Compression Gear has been around a long time.  Compression gear such as compression stocking were designed to help prevent the occurrence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and the progression of varicose veins.  Compression stockings were worn around the leg to decrease venous pressure relieving aching and heavy legs.   There are two types of compression wear anti-embolism and gradient compression wear.

  • Anti-embolism compression stocking deliver a distributed amount of pressure to the ankle and up the leg.  This type of compression stocking aids the lymphatic and venous drainage of the leg.
  • Gradient compression stockings are woven and designed so that the compression level is highest around the ankle and reduces as you move further up the leg.  

 

Compression Gear for Sports

Compression gear for sports such as compression stockings, socks, compression shorts and compression tights are generally designed in a gradient fashion.  This type of compression gear is made of strong elastics which create a pressure on the feet, ankles and legs.   The compression is tightest at the ankles and gradually become less constrictive as you move up towards the knees and tights.

The theory is that compression gear increases venous blood flow and more by-products in the blood are flushed out.  Performance improves as these by-products are cleared faster.   Some research has found that compression gear clothing improves lactate clearance and improves performance while running.  Many athletes use compression wear to aid recover but to be effective the compression wear needs to be worn immediately after exercise.

 

Compression Wear for Performance

There has been a mixed body of research to date which both supports the benefits of compression gear and its ability to enhance performance and then they are those who has say there is no performance benefits.  One must bear in mind that they are many variables in this type of research including the athletes using it, whether the compression gear used is gradual or not and the amount of compression or the tightness of the compression applied.  Having said that, it looks like this form fitting clothing which has become the new fashion and is here to stay.