Whether you’re a runner, a basketball player or a wrestler (or all three!), one of the simplest therapies you can use to increase your competitive edge is full-leg compression sleeves. In recent years, athletes have begun using compression sleeves for all types of reasons, whether to improve performance, prevent injuries, treat varicose veins or promote the recovery process.
Wearing a compression sleeve has been shown to speed up recovery from injury in certain situations. Although some medical professionals may argue that there is little evidence to prove that compression sleeves have all of the benefits claimed, many professional athletes and other famous people have testified to their benefit. And since they are unlikely to do any harm, it may very well be worth looking into wearing them if you are an athlete.
A full leg compression sleeve is an entirely different type of compression sleeve than others available on the market today. If you’re interested in using this type of compression socks, it is important to understand what they are, how they work, and how to choose which are best for you. In this guide, we’ll walk you through all of the info so you can make an educated decision on what you need in the form of compression socks or sleeves.
What Is a Full-Leg Compression Sleeve & What Does It Do?
A tight “sleeve” that is typically worn from the upper thigh all the way down to the ankle, a Full-Leg Compression Sleeve is made of stretchy material such as nylon, polyester and elastane (Spandex). As the name indicates, these sleeves are meant to squeeze or compress the legs so that the muscles and blood vessels are functioning properly. They may be used by athletes for sporting activities, but can also be used for medical purposes as well.
Full Leg Compression Sleeves are worn as a means to speed up a person’s recovery process when they have experienced an injury, which most athletes will at one point or another. They may also be used to keep the muscles warm and working at peak performance while promoting healthy circulation that keeps the blood flowing to the muscles and other body parts.
Other benefits that wearers of full leg compression sleeves attest to include:
- Allowing the skin to breathe well
- Acting as antimicrobial treatment to prevent odors
- Regulate temperature and keeping wearers warm during cold weather
- Reduce recovery time from injuries
- Keep wearers dry by absorbing moisture
How Full Leg Compression Sleeves Work
Full Leg Compression Sleeves function by graduated compression. This means that the compression around the leg is tighter at the ankle or foot, and then it loosens as it moves up the leg to the calf and thigh. This allows a user to fight the effects of gravity efficiently and aid the body in letting deoxygenated blood flow upward to the heart faster.
The muscles in the body require a substantial amount of oxygenated blood for maximum performance. The theory for compression sleeves is, the more oxygen is available, the better the performance will be. So, when a person can enhance the efficiency of the flow of blood in the body via graduated compression, a person’s sporting activities could be improved.
Furthermore, the amount of lactic acid available in the body has a bearing on cramps from participating in sporting activities. When compression sleeves are worn, they encourage blood flow which, in turn, reduces the amount of lactic acid that is able to build up in the muscles. This helps to reduce the residual pain and cramping associated with a hard workout, allowing for better performance.
Varicose Veins in Athletes
In addition to helping with performance and recovery, Full Leg Compression Sleeves may be used to prevent varicose veins or reduce symptoms of pain and discomfort for those who have developed them.
Varicose veins can start out harmless at first but, after a short while, they can develop into an acute source of pain and discomfort. People who have a predisposition to varicose veins, either from a family history or because they do a great deal of standing for long periods of time, may be able to prevent their development with the use of compression socks. Those who already have varicose veins (wrestlers, football players, etc.) may find relief through the use of Full Leg Compression Sleeves.
Medical practitioners usually prescribe compression socks as one of the best ways to eradicate pain from varicose veins. Also, they can be valid for swollen ankles, deep vein thrombosis, and quick recovery after running.
Varicose veins are veins that have lost their firmness have become stretched out or compromised. When the blood flows down from the heart, it’s not a problem. But when it flows back up to the heart through the veins, gravity can create pressure that pulls the blood back down and causes it to pool in the areas of these compromised blood vessels. This not only causes unsightly discoloration and swelling of the veins, but it can be painful and uncomfortable, which can inhibit good athletic performance. Not only that, but the circulatory system can be compromised and other complications can occur.
