Monday, August 11, 2014

OR Summer 14: Sigvaris Sports Compression- Light with True Graduated Compression

Sigvaris is a 150 year old Swiss company specialized in medical compression garments. They have been in medical compression for over 50 years. Medical compression garments are used for varicose veins, DVT, maternity, diabetes, leg ulcers, etc... In recent years compression garments and especially leg sleeves/socks and shorts have become popular in endurance sports.
Sigvaris says:

 Athletes who wear SIGVARIS SPORTS products will benefit from:
- Increased circulation
- Improved blood flow through the veins
- Increased oxygen to the muscle tissue
- Less lactic acid buildup in the legs during exercise
- Reduced exercise-induced muscle soreness in the legs

I have used a number of compression products over the last several years, primarily calf compression sleeves,  including the first I found on the market CEP, then Zanesh, Salomon, SmartWool and more recently CEP again. While I am not sure about the performance benefits of improved circulation, improved blood flow and oxygen and less lactic acid build up I am pretty sure, that at least for me that with compression:
  • I have less exercise induced soreness after wearing sleeves 
  • My legs feel more aligned in the direction of travel
  • I am quite sure they  help reduce calf cramps in long events by stabilizing the muscles, reducing vibration and preventing nerves from twitching into cramps. According to this article in Competitor quoting Prof. Schwellnus of the University of Cape Town “The mechanism for muscle fatigue and muscle damage causing cramping is best explained through an imbalance that develops in the nervous system control of muscle. Muscles tend to become very twitchy when they become fatigued or are injured,” said Schwellnus. "
The issue with calf sleeves  has been one of comfort for me. Zanesh was too thick and hot and while the latest CEP are fine, I keep looking for thinner and more comfortable options.

Found what I was looking for at Outdoor Retailer from Sigvaris .
The folks at Sigvaris Sports were kind enough to give me a pair of their 412V Compression Calf Sleeves as well as a Merino Outdoor Compression Sock at no charge.
Sigvaris Sports Performance Sleeves 412V

The Sigvaris is the lightest compression sleeve I have found. I wore them on a warmish,  hilly 15 mile run this weekend and never noticed they were there. Next day no leg soreness. And they are truly graduated with 30mmHg at the ankle(tightest compression),  going to 20mmHg at the top ( lightest compression). While other compression sleeves and socks are FDA approved for medical purposes,  I was told Sigvaris is the only sports oriented compression that is FDA approved with all that entails in terms of proving claims,etc...

Sigvaris  Sports Performance Socks 412C

I almost always wear knee high compression socks in winter for skiing and running, finding them particularly effective in cold temperatures. The Merino Outdoor is actually specified for F-16 pilots at Hill Air Force Base in UT as they not only provide the compression benefits for long hours in the cockpit but wool is flame resistant, critical for fight gear.

My wife was given a pair of the Sports Performance Socks and she is loving hers too.
You can support this blog and get a great deal on the 412 C at the link below.

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