Compression Wear for Runners: How it Can Help Prevent Injuries

Compression Wear for Runners: How it Can Help Prevent Injuries

As a runner, you’re always looking for ways to improve your performance and prevent injuries. One of the latest trends in running gear is compression wear, and many runners swear by it. In this blog, we’ll explore what compression wear is, how it works, and how it can help prevent injuries in runners.

Compression wear is a type of tight-fitting clothing that is designed to apply pressure to specific areas of the body. It’s usually made from a blend of spandex and nylon or polyester, which makes it stretchy and comfortable to wear. Compression wear comes in various forms, including socks, sleeves, shorts, pants, and tops, and it can be worn during or after exercise.

The idea behind compression wear is that it can improve blood flow, reduce muscle vibration, and enhance proprioception (the ability to sense your body’s position and movement). By applying pressure to the muscles, compression wear can help prevent the buildup of lactic acid, which can cause fatigue and soreness. Additionally, compression wear can help reduce the risk of injury by providing support to the muscles and joints, which can help prevent excessive movement and twisting.

Several studies have investigated the effects of compression wear on running performance and injury prevention. One study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that wearing compression shorts during a 5K run improved performance and reduced muscle soreness compared to wearing regular shorts. Another study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that wearing compression socks during a marathon reduced muscle damage and inflammation.

So how can compression wear help prevent injuries in runners? Let’s take a look at some of the ways:

  1. Muscle support and stabilization: Compression wear can help support the muscles and joints, reducing the risk of excessive movement and twisting. This can be particularly helpful for runners who are prone to ankle sprains, knee injuries, and other types of joint pain.
  2. Improved blood flow: Compression wear can improve blood flow to the muscles, which can help reduce muscle fatigue and soreness. Improved blood flow can also help flush out metabolic waste products, such as lactic acid, which can contribute to muscle fatigue and soreness.
  3. Reduced muscle vibration: When you run, your muscles vibrate, which can lead to fatigue and soreness. Compression wear can help reduce muscle vibration, which can help prevent fatigue and soreness.
  4. Enhanced proprioception: Compression wear can enhance proprioception, which is the ability to sense your body’s position and movement. This can help improve running form and reduce the risk of injury.

It’s worth noting that while compression wear can be helpful in preventing injuries, it’s not a magic bullet. It’s important to have a well-rounded approach to injury prevention that includes proper warm-up and cool-down, stretching, strength training, and adequate rest and recovery.

When choosing compression wear, it’s important to consider factors such as fit, material, and level of compression. Compression wear should be snug but not too tight, and it should be made from breathable materials that wick away sweat. Additionally, the level of compression should be appropriate for the activity and the individual. Compression wear that is too tight can restrict movement and cause discomfort.

Compression stockings courtesy of Body Works Physiotherapy (Read the caption)

How physiotherapy can help reduce injury risk for runners

Physiotherapy is an important part of injury prevention for runners. It can help reduce the risk of injury by improving muscle strength, flexibility, and stability. It can also help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, improve running form, and prevent further injury. Physiotherapists use a variety of techniques to help runners prevent and manage injuries, including manual therapy, exercise, and education.

Manual therapy is a hands-on approach to treating musculoskeletal injuries. It involves the use of massage, stretching, and joint mobilization to improve joint and muscle function. Manual therapy can help reduce inflammation, improve range of motion, and reduce pain. It can also help improve posture and running form, which can help prevent future injuries. 

Exercise is another important aspect of injury prevention for runners. Physiotherapists can prescribe specific exercises to help strengthen and stabilize the muscles and joints, which can help reduce the risk of injury. Core strengthening exercises, such as planks and side bridges, can help improve posture and reduce the risk of lower back injuries. Gluteal and hip strengthening exercises can help reduce the risk of knee and ankle injuries. And exercises that target the muscles of the lower leg, such as calf raises, can help reduce the risk of shin splints. 

Education is also an important part of injury prevention for runners. Physiotherapists can provide runners with information about proper warm-up and cool-down techniques, stretching, and other injury prevention strategies. They can also provide advice on the appropriate type and amount of compression wear to use, as well as tips for selecting the right running shoes and other gear. 

In addition to helping runners prevent and manage injuries, physiotherapy can also help improve performance. Physiotherapists can provide runners with advice on how to improve running form and technique. They can also provide guidance on how to properly use compression wear to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. Compression wear can help reduce muscle vibration, improve blood flow, and enhance proprioception, which can all help improve running performance. 

Overall, physiotherapy can be a valuable tool for runners looking to prevent and manage injuries, as well as improve their performance. By incorporating manual therapy, exercises, and education into their treatment plan, physiotherapists can help runners stay safe and perform at their best.

Compression socks or stockings can help reduce feelings of pain, heaviness and swelling in the legs courtesy of Body Works Physiotherapy (Read the caption)


This appointment is your opportunity to tell us what hurts and discover whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care is a good fit for you! During this session, you will talk with a physiotherapist or chiropractor on a phone call (or online) and create the right care plan specifically for your pain. There is no obligation on this session is to find out whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care can help you getting back to doing the things you love in life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Compression clothing has been reported to improve performance and aid in recovery. Studies have shown that compression garments can enhance athletic performance by increasing blood flow to muscles, reducing fatigue, and decreasing muscle soreness. Compression clothing can also increase proprioception, resulting in improved posture and balance.

Compression garments are generally effective in improving performance and aiding in recovery, however the extent of the effects will vary from person to person. It is important to note that compression garments can be uncomfortable and can cause skin irritation, so it is important to ensure that the garment is the right size and quality.

Compression garments work by applying pressure to the skin, which can reduce swelling and inflammation. This can help to reduce pain and improve range of motion. Compression also helps to improve circulation, which can reduce muscle fatigue and help to speed up recovery time.

About Megan Zuber

Megan Zuber graduated from Sir Sandford Fleming College in Peterborough with her diploma of Physical Therapist Assistant/Occupational Therapist Assistant program in 2008. On top of maintaining updated CPR, Megan has also taken many courses on office management, time management, orthotic ordering and billing, and FSCO guideline training.
While she loves the hands on work as a PTA, Megan also enjoys managing the office side. She lives in Oshawa with her husband and cocker spaniel.

Medical Disclaimer:

The information presented in this blog post is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, treatment or a diagnosis, consult with a medical professional such as one suggested on this website. The Clinic Accelerator Inc. and the author of this page are not liable for the associated risks of using or acting upon the information contained in this article.

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