Local Heart Expert Weighs In On Compression Garments

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – One of the hottest athletic trends as we enter 2013 is the boom in the sale of compression garments – knee-high socks, tights, and even bodysuits – as weekend warriors look to get an edge on their competition.

But do they work?

Dr. Seiichi Noda, director of cardiac surgery at St. Clare Health Center’s SSM Heart Institute, is an avid triathlete. He says people are squeezing themselves into tight garments for a couple of reasons: to improve performance and to speed recovery.

“They’ve done a lot of studies looking at whether compression stockings or compression garments improve muscular function and there hasn’t been any studies that conclusively demonstrated this,” he said. “There’s been some anecdotal studies and there are some studies that show that there’s no benefit but certainly it doesn’t appear there’s any evidence to show that it improves athletic performance.”

But, Noda adds, there is clear evidence compression stockings help prevent deep vein thrombosis, the formation of blood clots in the legs, which is why they’re often used in the medical profession. Noda wears his compression socks specifically when flying long distances after taking part in triathlete events to help prevent a possible blood clot.

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