If you like watching sports, you’ve probably noticed your favorite athletes wearing a leg compression sleeve. They wear these on their arms, thighs, calves, or even on their whole legs. If you haven’t tried one, you’re probably thinking what it’s for exactly.
Surely, it’s not just the latest fad, despite how fashionable the color and cut can be. If your favorite athletes and celebrities are now wearing these sleeves in every competition or game, then there must really be something to them.
What Are Leg Compression Garments?
Compression garments are stocking-type elastic garments designed to apply specified levels of compression to particular areas of the body. For the upper body, there are different types of compression shirts (sleeveless, sleeved, or long-sleeved) and compression arm sleeves (short or long). For the lower part of the body, choices vary. You have different types of compression shorts, compression tights, compression socks, and compression leg sleeves (thigh, calf, or whole leg).
Leg sleeves (whether it be for the thigh, the calf, or the whole leg) are used to provide an ample amount of compression which that part of the leg needs for support, for better blood circulation, and for faster recovery from muscle soreness and fatigue. While compression clothing is mostly advertised for sports use, doctors also recommend them for those involved in strenuous work and for everyday use of anyone who might benefit from it.
What’s Great About Wearing Leg Compression Sleeves?
Research from the Department of Sport Science in the University of Wuppertal in Germany shows that compression clothing helps in the performance and endurance of athletes. Other significant benefits include strength and muscle recovery after athletic performance or training. ResearchGate reports (from tests conducted by a collaboration from Sport and Health Science Departments of three UK educational institutions and one South African university) that compression garments are very much likely to reduce the effects of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) as seen in 66% of the test population. Further, 66-69% (from another group of tests) recovered their strength and power faster.
There’s a lot more to say about the great things about wearing leg compression sleeves, such as:
- It improves blood circulation during rest time (before and after a strenuous activity) and during a light activity. This means more oxygen is supplied to the muscle tissues.
- It helps reduce soreness and it makes recovery quicker if worn continuously, hours after the strenuous activity. This is a result of the increase in oxygen that is supplied to the damaged and fatigued muscle tissues.
- As recommended by doctors, it helps treat and alleviate the symptomatic pains and difficulties of varicose veins, edema, deep vein thrombosis, and other similar diseases occurring on the leg.
- It helps one’s general health as the blood circulation is improved.
With these benefits, you can just think of having happy legs and “Happy Feet” when you wear a compression leg sleeve!
When Should You Wear a Leg Compression Sleeve?
Leg compression sleeves can support you in so many activities and situations. The following are some cases that makes it ideal to wear a compression sleeve for your leg.
Use them for your regular sports activities.
However way you are involved in sports, fact is, you would want every help you can get to boost endurance and performance, to manage muscle pain and fatigue, and to heal and recover strength faster. So wear leg compression sleeves especially if you are:
- an amateur athlete,
- an professional sportsman,
- a sports-enthusiast,
- an exercise buff, or
- a plain fitness lover.
Use them for your recreational activities.
It’s not only in sports activities that your legs benefit from the extra support which a leg compression sleeve provides. You can also use your leg sleeves for other activities you enjoy that are not. necessarily as strenuous and taxing on the legs as your regular sport. Remember, the better your blood circulation, the healthier you can be. Consider also putting on your leg sleeves for:
- leisure walks,
- casual bicycle or motorcycle rides,
- long drives or trips on a plane, bus, or train,
- light hikes or trekking.
Use them to treat temporary medical conditions and chronic illnesses.
As mentioned earlier, doctors recommend leg compression sleeves to treat and manage pains and difficulties caused by illnesses involving the legs. So, seek instruction from your doctor as you use the best type of leg compression sleeve to treat and alleviate symptomatic problems if you’re suffering from any of the following conditions:
- varicose veins,
- deep vein thrombosis,
- chronic ankle and knee pains (common among the elderly and the injured),
- intolerable pressure on the legs (occurring among pregnant women and overweight people),
- edema (fluid retention).
Use them for work and regular day-to-day activities.
While some professions and daily activities do not impose the same level of strenuous activity that most sports activities do, we know that they can still put strain on the body. Consider wearing it under the following situations:
- If your work involves physical or manual labor, such as: a farm worker, warehouse or factory worker, construction or field worker, cleaner, policeman, fireman, gardener or landscaper, or professional dancer. A leg compression sleeve not only helps you be more productive but also helps deal with pains and fatigue that come after a day of physical work.
- If your work keeps you seated for long hours, such as: a driver (either of a bus, a taxi, or a train), a pilot, a clerk (desk job), or a student doing research or studies. The risk of possible circulatory problems and muscle degeneration can be reduced by the compression that leg sleeves provide.
- If your work requires long hours of standing, such as: a security personnel, a salesperson (in a department store), a store clerk, a bartender, a waiter, a nurse or a caregiver, a teacher or professor, or a hotel doorman. A leg compression sleeve not only relieves the pain from standing too long, it also helps you have the strength to endure standing for a long period of time.
Since wearing leg compression sleeves help with blood circulation, it is safe to assume then that wearing it even on regular days (when no specific activity is planned) can help your general health.
Which Leg Compression Sleeve Is Best for You?
To know the best leg compression sleeve to use, you need to determine 2 things. First, you need to determine the type of sleeve that’s right for your condition. Second, you need to determine the tightness of the leg sleeve that’s right for your condition.
Determine the Type.
Determine the type of sleeve you will want to get. This depends entirely on where you need the compression to be. It’s best to seek professional advice. Get a recommendation from your doctor if it’s to treat a medical condition. Get one from your professional trainer if it’s for sports activities. Or, get an advice from your physical therapist if it’s for work or other regular activity use. This way you’ll know exactly whether you need:
- a calf sleeve,
- a thigh sleeve,
- a calf-to-knee sleeve,
- a knee-to-thigh sleeve, or
- a full leg sleeve.
Determine the Tightness.
The second thing you need to determine is the tightness. Research indicates that higher compression levels contribute to better supplies of oxygen to muscle tissues. But tighter compressions do not always mean more beneficial since it still depends on what specific compression an individual actually needs based on his particular situation or ailment. The goal here is to have the right degree of tightness to promote blood circulation and to reap the benefits of using a leg support sleeve.
Here ae some of the common recommendations:
- Light compression sleeves are for healthy people who just need to be relieved of some muscle pain and fatigue.
- Moderate compression sleeves are for people who are potentially at risk of developing medical problems like deep vein thrombosis or who are already dealing with minor leg swelling.
- Higher compression or medical grade sleeves are used to treat people with varicose veins, fluid retention (edema), and other serious leg problems or illnesses.
It is important to note that light and moderate compression sleeves may still vary in tightness depending on the brand, material, and cut. Consider this when purchasing one. ComproGear gives you a size guide here and a choice of plain or patterned knee-high 20-30 mmHG compression socks in different shades and colors.
What Are You Waiting for?
Are your legs the most physically active of your limbs? Well, stop taking the strength of your legs for granted, thinking they will be as useful for as long as you need them.
It’s about time you start taking care of your legs so that they will not be completely peeved. Start by giving them the leg support sleeves they need. By providing compression to your legs, you’ll give them the boost to perform better, endure longer, heal faster, and recover strength.
So, what are you waiting for? Pamper them with nice leg compression sleeves today!