Knee Compression Sleeves - How they Work and Should You Use One?
For many sports people, knee pain is a serious concern that will disrupt your training, and potentially end your career prematurely if left untreated.
While structural alterations to your knee (such as torn ligaments) should be addressed by a doctor, many knee issues can be treated conservatively with the use of a support aid. These include aids such as knee braces, compression sleeves, or knee straps.
So we can confidently say knee compression sleeves DO WORK.
However, there are specific situations that call for a knee sleeve, and other times when a more advanced support aid is required.
In this article we are going to focus on how the knee compression sleeve works to protect and support your knee joint. We will also step you through how to determine if you should be using a sleeve or a knee brace.
How Do Knee Compression Sleeves Work?
The knee is a complex joint comprised of many ligaments, muscles, and tendons, so it’s not uncommon for one of these components to hurt when they’re strained or overused (such as the case in runners knee).
If you have experienced any pain in your knee, you will likely have come across the term "knee compression sleeve" been tossed around. But how does a knee compression sleeve work exactly?
Compression Knee Sleeves are designed to compress the blood vessels in the knee area to aid in blood flow and reduce pain and inflammation. While these sleeves are by no means a cure-all, they have shown to offer light to moderate knee pain relief like other softer treatments, including physiotherapy, rest, and pain relievers. This is because they act like a brace for the knee, supporting and stabilizing the joint while not being as cumbersome as it's cousin, a knee brace.
As you can see, knee compression sleeves are great for those that have light to moderate knee pain. They are also good for those that want to be proactive in their knee health and supporting the knee even BEFORE they experience any type of knee pain (an approach we, at The Best Knee Braces, support wholeheartedly). However, there are circumstances when a compression sleeve would NOT BE SUITABLE.
Let's now take a look at the times when you should and should not be using a knee compression sleeve.
When Should You Use Knee Compression Sleeve?
Knee compression sleeves are a great brace option for those suffering from injuries and knee pain.
They provide support and stability to the knee in order to help you get through your day without pain. Some knee sleeves also have built-in ice packs to provide soothing relief for swollen or hurting knees.
Knee sleeves can be used for multiple purposes, but they are often used after knee surgery, or to protect during physical activities, such as running, hiking, or biking. Here is a list circumstances when you SHOULD USE a knee compression sleeve:
if you experience discomfort (mild pain) while walking and/or running, a knee sleeve is a great in between solution for supporting your knee and relieving the minor pain.
knee sleeves are perfect for runners. If you love to run more than 3 times a week, you should strongly consider using a knee sleeve while you run (even if you are not experiencing any pain).
stiffness in the knee joint. Have you experienced stiffness in your knee joint while trying to get up from a chair or couch? Does your knee feel tight when you try to bend? This is an indication of inflammation and are early symptoms of patellar tendonitis - a condition of the knee when it has been overused. In this circumstance, wearing a knee sleeve will help support your knee and any weak parts (such as tendons and ligaments).
Now let's look at circumstances when knee sleeves SHOULD NOT be used:
strong knee pain. If you are experiencing a strong acute pain in any part of the knee, unfortunately you may be past the point where a knee sleeve will help. Instead, you may require a strong support aid, such as a knee brace. We would recommend seeking the advice of a medical professional to determine which type of brace would be suited to your injury.
extreme weakness in the knee. If you feel your knee could give way and not support your weight, you most likely require something more supportive than a knee compression sleeve. Again, a support aid like an unloader knee brace or hinged knee brace may be the preferred option to provide the required support.
Final Thoughts on Do Knee Compression Sleeves Work