European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 116, Issue 4, pp 717–727 | Cite as

Investigating the impact of passive external lower limb compression on central and peripheral hemodynamics during exercise

  • Jennifer Book
  • Chekema N. Prince
  • Rodrigo Villar
  • Richard L. Hughson
  • Sean D. Peterson
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of graduated compression socks (GCS) on enhancing muscle blood flow and oxygenation during exercise and recovery in healthy subjects.

Methods

Twelve healthy volunteers completed a protocol involving baseline, exercise, and recovery periods with and without GCS. Each test was repeated twice to assess repeatability of the results. The applied sock pressure was measured prior to experimentation using a custom pressure sensing system, and modified as necessary using tensor bandages to control the applied load. During each of the experimental phases, blood velocity in the popliteal artery, calf muscle tissue oxygenation, muscle activity, heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output, and applied pressure from the sock were measured. Popliteal artery diameter was measured during baseline and recovery periods.

Results

The GCS significantly reduced deoxyhemoglobin (HHb) in the leg during baseline (HHb, p = 0.001) and total blood volume and HHb in the leg during exercise (total hemoglobin, p = 0.01; HHb, p = 0.02). However, there were no differences in leg muscle blood flow velocity or any other variables with and without GCS at baseline, exercise, or recovery. Interestingly, it was found that the local applied sock pressure was very sensitive to the sock application process and, furthermore, the pressure varied considerably during exercise.

Conclusions

No significant changes were observed in measures reflecting oxygen delivery for healthy subjects using GCS during exercise and recovery. Applied sock pressure was carefully controlled, thus eliminating the sock application process as a variable.

Keywords

Passive compression Graduated compression socks Hemodynamics Popliteal artery Plantar flexion 

Abbreviations

BL

Baseline

CO

Cardiac output

DBP

Diastolic blood pressure

ECG

Electrocardiogram

EMG

Electromyogram

EX

Plantar flexion exercise

GCS

Graduated compression socks

HHb

Deoxyhemoglobin

HR

Heart rate

MVC

Maximum voluntary contraction

NGCS

Not wearing graduated compression socks

NIRS

Near-infrared spectroscopy

O2Hb

Oxyhemoglobin

ΔP

Applied sock pressure difference from ankle to knee

ADpop

Popliteal artery diameter

PBFmean

Mean popliteal artery flow rate

PBVmean

Mean popliteal artery blood velocity

REC

Recovery

SBP

Systolic blood pressure

tHb

Total hemoglobin

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Book
    • 1
  • Chekema N. Prince
    • 1
  • Rodrigo Villar
    • 2
  • Richard L. Hughson
    • 2
  • Sean D. Peterson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics EngineeringUniversity of WaterlooOntarioCanada
  2. 2.Department of KinesiologyUniversity of WaterlooOntarioCanada

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