Updated: Nov 17
Using a compression sock for Achilles tendonitis is not supported by research. In fact, wearing compression socks has been identified as a possible risk factor for Achilles tendonitis in marathon runners. This article explains why this might be and recommends what you could do instead to relieve Achilles pain immediately and in the long run. Remember, if you need help with an Achilles injury, you're welcome to consult one of our team via video call.
The terms tendinitis, tendonitis, tendinosis, and tendinopathy mean the same thing for all practical purposes, and we use these interchangeably in most of our articles.
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Don’t waste your money on a compression sock for Achilles tendonitis
No research to support compression socks for Achilles tendonitis
There are very few, if any, research studies that looked at the usefulness of wearing a compression sock for Achilles tendonitis.
However, there is a recent study that investigated the effect of compression socks on the risk of Achilles tendonitis in runners training for a marathon. It also investigated many other factors, such as training programmes, shoes, age, gender, and injury history.
The findings were inconclusive on many of these factors, but one of the things that the researchers did conclude was that compression socks may actually be one of the risk factors for Achilles tendonitis. They couldn’t figure out why this might be and suggested that it needed further research.
Why a compression sock for Achilles tendonitis could make it feel worse
From our experience with our patients at Treat My Achilles we know that when the tendon is particularly angry and irritated, it actually could make it feel worse (similar to pressing on a bruise) when there’s something tight that puts pressure on that area. It could also rub on the injured tendon and make it feel more uncomfortable.
So therefore, my recommendation would be, please don't go out and buy compression socks if you want to relieve your Achilles tendon pain.
If you already run with compression socks
If you are a runner with Achilles tendonitis who has been wearing compression socks all along, try doing a run with them and a run without them and see which is the best for your Achilles pain. We are all different, and it might be OK for you.
Do this instead
A temporary fix for Achilles pain
Putting an insole into the heel area of your shoe (both shoes, actually) will raise up your heel and take some strain off your injured tendon. They are cheaper than compression socks and have been shown to reduce Achilles tendon pain. Here’s our article on shoe inserts for Achilles tendonitis.
Here are some examples from Amazon:
The long-term solution
Something like insoles manages the pain symptoms, but it won’t help your tendon to heal to the extent that it is as strong and resilient as it was before you injured it.
For this to happen, you have to figure out what caused the injury in the first place and address that, and you need to rehab the tendon with the right combination of rest and exercise.
How we can help
Need help with your Achilles injury? You’re welcome to consult one of the team at TMA online via video call for an assessment of your injury and a tailored treatment plan.
We're all UK Chartered Physiotherapists with Master’s Degrees related to Sports & Exercise Medicine. But at Treat My Achilles we don't just value qualifications; all of us also have a wealth of experience working with athletes across a broad variety of sports, ranging from recreationally active people to professional athletes. You can meet the team here.
About the Author
Lagas, I. F., et al. (2020). "Incidence of Achilles tendinopathy and associated risk factors in recreational runners: a large prospective cohort study." Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 23(5): 448-452.