Full Leg Compression Sleeves for Varicose Veins
If you’re an athlete (or just a regular, active person for that matter) then you could possibly benefit from the use of Full Leg Compression Sleeves or compression socks in the treatment of your varicose veins. If your varicose veins are only on your calves, then your doctor might suggest that you simply use footless or footed compression socks. If the varicose veins are on your thighs, then the full leg variety might be useful.
How to Choose Compression Sleeves or Compression Socks
Several factors should be considered when choosing the best type of compression sleeves for your situation:
The best model on the market today are graduated full leg compression sleeves for varicose veins. Graduation in any compression means that the pressure is highest at the ankles gradually reduces as the socks get higher on the legs. This allows the veins in the legs to work against the force of gravity.
Some models also have uniform compression, however, this type is more often used to treat edema or swelling as fluid pools in the ankles. Uniform full leg compression sleeves exert the same level of pressure on your legs consistently from top to bottom.
The ranges of graduated full leg compression sleeves vary. They are present in these ranges:
- 5-10mmHg. This level of compression is regarded as low graduated compression. These models may be effective at preventing varicose veins and treating light cases of spider veins.
- 10-20mmHg. This level of compression is also recognized as medium graduated compression. These full leg compression sleeves for varicose veins may be effective for the prevention and relief of varicose veins or spider veins.
- 20-30mmHg. This level of compression is also termed strong graduated compression. These types of full leg compression sleeves are recommended for extreme cases of varicose veins. They are the strongest full compression sleeve available for varicose veins. (Compression socks do come in higher levels but not for the full-leg sleeve.)
Choose your compression sleeves carefully based on the materials they are made of the quality of the design. Compression socks and sleeves should be breathable, stretchy and allow sweat to evaporate from the skin. This means you’ll find many of these products made from nylon, polyester or elastane (Spandex).
If you’re using Full Leg Compression Sleeves simply to enhance your athletic performance, then start with low pressure and get going! But if you’re using a higher pressure or using them to treat a medical issue, such as varicose veins, then be sure to check with your doctor first.
How to Shop for Compression Socks or Sleeves
A few full leg compression sleeves may be available in the local pharmacy, but you may be better off purchasing your stockings online. Consider these features as you explore your options:
Ensure that you measure your ankles, calves and thighs for accurate sizing. If your compression sleeve doesn’t fit you, then it won’t work. Too loose? It will simply sag and won’t help your circulation or muscles–plus, they’ll fall down while you’re working out! Too tight? Your circulation can be cut off and you’ll never get the benefits you want.
Look for compression sleeves that are designed from fabric that will get rid of sweat from the skin, stretch, and be comfortable. Synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester are often blended with elastane (Spandex) to bring the stretch. A product made with antibacterial properties might be a feature to consider.
Full leg compression sleeves that have been designed with a seamless construction are best. These are knit in a circular manner so that your leg fits in without the struggle of dealing with a seam. Some designs have mesh panels or other features that enhance the look and breathability of the sleeves.
This could be an option less important than the other ones mentioned. But when choosing a color, be sure that it fits the intended use. For instance, never purchase white colors if your sleeve will be used for sporting activities because it can’t stay off stains. If you will be using the socks for running, it’s recommended that you invest in bright colors as it adds to safety in low light.
When you get the best full leg compression sleeve, you will successfully be able to prevent or relieve varicose veins as well as improving your athletic performance. If a medical doctor prescribes them for you, be sure to follow their instructions socks for fit, usage and care.
How Knee-High Compression Socks Could Benefit You
If you’re wearing Full Leg Compression Socks while you work out, then you know that they come with a hefty price tag. A great alternative is to invest in a few pairs of less expensive but still effective compression socks that you can wear on normal days or when you aren’t exercising. This will allow you to continue preventing varicose veins, swelling and leg pain, but works as an alternative therapy to Full Leg Compression Socks. Consider a 20-30mmHg pressure, knee-high sock that will keep your body comfortable even when you aren’t working out.
Whatever you choose, you’re likely to see significant benefits to your health and your athletic performance when you invest in the Compression Socks and Full Leg Compression Sleeves that are right for you!