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A Journal on Angiology

Official Journal of the International Union of Angiology, the International Union of Phlebology and the Central European Vascular Forum
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International Angiology 2014 December;33(6):511-7


language: English

Sport socks do not enhance calf muscle pump function but inelastic wraps do

Partsch H. 1, Mosti G. 2

1 Medical University Vienna, Wien, Austria; 2 Department of Angiology, Clinica Barbantini, Lucca, Italy


AIM: Aim of the study was to measure the effect of elastic and inelastic compression on calf muscle pump function in healthy male athletes.
METHODS: This was an experimental study which included 21 healthy male athletes. The ejection fraction (EF) of the venous calf pump was measured comparing the effects of a variety of compression materials: 1) sport compression stockings; 2) light zinc paste bandages; 3) sport compression stockings with additional Velcro® wraps over the calf. The influence of sport stocking and wraps on the venous calibre at the largest calf circumference in the lying and standing position was investigated using MRI.
RESULTS: Inelastic compression exerting a median pressure in the standing position of 37.5 mmHg (zinc paste) and 48 mmHg (loosely applied straps over a sport stocking) achieved a significant increase of EF up to 100%. Sport stockings alone with a standing pressure of 19-24 mmHg did not show a significant change of EF. MRI demonstrated some venous narrowing in the lying but not in the standing position. By wrapping inelastic straps over the stocking an emptying of the veins in the lying and a considerable narrowing in the standing position could be observed.
CONCLUSION: Venous calf pump function in athletes is not influenced by elastic sport stockings, but inelastic wraps either alone or applied over sport stockings lead to a significant enhancement.

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