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Compression socks are common tools that are utilized in the realm of athletics. The purpose of the compression is to increase blood flow to the lower extremities, thereby increasing oxygen and energy sources needed for increased skeletal muscle function and/or recovery. Recently, a product has been marketed that combines the compression element and cryotherapy, with the goal being increased blood flow to the lower extremities while reducing inflammation post-workout to quicken recovery. However, to our knowledge, direct measures of blood flow using this type of product have not been performed. Thus, this study looks at the effects of compression with and without cryotherapy (e.g. icing) on the blood flow of trained male athletes. The hypothesis was that compression would increase blood flow, ice would reduce it, and a combination of both would produce an intermediate result. The present results indicate that compression, alone or in combination with ice, does not increase CBF as measured by venous occlusion plethysmograph, at rest in trained males. Furthermore, CBF was not attenuated during the ice alone condition. Taken together, the marketed effects of this product are questioned in the present experimental setup.
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Hudock, Michael J., "Effect of Combination Ice and Compression Socks on Resting Calf Blood Flow in Trained Male Athletes" (2016). Stander Symposium Posters. 720.
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