European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 11–12, pp 2701–2710 | Cite as

The effects of compression stockings on the energetics and biomechanics during walking

  • Longfei Cheng
  • Caihua XiongEmail author
Original Article



The purpose of this study was to explore how compression stockings affect the energetics and biomechanics during walking.


Sixteen male adults participated in this study. Participants completed walking trials on the treadmill and force plates, wearing compression stockings (CS) or nothing as a control condition (CON). The data obtained included metabolic rate, muscle activation, step frequency and step length as well as their variability, joint kinematics and joint kinetics.


The effect of compression stockings on metabolic rate was trivial (CS: 3.81 ± 0.44 W kg−1, CON: 3.83 ± 0.46 W kg−1, p = 0.84, d = 0.05). Activation of calf muscles, step frequency and step length as well as their variability, joint range of motion and joint powers did not show a significant difference between conditions (p = 0.09–0.90, d = 0.01–0.34). The peak knee extension moment during the early stance phase had a tendency to increase (CS: 0.57 ± 0.27 N m kg−1, CON: 0.51 ± 0.28 N m kg−1, p = 0.05, d = 0.19) while the peak knee flexion moment during the late swing phase had a tendency to decrease (CS: 0.16 ± 0.10 N m kg−1, CON: 0.19 ± 0.12 N m kg−1, p = 0.10, d = 0.21). The peak ankle dorsiflexion moment during the early stance phase significantly increased (CS: 0.11 ± 0.06 N m kg−1, CON: 0.08 ± 0.05 N m kg−1, p = 0.02, d = 0.58) while the peak ankle plantar flexion moment during the late swing phase significantly decreased (CS: 1.41 ± 0.12 N m kg−1, CON: 1.47 ± 0.14 N m kg−1, p = 0.02, d = 0.45).


Compression stockings have a limited effect on improving energetics of walking, but they may play a role in improving biomechanics by altering the relative contribution of knee and ankle moments to propulsion.


Compression garment Muscle activation Kinematics Kinetics Metabolic cost 



Compression garment




Gastrocnemius lateralis


Maximal voluntary contraction


Respiratory exchange ratio


Root mean square


Range of motion


Standard deviation




Tibialis anterior



The authors would like to acknowledge all participants who volunteered to participate in the experiment. We also would like to render thanks to Di Hu, Yuyao Liu, Bo Huang, Xiaowei Xu, Chuang Liu and Zhiliang Xie for all their advice.

Author contributions

CX conceived and designed research. LC conducted experiments, analyzed data and wrote the manuscript. CX revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grants 91648203, and Program of International Science and Technology Cooperation of China under Grant 2016YFE0113600.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Robotics Research, State Key Lab of Digital Manufacturing Equipment and TechnologyHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina

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