Compression socks are not new to the athletic world; indeed, they are common among runners, triathletes, cyclists and football players (it has strategic partnerships with the Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons), who often claim less post-workout fatigue.
Now, Sigvaris, an international leader in compression therapy, has introduced compression socks specifically designed for golfers.
"When you walk, the calf muscle acts as a second heart and pumps the blood up, helps move it back up to your heart," Sigvaris spokesperson Melissa Gwozdz said explaining in layman's terms how compression socks work. "It helps flush out lactic acid, which is improtant for golfers who are on the golf course all day."
Sigvaris' cotton golf socks feature graduated compression. "It's tightest at the ankle and less and less tight as it goes up the leg," Gwozdz said. "The socks act as a layer of muscle to help squeeze the veins.
"We did a field study with a local golf course here [in Peachtree City, Ga.]. Eighty-six percent of golfers said their legs felt better after a round, 50 percent said they had less swelling in their legs."
Will compression socks, which are routinely used to guard against deep vein thrombosis (among other medical uses), work for athletes? The jury is still out. A study conducted by Stellenbosch University (in South Africa) and presented at the annual meeting of the 2007 American College of Sports Medicine showed mixed results. On the one hand, "there were no statistically significant differences in maximal oxygen consumption, heart rate or minute ventilation between treadmill runners who wore compression socks and those who did not," Running Times Magazine reported.
But it also showed "a faster lactate recovery rate after exercise when wearing compression socks, suggesting that compression socks might speed recovery after a strenuous workout or a race."
The latter is the benefit touted by LPGA star Brittany Lincicome, who has an endorsement contract with Sigvaris and uses its cotton golf socks in workouts. A pair sells for about $25.
-- John Strege