Maybe you’re just hearing about compression sleeves for legs for the first time and you want to know more, or you’re shopping around for them while trying to figure out what you need. Either way, if you are interested in learning more about what compression sleeves do and how they might be useful for you, read on!
Conditions That Use Compression Sleeves for Legs
Edema. The majority of us have probably, at one point in time, experienced swelling in our feet, legs or other parts of the body. In fact, a lot of people are highly prone to experiencing swelling for a variety of reasons. Most of the swelling experienced by the average person is temporary and can often be relieved with an anti-inflammatory drug or simply by putting your feet up. However, extreme swelling in the legs, called edema, may require more therapeutic care.
Edema occurs when fluid gathers in a particular area in the body and does not return back through the circulatory system. Because of the effects of gravity, ankles and feet are places that are particularly prone to pooling fluids that can’t make it back up into the body’s core. Standing on your feet for long periods of time, pregnancy, airplane travel and many other situations can be the cause of general swelling and edema.
Although inconvenient and uncomfortable, this condition is not necessarily painful. While most mild edema is not a cause for worry, some types of prolonged edema could be an indication of a very serious disorder in the circulatory system so it’s important to check with your doctor.
Lymphedema. Another condition similar to edema that often requires the use of compression leg sleeves is lymphedema. This condition causes swellings that can be very painful. Lymphedema occurs when lymph fluid accumulates in a fixed area of the body. This severe concern often occurs as a secondary condition in persons who have damage to lymph nodes related to cancer, chemotherapy or other medical situations.
Help for Edema and Lymphedema
Today, a lot of products are very efficient at bringing relief to pain and swelling caused by lymphedema and edema. Most people who have edema and lymphedema find that it affects them the most in the legs, and one of the simplest therapies is to simply elevate the legs. This reduces the effects of gravity and allows fluids to flow back to the core of the body more easily.
However, unless you are one of those lucky few people who can sit around all day with their feet up, you’re probably looking for a better solution to help fight against swelling in the feet and legs. If so, compression socks and compression sleeves for the leg may be just the solution you are looking for!
Compression therapy is a non-invasive, therapeutic treatment used for lymphedema and edema, as well as a variety of other medical conditions. Specific levels and types of compression are used to prevent fluid from pooling in the limbs and other body areas. When applied correctly, compression sleeves for legs can significantly reduce the swelling and discomfort associated with lymphedema and edema.
Compression sleeves for legs and compression socks work by placing pressure on the leg from the outside in. This pressure is typically graduated, with the strongest point at the lowest part of the body–usually the ankle. As the sleeve moves up the leg, the pressure decreases in order to assist the body in getting the fluids to flow back upward.
Wearing compression sleeves for legs can not only help with swelling from edema and lymphedema but may also help by improving the circulation so that an injury can heal more speedily. Doctors may prescribe compression sleeves or socks to patients following surgery in order to reduce the risk of developing blood clots during recovery.
Many athletes also used compression therapy to promote healthy circulation that gives them extra oxygen to their muscles. In addition, the pressure from compression sleeves for legs may reduce the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles during a workout which, in turn, may minimize the amount of post-workout soreness and cramping.
How Do Compression Sleeves Work?
Compression sleeves for legs help to control and prevent the occurrence of lymphedema or edema in the body. They may also be useful for enhancing athletic performance as well as for promoting healthy circulation. Compression sleeves are carefully designed and made of tight, stretchy materials that provide a squeezing sensation.
The gradient pressure enhances the pressure in the subcutaneous tissues, and this results in the movement of excess fluid into the capillaries. Compression therapy further helps to limit the capacity of the superficial veins that expands and get filled with excessive blood. Consequently, this pressure assists in preventing the blood present in these veins to flow backward, avoiding swelling and congestion.
