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Bio-Physio Sport Sock Concept
By: Ray Fredericksen
Submitted to: Dr. Graham Kelly
June 9, 1995
Description: A sport sock design that
incorporates a compression principle to enhance physiological metabolism, and
biomechanical support panels to assist the natural biomechanisms of the lower
extremity, to improve performance during athletic activity.
It is estimated that over 50% of the adult population will experience a venous
blood flow disorder during the natural process of aging. Such disorders range
from mild leg pain and discomfort to more serious venous disorders such as
phlebitis and ulceration’s complicated by diabetes. This is most significant in
light of the fact that the U.S. population is shifting to an age of over fifty
years, when the effects of venous disorder are most noticeable. These disorders
can be attributed to a breakdown of the elastic qualities of the body’s
connective tissue, which normally occurs with aging.
Elastic compression hosiery has been a successful treatment modality for various
venous return disorders. The elastic nature of the compression sock aids the
natural venous return, “muscle pump,” mechanisms of the lower leg; i.e.
gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. The increased venous return has been
associated with pain relief enhanced blood circulation and metabolism, and
general improvement in health.
For the healthy, elite athlete, as well as the active older individual, the
benefits of a compression physiologic sock may offer potential performance
benefits and preventive injury modalities.
The Bio-Physio sock incorporates many of the same qualities of the therapeutic
compression sock. As the population ages, but continues to maintain an active
healthy lifestyle, the Bio-Physio sock has application as a preventive medicine
modality. The physiological benefits are improved blood circulation in the lower
extremity and an associated enhancement of metabolic rate during exercise.
Incorporated into the Bio-Physio sock design, are special biomechanical support
panels. These panels are specifically arranged to support the musculo-tendon
anatomy of the foot and lower leg. They function to support and stabilize the
intricate architecture of the lower leg and foot. Thirty three muscles originate
in the lower leg and foot.
They provide a complex series of interactions with the skeletal structure to
move and manipulate the foot and leg during human movement.
Typically, during human walking, an individual will contact the ground with
his/her foot with a vertical ground reaction force of 1.25% times body weight.
In more dynamic activities such as running or jumping, an individual may
experience vertical forces of three times to five times body weight
The natural shock attenuating mechanism of the body involves a complex series of
joint motion of the lower extremity and foot, defined as pronation. The muscles
which originate in the lower leg insert into the tarsal bones to support the
arches of the foot. These muscles function as a series of pulleys to relax,
facilitate, and stabilize, the foot during the contact phase of human gait.
Immediately after foot contact with the ground, a reflex action of the body
turns the foot and ankle joint complexes from a rigid to mobile position in
order to attenuate impact shock. Anterior lower leg muscles such as tibialis
anterior, and flexor extensor longus, contract in order to slow down the rate of
foot contact with the ground. Posterior muscle groups; tibialis posterior, and
gastrocnemieus, relax and twist inward as the arches of the foot flatten during
pronation. Peroneal muscle groups work synergistically to provide stability of
the foot from contact through propulsion. This sequence of motion allows the
joint complexes of the foot to flatten and pronate in order to attenuate the
forces associated with ground impact. After midstance, this sequence of joint
motion and muscle activity reverses and is defined as supination. This
interaction of motion and muscle activity puts the foot back into a rigid
position for efficient push off during propulsion.
Pronation and supination are normal sequences of the foot and ankle joints by
which the body attenuates impact shock, stores energy, and propels itself
forward during normal human motion. Excessive motion however, has been
associated with over use musculo-skelatal injury. Excessive motion fatigues
muscles and stresses tendons and bones to the point where tendonitis and stress
fractures may occur. This is especially important in highly repetitive
activities such as running, walking, and aerobic dance.
The Bio-Physio sport sock design incorporates anatomical support panels to
provide stability to muscles of the lower leg and joint complexes of the foot
The combination of physiologic compression and biomechanical support work
synergistically in a sport sock design to enhance exercise metabolism and gait
efficiency during athletic activity. The proposed Bio-Physio design has
application for athletic apparel designs, from casual sport socks, and athletic
tights, to technical supportive modalities.
MSU independently concluded that VO2 max. was increased up to 2 1/2%. Penn State
published many conclusive studies on the benefits of
graduated compression socks.