Pro cyclist and 7 times tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has recently been seen wearing Compression Socks at this years Tour De France as part of his post stage recovery program. Other pro cycling teams like Garmin - Slipstream are also documented as using compression technology post race to improve the recovery of their riders. Long stage races like the tour de France means that it's vital that riders recover quickly after a hard day in the saddle cycling up mountain passes in the Alps, so they are ready for the next days stage.
So what is it with Compression Socks?
They are widely used in clinical and post-surgical settings for the treatment of edema, lymph edema, phlebitis, varicose veins, spider veins and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Most people will be aware in the last 3 to 4 years of people being advised to wear compression socks on long haul flights to reduce the risk of DVT.
How will they help me as a cyclist, and are they just for the professionals?
As you cycle, blood is circulated from the heart to all of your body. Your legs and feet have a hard time returning this blood back up to the heart. The socks work as a vascular constrictor helping with the process of returning the blood to the heart. Wearing compression socks after cycling or any endurance event improves your recovery by assisting your body in circulating blood and lymph fluids through your tired muscles. This area still needs alot more study but people have been wearing these socks for years to improve their circulation.
Compression socks are very low cost and can be used by all level of cyclists to improve their recovery after a long ride.