A study published in Research in Sports Medicine examined the benefits of compression socks for female soccer players.
Soccer-induced muscle injury and fatigue are possible and unfortunate aspects of the sport. Previous studies have found various benefits of compression socks when worn by male soccer players. These benefits included a reduction in muscle stress and damage.
However, researchers have noted that soccer performance and soccer-induced fatigue and muscle damage varies among the sexes. This raised the question: do compression socks benefit female soccer players as they do men soccer players?
To determine the answer to this question, researchers examined the benefits of compression socks for 20 female players who participated in the study. The study was published in Research in Sports Medicine. For the study, players were asked to eat as they normally would, but to abstain from alcohol and caffeine. They were also asked not to exercise heavily two days prior to the study. Some players wore compression socks while others wore regular socks so that the researchers could directly compare the difference.
Before and after playing soccer, all players completed performance tests. They completed a t-test (leg), a standing heel-rise test (calf), and a yo-yo intermittent endurance test (intermittent activity performance). Furthermore, players who wore compression socks were examined for fit (tightness) and comfort before and after the match. Players’ heart rates were also noted throughout the soccer match.
Benefits of compression socks versus soccer socks
The study reported that the benefits of wearing compression socks previously seen for men, apply to female soccer players as well.
Whether they were wearing regular soccer socks or compression socks, players showed similar yo-yo intermittent endurance test results, however, post-match leg and calf results were positive in players who wore compression socks. Athletes who wore the soccer compression socks reported less post-match fatigue compared with regular sock wearers.
Players who wore compression socks physically benefited more than players who did not. Players who wore compression socks showed no changes in their agility tests, whereas players who wore regular soccer socks did. Researchers note that the benefits of compression socks may also include avoiding injuries.
A limitation of this study is that muscle damage was not closely examined. Future studies may also take this into consideration.
The benefits of compression socks include helping reduce post-match muscle stress and fatigue in soccer players. They may also help with performance. Further research on this topic could help to learn more about the benefits of these socks for soccer players.
Written by Laura Laroche, HBASc, Medical Writer
- Neves Pavin, Larissa, et al. “Can Compression Stockings Reduce the Degree of Soccer Match-Induced Fatigue in Females?” Research in Sports Medicine. 2019. 1-15. Online.
- Performance enhancer: Sports compression stockings a winning advantage. 2019, https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-12/jcu-pes121918.php, assessed 9 Jan. 2019.