Updated: Apr 21, 2022
The use of compression socks and sleeves is not new and it has gone through its fad stage where everyone had to have them and have the bright flashy neon colors. Although it was a fad, it is not "fake news." There is evidence that compression socks and sleeves supplement the body's skeletal muscle pump. They were marketed for their assistance with blood return, especially from the calves. But compression wear has so many more uses! Here are just a few:
1. Injury Prevention: Compression wear helps to dampen vibration forces that occur with movement and especially with impact. A great use case would be calf injuries or shin splints. When used while running, compression wear can reduce vibration forces that contribute to irritating and micro-level tearing of muscles. Compression will not heal your injury but it can (depending on severity) allow you to train through the injury and prevent reinjury.
2. Retaining Body Heat: Since compression wear pulls everything tight and towards your core it is the answer to staying warm on cold days such as when out skiing. Whether compression sleeves or compression socks, they hold the muscle tight up against the bone and therefore the warmer blood in the vessels will help retain heat better than without compression wear. This also applies to keeping muscles warm when working out especially when performing any lower body strength training. Adductors and hamstrings are at a higher risk of injury during these types of workouts.
3. Cooling Effect: Some compression wear is designed for cooling effects in hot weather because they have been designed with UV protection and often have a cooling agent in the fabric. It may seem counter-intuitive to wear long sleeves when it's 90-100 degrees, but cooling sleeves can offer comfort and performance benefits.
Compression is more than a fad. Bring it back out and put it to work!