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Side Effects of Compression Socks

Study shows improvements in balance and reflex control.

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Runner wearing compression socks

Many people believe that the specialty apparel improves performance and enhances postexercise recovery. New findings show that wearing compression socks may also offer beneficial sensory feedback. University of Victoria researchers in British Columbia conducted a small study to evaluate the sensory effects, if any, from wearing the socks. Subjects who wore calf compression socks and the ankle sleeve experienced an altered reflex response that improved balance recovery during walking, compared with when they wore regular socks.

Investigators think the sensory feedback enhancement amplifies reflex responses via nervous system stimulation. This may have implications for the design of other types of performance apparel.

The research is reported in BMC Sports Science and Medical Rehabilitation (2021; 13 [1], 61).

See also: Are Compression Socks Effective?


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Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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