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October 25, 2022 2 min read

Compression socks or stockings and intermittent pneumatic compression are the two types of compression used by athletes.

Regular compression is used by compression garments, which are typically tighter at the bottom and gradually get looser. Squeezing the legs improves blood flow from the feet upwards and lessens swelling and discomfort.

Intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices mechanically inflate and deflate segments of a sleeve or cuffs placed around the legs, which are then filled with air and squeeze your legs. This increases blood flow through the veins of your legs and helps prevent blood clots.

WHAT SCIENCE SAY: IPC VERSUS COMPRESSION STOCKINGS 

Compared to continuously worn compressive stockings, a study finds that daily treatments with a pneumatic compression device demonstrated better recovery from the elbow flexors' Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Another study found that the use of IPC was linked with a considerably lower incidence of venous thromboembolism, including DVT and pulmonary embolism, in critically sick patients compared to graduated compression stockings.

Furthermore, an investigation indicated that IPC could lower the incidence of venous thromboembolism in critically ill patients better than graduated compression stockings and is comparable to low-molecular-weight heparin.

THE TAKEAWAY:

Although studies have shown that intermittent pneumatic compression devices produce better results, there is nothing wrong with using compression socks. It’s just that a mechanical device will compress you far more quickly than socks because of its sheer size. Consider the difference between an active and passive stretch: Pneumatic compression devices are more active than socks, which only provide passive compression.

You can check on Recovapro Air to learn more about pneumatic compression devices and how they could help you recover from training or following surgery.


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