Muscle soreness and lactic acid

Posted by Soul Legs on

It is a misconception that lactic acid causes muscle soreness. Many athletes now turn to compression socks to help them with muscle warm up, enhance sports performance and aid in muscle recovery. The benefits far outweigh wearing non-compression socks during high intensity exercises and training. Before you decide on whether compression sports socks work for you, let's check out how your muscles work.

What is lactic acid?

Lactic acid is produced by the muscles. We start to breathe faster as we use our muscles, to introduce more oxygen into the blood. The muscles produce energy by using oxygen and glucose which results in a substance called pyruvate. When oxygen is limited, pyruvate converts into lactic acid and this accumulates in the muscles.

What causes muscle soreness?

Lactic acid may cause a burning sensation in the muscles but it doesn't cause muscle soreness. It is the contraction of muscles that cause it to swell, leading to muscle soreness.

Why do athletes wear compression socks to enhance performance and muscle recovery?

Compression sports socks aid blood circulation in the legs by increasing blood flow to the heart, this helps with the flow of oxygen which help the muscles produce more energy. The side effect of the muscles producing more energy is the production of lactic acid, which hinders the breakdown of glucose to produce energy. The muscle then starts to lose energy. 

"A side effect of high lactate levels is an increase in the acidity of the muscle cells, along with disruptions of other metabolites. The same metabolic pathways that permit the breakdown of glucose to energy perform poorly in this acidic environment. On the surface, it seems counterproductive that a working muscle would produce something that would slow its capacity for more work. In reality, this is a natural defense mechanism for the body; it prevents permanent damage during extreme exertion by slowing the key systems needed to maintain muscle contraction. Once the body slows down, oxygen becomes available and lactate reverts back to pyruvate, allowing continued aerobic metabolism and energy for the body¿s recovery from the strenuous event."-

Compression socks are made with special knitting and material whereby the technology provides better ventilation, heat management, moisture absorption, ant-microbial effects, cushion at pressure points, anti-slip cuffs, extra soft and light material for comfort and reduction of blistering.

These benefits are over and above the compression technology that aids the muscles in oxygen delivery, blood circulation and removal of lactic acid.

Our sports range specialty: Best compression socks for running, compression socks for varicose veins.

Check out our range of compression sports socks here

In the meantime, revive your legs!


Sarah - Editor, Soul Legs blog