Do Knee Sleeves Work?

If you are reading this, then chances are you are suffering from some sort of knee pain and you are interested in finding out if a knee sleeve is something that can help. Before we get into that, we want you to keep in mind that there is a difference between knee sleeves and knee braces. Yes, they both provide support to the knee, however they are not designed with the same goals in mind.

Most knee sleeves are made of neoprene, and they are designed to slide over the knee easily and work by adding warmth to the knee, increase proprioception and reduce patella movement. While the main goal of knee braces is to protect a previous injury to the knee from getting worse, knee sleeves are generally used to provide general support to the knee and to prevent the knee from future injury or risk of damage.

Benefits Of Knee Sleeves

Here are some of the benefits you may get from a knee sleeve:

  • They provide basic protection and can be used for sprains, arthritis, mild knee pain, weakness, cartilage irritation, tendonitis, and knee swelling. However, they are not appropriate for moderate to severe instability and pain. In such cases it is advisable to go for elite and advanced protection.
  • They work both for minor knee injuries as well as being helpful for long term problems by giving extra support to the knee so that one can go on with their normal activities. This protection is important for knees that are under constant pressure on a daily basis, such as jumping, weightlifting and running.
  • Knee sleeves also provide a compression element that helps increase blood flow and reduce pain both during and after the exersion. The compression aspect is so important since a compressed knee encourages blood flow through the blood vessels of the knee. A knee sleeve also helps in reducing swelling, which increases recovery time.

Knee Sleeves Are Not A Cure

We want to be honest with our readers up front and say that knee sleeves are not a cure for knee pain. There is a reason why you are in pain and you need to take the time (with your doctor) to figure out what’s going on. Having said that, we strongly believe that knee sleeves have the ability to reduce the pain in your knee (depending on how bad the situation is of course) to a point where the pain is at least manageable and you are able to continue with some sort of physical activities. Again, there is an underlying cause to the pain and you need to figure out what that is in order to permanently get rid of the pain.

Different Styles Of Knee Sleeves

Knee sleeves vary in different ways and they can be placed in three categories which are:

  • Open patella knee sleeves – these have a hole (opening) at the front of the knee so to reduce the pressure through the kneecap. This also allows the knee to breathe.
  • Closed patella knee sleeves– this is a complete sleeve with no opening and it supports the entire knee allowing more heat retention. These are designed to increase blood flow.
  • Knee sleeves with side stabilizers – these are knee sleeves that have stabilizers on both sides that provide extra support to the knee ligaments for quicker recovery.
  • Magnetic knee sleeves – these are knee sleeves with built in magnets, which are designed to relieve swelling, pain and/or general discomfort in the area causing you pain. (Refer to our post “What Can a Magnetic Knee Brace Do For Me?” for additional information.)

Popular Choices For Knee Sleeves

Here are examples of extremely popular knee sleeves on Amazon right now:

1. McDavid Knee Support

This is a popular pull on sleeve that provides basic support. It is sized and shaped to ensure that it fits well, which is not always the case with other sleeves. The behind is seamless to give the knee extra comfort. It provides compression and retains warmth to increase healing and reduce pain. It fits both right and left and comes in five sizes. It is one of the best closed knee caps with long lasting material.

2. CopperJoint Copper Knee Brace

This sleeve is made of extremely breathable material and promotes muscle and joint recovery. The material is also designed to avoid slippage during physical activities. Made with Anti-Itch UPF 50+ material, which is easy to slip on and keeps your joints at the optimal temperature.

These are just a few knee sleeves that have been known to work well. The most important thing to remember when buying one is to get the correct size to ensure you are comfortable and to get the right value of support. For measuring instructions, refer to our post “How to Measure For a Knee Brace“. The instructions apply to knee sleeves as well.

Take care!