We will all experience knee pain at some point in our lives. It can strike anywhere, anytime, and on anyone.
In this article, we'll discuss what knee compression sleeves are, whether they work at reducing knee pain, and some essential things to know before you buy one.
What is a knee compression sleeve?
A knee compression sleeve is typically made of a type of breathable synthetic fabric that's highly flexible. It provides compression, support, and warmth for the knee. We'll discuss what this means for you below.
In recent years, compression sleeves have come into the spotlight as studies come out to support their many benefits.
What does a knee compression sleeve do?
The idea behind knee compression sleeves is that they increase blood flow to the area by improving circulation, thereby reducing inflammation and soreness.
Knee compression sleeves are a great way to support your knees by providing compression around the kneecap, surrounding muscles, and tendons to stabilize the knee joint.
They are an alternative to traditional knee braces that provide more freedom of movement and comfort. They use elastic material to provide light compression to the knee area without restricting your range of motion like traditional braces do.
Learn More: TKWC Knee Compression Sleeve
What is the difference between a compression sleeve and a knee brace?
Knee sleeves are not technically braces. They do not have hinges or any mechanical support mechanisms. Compression sleeves are sometimes referred to as soft braces.
Knee sleeves offer only minor pain relief and support compared with knee braces. A rigid, hinged brace provides the highest level of support and can be used after surgery or after a more serious knee injury.
Compression sleeves also differ from knee wraps, which weight lifters use to increase the ability to lift more weight during a squat.
Do knee compression sleeves make your knees less painful?
The main purpose of compression sleeves is to reduce swelling in the legs and increase blood circulation. There are plenty of studies that support these claims.
Pictured: TKWC Knee Compression Sleve
In one study, a wearing a soft brace (compression sleeve) significantly reduced pain during level walking. It was even concluded that it improved exercise completion time by the participants.
Another study concluded that compression sleeves offer superior swelling relief over cold-therapy packs.
These factors can make your legs feel better if you have knee pain, so wearing these sleeves helps.
How long can you wear a knee compression sleeve?
For regular workout use, knee sleeves can be worn right before, during and a little after the workout. You do not need to wear them throughout the whole day.
When you are experiencing pain, swelling, or arthritis in your joint, keeping a compression sleeve on for several hours a day can be beneficial.
When it comes to compression therapy, always consult your physician. Protocols vary from person to person.
How to find the right fit.
A proper knee sleeve fit should compress your joint without feeling too loose or tight. You should be able to bend your knee without experiencing pain.
TKWC Knee Compression Sleeve
If you find a sleeve that fits well, it should provide relief to your knee, but it should not feel uncomfortably tight or restrictive and still allow you to bend and straighten easily. The edges of the sleeve should not dig in too tight on your skin.
Extra tight compression can actually reduce the blood flow in a limb, which is counter-intuitive to the sleeve's purpose. You may need to try a few sizes to fight the right fit.
Here are the key benefits of knee compression sleeves:
A growing body of scientific studies supports the benefits of compression garments. It can be a useful tool for improving exercise and keeping your body healthy.
Knee compression sleeves can be an effective way to give your knees a bit of extra support. The right one can offer you more confidence in your ability to push through workouts and can help protect you from injury.
||Disclaimer: Please note that this information is for education only and is not medical advice. Please be sure to consult your physician if you have any questions or concerns.
• Bryk FF, Jesus JF, Fukuda TY, Moreira EG, Marcondes FB, Santos MG. Immediate effect of the elastic knee sleeve use on individuals with osteoarthritis. Rev Bras Reumatol. 2011 Sep-Oct;51(5):440-6. English, Portuguese. PMID: 21952996.
- • Hamlin MJ, Mitchell CJ, Ward FD, Draper N, Shearman JP, Kimber NE. Effect of compression garments on short-term recovery of repeated sprint and 3-km running performance in rugby union players. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):2975-82. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182711e0b. PMID: 23007487.
- • Cherian JJ, Jauregui JJ, Leichliter AK, Elmallah RK, Bhave A, Mont MA. The effects of various physical non-operative modalities on the pain in osteoarthritis of the knee. Bone Joint J. 2016 Jan;98-B(1 Suppl A):89-94. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.98B1.36353. PMID: 26733650.
- • Mazzuca SA, Page MC, Meldrum RD, Brandt KD, Petty-Saphon S. Pilot study of the effects of a heat-retaining knee sleeve on joint pain, stiffness, and function in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Oct 15;51(5):716-21. doi: 10.1002/art.20683. PMID: 15478166.
- • Cudejko, Tomasz et al. “The immediate effect of a soft knee brace on pain, activity limitations, self-reported knee instability, and self-reported knee confidence in patients with knee osteoarthritis.” Arthritis research & therapy vol. 19,1 260. 1 Dec. 2017, doi:10.1186/s13075-017-1456-0
- • Luks MD, Howard J. "Knee Compression Sleeves : How Useful Are They?" Sept. 2021, www.howardluksmd.com/best-knee-compression-sleeve
- • Sari, Zübeyir et al. “A Better Way to Decrease Knee Swelling in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Single-Blind Randomised Controlled Trial.” Pain research & management vol. 2019 8514808. 2 May. 2019, doi:10.1155/2019/8514808
- • Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. "Influence of Compression Therapy on Symptoms Following Soft Tissue Injury from Maximal Eccentric Exercise" Jun 2001, www.jospt.org/doi/abs/10.2519/jospt.2001.31.6.282