Compression Sleeve Pressure Levels
Compression sleeves for legs are offered in a variety of levels of pressure that can be used based on the needs of the individual. A doctor or pharmacist can help you decide what pressure grade might be best for your situation. The force of this gradient pressure is correctly measured as mmHg, or millimeters of Mercury, (which is the same measurement used in blood pressure cuffs).
Compression sleeves for legs offer gradient compression designed with higher pressure at the ankle and decreased pressure moving up the leg. Generally, compression therapy can start as low as 8-15 mmHg and move up to as high as 60 mmHg.
The basic guidelines are:
- Class 1: This class of compression offers a level between 15-20mmHg of pressure. It is for the mildest swelling conditions, is sold without a prescription and may be used by travelers.
- Class 2: This class of compression offers a level between 20-30mmHg of pressure and is most commonly recommended by doctors. It is applied for mild to moderate edema and lymphedema conditions as well as varicose veins and other issues.
- Class 3: This class of compression offers a level between 30-40mmHg. It is utilized for moderate to severe edema and lymphedema condition. A doctor’s supervision is required before use.
- Class 4: This class of compression offers a level between 40-60mmHg. It is always for the high-level swelling arising from edema, lymphedema, and circulatory disorders. This level must be used only with a doctor’s supervision and recommendation and is very uncommon.
Benefits of Compression Sleeves for Legs
Compression sleeves for legs improve circulation throughout the body, helping it to function and work more efficiently. Anyone with chronic swelling, lymphedema, edema, or other circulatory problems should first speak with a doctor or other medical professional about the need for compression therapy to avoid complications.
A lot of folks use compression socks for legs, feet, arms, hands, wrist, and other parts of the body. However, compression sleeves for legs are targeted at the leg to help with swelling in the leg, prevent varicose veins, mitigate fatigued or achy legs, prevent post-thrombotic syndrome, nebulous ulcers, lymphedema, venous insufficiency, and edema. Also, they are helpful for those who are sedentary, those who sit for a long time due to work or travel, as well as for those who spend a great deal of time standing on their feet.
Never forget to wear compression socks whenever you travel by air, car, or train! Especially if the trip will last more than 5-6 hours, it can be helpful to wear a compression sleeve for legs or compression socks. The compression will assist your veins in transmitting the blood out of your legs and back to your heart keeping you healthier and feeling better.
Compressions Sleeves for Legs or Compression Socks
The question of whether you should use compression sleeves or compression socks is not simple and very much depends on your personal situation. Some of the factors have to do with personal preference, while others may be related to your medical condition and particular health needs.
Compression sleeves for legs start at the ankle and usually run all the way up the leg to the thigh. Many people who are athletes prefer sleeves for legs because the user can wear normal socks with them and it doesn’t interfere with their running shoes or other athletic gear.
However, if the swelling problems you have particularly affect your feet, then compression socks might be better for you. Since compression socks offer support around the ankle, they’re more likely to keep the fluids from building up at the ankle and lower.
Essential Things to Look for in Leg Compression Sleeves
The following are features that you should note when considering the purchase of compression sleeves for legs:
Adequate support should be a top priority in compression sleeves for legs. They shouldn’t be so tight that they will feel uncomfortable, but if too loose they won’t work properly. Be sure to measure your legs following manufacturer’s guidelines so you can get the appropriate size in men’s or women’s compression socks or sleeves.
Compression sleeves for legs are designed with different materials which will often be blended so that they can offer support as well as stretch. Some may be moisture-wicking while others are built for durability. Look for compression socks and sleeves made of nylon, polyester, and elastane (Spandex) for products that are easy to care for.
Today’s market filled with options means you should be able to find a compression sleeve that will fit your personality. There are numerous brands that design lots of prints and patterns that will make your leg stand out among other users. And if you like, traditional styles are available for you as well.
Most people who start using compression socks or compression sleeves for legs can’t believe that they waited as long as they did to use them! Offering non-invasive therapy that provides relief from swelling, reduction in pain and discomfort and a boost to athletic performance, why would you wait any longer? Get started with your compression gear by ordering online today!