximum exercise test. This effect was not observed at 5 and 30 minutes after running. (2) No differences in leg complaints were reported in either experiment.

Conclusions: The GCS prevented an increase in leg volume just after the running exercise. However, this result was not accompanied by a reduction in subjective questionnaire-reported leg complaints. The practical consequences of the present findings need further study.


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