Saturday, December 10, 2016

Compression socks: help debunk the myth

This is a call to all runners in the San Francisco area, to join a study aiming at clarifying the efficiency of compression socks. I was referred to this study by a friend but the logistic requires several visits in San Francisco and I couldn't fit all of them in my schedule. However, I am interested in the result: personally, I'm a big believer in compression socks which I wear on every flight, especially after hearing about several blood clot incidents among my ultra running friends. I'm on blood thinner now, because of last March's TIA, but still, it can't hurt, and my heart rate frequently goes below 40 at rest, so better keep the blood flowing. However, for running, I'm not convinced that the benefits on limiting leg fatigue and formation of lactic acid overweigh the lack of aesthetic. But I can see it works super well for Michael Wardian and his ultra loaded racing regimen.

Anyway, if you live or work in San Francisco, please consider contacting Brittany Steers ( -- I let you reconstruct the right email address if you aren't a robot or bot. You can also connect with her on Faceook, she is a personal trainer in San Mateo). Brittany works on her Masters of Science in Kinesiology and need more participants to make her study and sample meaningful.

And if you can't make it yourself, please consider referring your running friends to this article and call for participation.

A few details on the study:

  • Requires to have been running for the past 18 months
  • The time commitment for most participants so far has been ~3 hours, and includes 4 visits to the San Francisco State University Exercise Physiology Lab. 
    • Visits 1 and 2 are 48 hours apart.
    • Two weeks later you will come in for Visit 3.
    • Visit 4 is 48 hours after Visit 3.
    • Brittany provides all the compression and placebo socks for the study. She is looking for any runners or multisport athletes that have been running for at least 18 months. They will be filling out an exercise history questionnaire during their first visit so that she knows what type of athletes she is getting in this study.
  • Additionally, pre-test instructions before visits 1 and 3:
    • Not to complete any race effort workouts or time trials the week before each experimental procedure
    • Not to exercise, consume alcohol, or take any NSAIDs for at least 24 hours before experimental procedure (Bushra & Aslam, 2010)
    • Not to consume caffeine for 3 hours before the experiment
    • To have a normal diet the day of test
    • To drink at least 500mL of water the day of test
  • The lab is on the San Francisco State University campus, near Lake Merced, at 1600 Holloway Avenue in San Francisco.

If you live or work in San Francisco or close by, hope you will consider contributing to science, and help establishing the truth to this fundamental question: "Are compression socks worth it?"

PS: both pictures provided by Brittany. And NFI in this study, just the genuine interest and curiosity of an ultra runner.

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