The latest fad for 21st-century athletes is compression leg sleeves.
The medical community has used compression gear to improve blood circulation for many years, but the general population has started using them more recently.
What are compression leg sleeves and why are they so popular? Are they really that great for ankle and shin support? Read on to find out!
What are Compression Sleeves?
Basically, compression leg sleeves are tubes constructed of thick elastic fabric that is worn either on the calf and lower part of the leg.
Compression leg sleeves do not have a foot section but instead run from the ankle area to the area just below the knee. There are also full leg compression sleeves that extend beyond the knee to the thighs.
These sleeves also help shorten the recovery process after serious training, injury, or surgery.
Although some researchers insist they do not increase running performance, there is evidence that compression sleeves at least increase tissue oxygen saturation.
By design, they keep your legs warm and free of muscle cramps and pains.
Who Would Find Compression Sleeves Helpful?
Compression leg sleeves are not only fashionable, but they provide amazing scientifically-proven benefits.
It has been shown that the sleeves can help get oxygen to the muscles and tissues in the legs.
To enjoy these benefits, however, the compression sleeves must be snug and should be worn for several hours after working out.
Here are a few of the improvements people see when they start wearing compression leg sleeves:
Compression leg sleeves are great for ankle and shin support. These sleeves have graduated compression, meaning that the pressure is strongest by the ankle and looser further up the leg.
This graduated compression fights the effects of gravity, allowing deoxygenated blood to flow back to the heart more easily.
Your muscles need lots of oxygenated blood in order to flow so that you can perform optimally. The better your circulation, the better your oxygen levels and athletic performance.
It turns out that it is possible to exercise and still have dust-free legs afterward. Every athlete knows that outdoor exercise will expose you to lots of dirt from the environment, which can collect on your sweaty or wet skin and become grimy.
If you are easily irritated by dirt, you should consider wearing leg sleeves. The dirt and dust will collect on your sleeves instead of collecting on your bare legs.
After your workout, you can remove the sleeves to reveal clean skin.
In addition to keeping your legs clean, compression sleeves can help protect you from elements of nature, scratches, and abrasions.
Trail runners will find these sleeves very useful since they are prone to these kinds of injuries.
Most people are also unfortunately familiar with the painful rash that comes from contact with poison ivy. Compression sleeves will protect your legs from these and other dangers.
Generally, compression technology helps to reduce muscle and joint swelling.
Exercise tends to make your muscles contract, which causes soreness. Wearing leg sleeves during exercise will help to hold both the muscles and tendons in place, reducing pain.
Compression sleeves can also prevent the production of creatine kinase, which is known to cause muscle tissue damage.
Additionally, compression sleeves will prevent the formation of lactic acid, which means you will have a faster post-workout recovery.
Treatment and Prevention of Lower Limb Diseases:
Many medical conditions can be treated with leg sleeves. For example, Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is caused by blood pooling in the legs, can be successfully treated and prevented with compression wear. Edema, the buildup of excess fluid, can also be treated with compression sleeves.
In general, any venous or circulation issue will be improved with the regular application of compression gear.
Compression Socks vs. Compression Sleeves
What is the Difference?
A lot of people, however, are unsure whether to use compression socks or compression sleeves. What you decide to wear depends on a couple of factors, including personal choice.
Compression sleeves work great for injuries that do not involve the lower Achilles tendon, ankle, or arch. Such injuries are better treated with a compression sock that will fully cover the injured area. If your injuries are higher up on the leg, however, you can use sleeves instead.
Another benefit of leg compression sleeves is that they do not prevent you from wearing your favorite pair of socks. If you have a favorite pair, you can simply wear them over the sleeves.
Choosing the Best Sleeves for your Legs is Helpful to your Health
Compression garments for the lower limbs are becoming increasingly popular among athletes in need of improved performance, reduced risk of injury, and reduced discomfort induced by exercise. You should, therefore, make sure you make a wise investment when you purchase compression sleeves for legs.
Like most things, you get what you pay for when it comes to leg sleeves. They are available in many different price ranges, but you have to choose wisely to ensure you do not waste your money. A lesser, inexpensive model may only last for a couple of weeks, no matter how well you take care of them.
When buying compression sleeves, it is always safer to go for higher-end models. These will have more fibers, thicker elastic bands, enhanced features, and a longer lifespan. Most of the time, having top-notch sleeves gives you extra support, more protection from collisions falls, and injuries, and additional comfort.
Although they will take a bigger toll on your pocketbook, higher-quality compression sleeves will help you to perform better and for a longer period of time than lower-quality ones.
How to Properly Care for Your Compression Sleeves
Wearing compression sleeves for legs during workouts can increase your performance and reduce the stress on your body. Therefore, t is important to take very good care of your investment. Otherwise, you will cut short their lifespan unnecessarily short. Proper care will ensure you can wear your compression sleeves for a long time to come.
Improper care can cause your compression gear to fade, shrink, and stretch, resulting in a shorter lifespan and wasted money.
Even the highest-quality compression gear will fall apart after a few days of constant wear if they are not properly maintained. It is therefore important to learn proper care so you do not unintentionally ruin your compression socks or sleeves.
To properly care for your compression sleeves, you need to:
Read the Label
The first step to keeping your leg compression sleeves functional and sturdy is reading the label found on the inner lining. This simple task can save you a lot of time and money because the label tells you how best to wash and maintain the sleeves. Hopefully, if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, you will keep your compression gear looking new for a long time.
After reading the label attached to your leg sleeves, you should wash them. There are a few simple rules to follow when washing compression garments.
First, hand-wash the garment in cool water with a mild detergent.
Then, rinse with cool water.
Try not to over-agitate, stretch, or wring the garment when washing.
Although most compression garments say they are machine washable, hand-washing always ensures a longer lifespan. If you want your compression sleeves to remain functional for at least six months after purchase, hand-wash them.
If you must machine-wash your compression gear, at least put it in a mesh lingerie bag to prevent snagging.
Ensure that you never use hot water.
Use warm water for light-colored garments and cool water for dark-colored garments.
Also, make use of your machine’s gentlest cycle.
When done right, washing your sleeves frequently will not harm them. Washing after every wear will go a long way in restoring and retaining the elastic properties of the compression garment. If done properly, this will help to remove dirt, oils, perspiration, bacteria, and any dead skin that may have accumulated on the sleeves.
After washing the sleeves, gently squeeze the excess water out and roll them in a dry towel to remove most of the water. Then, air-dry them. Machine dryers will stretch the elastic and reduce compression. This will prevent your compression sleeves from fitting properly.
Note that even when air-drying your socks, exposing them to excessive heat may weaken them by damaging the elastic fibers. Make sure to turn the garment inside out and then lay it flat to dry.
If you hang it on a line, lay it on top of a towel to prevent stretching. Do not expose the compression gear to direct sunlight or other heat sources like radiators.
Compression leg sleeves are worth the investment because they provide so much support to the ankle and shin. In particular, they can help athletes enjoy the benefits of a quicker post-workout recovery.