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The Effect of Graduated Compression Stockings on Running Performance

Ali, Ajmol1; Creasy, Robert H2; Edge, Johann A3

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2011 - Volume 25 - Issue 5 - pp 1385-1392
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181d6848e
Original Research

Ali, A, Creasy, RH, and Edge, JA. The effect of graduated compression stockings on running performance. J Strength Cond Res 25(5): 1385-1392, 2011-The aim of this study was to examine the effects of wearing different grades of graduated compression stockings (GCS) on 10-km running performance. After an initial familiarization run, 9 male and 3 female competitive runners (V̇o2max 68.7 ± 5.8 ml·kg−1·min−1) completed 4 10-km time trials on an outdoor 400-m track wearing either control (0 mm Hg; Con), low (12-15 mm Hg; Low), medium (18-21 mm Hg; Med), or high (23-32 mm Hg; Hi) GCS in a randomized counterbalanced order. Leg power was assessed pre and postrun via countermovement jump using a jump mat. Blood-lactate concentration was assessed pre and postrun, whereas heart rate was monitored continuously during exercise. Perceptual scales were used to assess the comfort, tightness, and any pain associated with wearing GCS. There were no significant differences in performance time between trials (p = 0.99). The change in pre to postexercise jump performance was lower in Low and Med than in Con (p < 0.05). Mean heart rate (p = 0.99) and blood lactate (p = 1.00) were not different between trials. Participants rated Con and Low as more comfortable than Med and Hi (p < 0.01), Med and Hi were rated as tighter than Low (p < 0.01), all GCS were rated as tighter than Con (p < 0.01), and Hi was associated with the most pain (p < 0.01). In conclusion, GCS worn by competitive runners during 10-km time trials did not affect performance time; however Low and Med GCS resulted in greater maintenance of leg power after endurance exercise. Athletes rated low-grade GCS as most comfortable garments to wear during exercise.

1Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Human Health, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand; 2New Zealand Academy of Sport, Christchurch, New Zealand; and 3Department of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Address correspondence to Dr. Ajmol Ali, a.ali@massey.ac.nz.

© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association