Elastic stockings, performance and leg pain recovery in 63-year-old sportsmen

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2004 Dec;93(3):347-52. doi: 10.1007/s00421-004-1163-9.


This study was undertaken to determine whether or not elastic compression stockings (ECS) can be used in elderly sportsmen to increase performance and leg pain recovery between two maximal exercises. For 2 weeks, 12 trained elderly cyclists, 63 (3) years old, performed two 5-min maximal exercises, Plim1 and Plim2, separated by an 80-min recovery period, twice a week with a 2-day rest interval. During the 80-min recovery period, they randomly wore or did not wear grip-top ECS Ganzoni-Sigvaris. ECS exerted a 44 hPa pressure at the ankle. Blood lactate concentrations, hematocrit, and plasma volume were measured after a 60-min rest and every 20 min during recovery. Leg sensations were assessed with a questionnaire. The decrease in maximal power between Plim1 and Plim2 was lower when wearing the ECS during the 80-min recovery period; when expressed as a percentage of Plim1, the difference reached 2.1 (1.4)%, P < 0.01. Between the two exercises, blood lactate concentrations and hematocrit were significantly decreased when wearing ECS. The increase in plasma volume was not significant. The 12 cyclists stated that wearing the ECS had a positive effect on their leg pain. Ten of the cyclists thought that it could have influenced their performance. However, no relationship was found between the gain in performance and the leg pain sensation. It was concluded that wearing ECS during an 80-min recovery period significantly increased subsequent performance. This was associated with a reduction in lactate and hematocrit.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bandages*
  • Bicycling
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Hematocrit
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Leg / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain
  • Plasma Volume


  • Lactic Acid