Freeman Cebu Sports


ALLEZ - Jose Vicente 'JV' Araneta -

Almost every person I know who think they are serious in their sports, be it running, cycling, triathlon, etc., have invested in compression stockings. Compression socks are those ubiquitous,knee-high socks, seen most sports activities, mostly black in color that reminds me of the Boy Scouts.

As for me, I’ve been wearing medical compression socks since as diagnosed with Chronic Venous Insufficiency back in 2006 and I remember Stephen Chian telling me to call it “socks” instead of “stockings” for obvious reasons.

CVI is a condition where the valves of the leg veins don’t work anymore. These valves, when healthy, are important in transporting blood from the extremities back to the heart since blood doesn’t just flow by itself upwards. The valves open in one direction only as blood is pushed towards the heart and close to prevent backflow. If the valves are not working, gravity will pool “dirty blood” around the feet and could potentially lead to more serious conditions.

In theory, compression socks squeeze the blood from the feet and bring them up to the heart for oxygenation.They are very tight at the feet area then eases relatively as it goes up towards the knee area. It took me 20 minutes to get one on the first time I used it.

Sports compression socks work in the same way as medical compression socks except that they are less tight and more colorful. The latter are drab beige or plain black. Sports compression socks works like a massage, and it supposedly squeezes any residual lactic acid (responsible for the burning sensation during intense workout) in the muscle. I say “supposedly” since there are medical specialists who don’t believe in the effectiveness of compression.

I was just one of the few who wear compression stockings six years ago and I’d get funny stares from people because it came out in one color only. I wore it during races at the Rekla and people would tease me about it. But I didn’t care because the discomfort and the potential serious ramifications of CVI were at least minimized.

In 2008, team Saunier Duval was photographed relaxing, wearing compression socks. At first, the cycling community thought it looked ugly but when they realized that these socks could make their recovery a bit faster, everybody jumped into the bandwagon, including Lance Armstrong. These days, compression comes in many colors and function. Just watch the local marathons and you’ll know what I mean. NBA and NFL players are also wearing body compression with pads. The brand, Under Armour, is a very popular brand that makes body compression.Dwight Howard has silver and black arm compression and jockstraps have become a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, the world cycling body, the UCI, has required that socks to be shorter than the mid-point between the ankle and the knee, because some cyclists are using these socks not only for recovery but also for aerodynamics. Since this rule takes effect immediately, you won’t be seeing Cadel Evans wearing a pair soon.

Finally, I witnessed a head-on collision between a motorcycle and a Hyundai compact in San Fernando. The sound of metal crunching on metal was just sickening. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries to those involved.











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