Compression Socks Worn During Flight and Hemostatic Balance in Boston Marathon Runners on Oral Contraceptives

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To investigate the effect of oral contraceptive (OC) use and compression socks on hemostatic activation in women flying cross-country to and from a marathon.


Prospective study.


2015 Boston Marathon.


Women were divided into non-OC using (CONTROL; n = 12), OC-using (OC; n = 15), and OC-using plus compression sock (OC + SOCK; n = 14) groups.


Women in OC + SOCK wore compression socks during flights to and from the marathon.

Main Outcome Measures:

Venous blood samples were collected within 24 hours of arriving in Boston (EXPO), immediately after the marathon (RUN), and within 24 hours after a return flight home (Post-Flight) for analysis of thrombin–antithrombin complex (TAT), d-dimer, and tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA).


TAT did not increase with exercise (P = 0.48) and was not affected by group (P = 0.08) or the interaction between these 2 factors (P = 0.80). Group, time, and their interaction were significant for d-dimer (all P < 0.05) such that d-dimer increased with acute exercise to a greater extent (Δ d-dimer from expo to postrace = 909.5 ± 1021.9 ng/mL) in the OC + SOCK group relative to OC (Δ d-dimer = 240.0 ± 178.5 ng/mL; P = 0.02) and CONTROL (Δ d-dimer = 230.3 ± 120.3 ng/mL; P = 0.02). There was a significant effect of time, group, and the interaction on t-PA (all P < 0.01) such that t-PA increased with acute exercise to a greater extent (Δ t-PA from expo to postrace = 19.6 ± 10.0 ng/mL) in the CONTROL group relative to OC (Δ t-PA = 4.0 ± 1.8 ng/mL; P < 0.01) and OC + SOCK (Δ t-PA = 3.3 ± 1.2 ng/mL; P < 0.01).


Female runners using OCs did not exhibit disproportionately increased coagulation. The use of compression socks in women on OCs, surprisingly, resulted in a greater increase in d-dimer after exercise.

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