The knee is probably one of the most important joints in our body. Try walking without bending your knee. It’s not that easy, is it?
Since we use our knees so much, it’s no wonder that knee pain is so common. Wearing knee compression sleeves can help you to manage your knee pain without it affecting your normal routine. Just slip it onto your knee and you’re ready to get started with your day.
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Knee compression sleeves work mainly by reducing pain in the knee. This is accomplished by compression. The compression increases blood flow to the area, helping to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
Just slide the sleeve over your knee and it will keep your knee warm and reduce pain. Warmth to your knee can also help to increase circulation to the knee area, further speeding up with the healing process.
The sleeve provides stability by holding your knee in place. This ensures your weight and pressure is distributed equally over your whole knee, reducing the risk of knee pain.
The effect of the compression from the sleeves can also increase your proprioception – this is the ability to know where all your joints are in space without looking. Proprioception will help give you better balance, thus reducing your risk of developing an injury.
Compression sleeves are not the same as braces. Compression sleeves only provide some support and are used to prevent future injury.
Knee braces are used to protect your current injury and prevent it from getting worse. Knee braces contain cushioning which protects the front of your knee and your kneecap.
This cushioning and protection is not available in knee compression sleeves so if you have an unstable knee, it will not be properly supported with a sleeve and you will need to use a brace.
Knee compression sleeves are made from a variety of different materials. Most are made of neoprene, a smooth material that is easy to put on. Some are made of elastic, for extra mobility and flexibility.
Sleeves can also contain a variety of other materials to help with its function. Some sleeves contain silicone which stops them from slipping. Other sleeves contain wires to prevent bunching.
Some compression sleeves come with copper in them. The copper acts as an antibacterial so your sleeve doesn’t develop a smell and also so your knee doesn’t develop a rash.
Knee compression sleeves provide great benefits for people of all ages and different activity levels. Here are a few benefits of wearing a knee compression sleeve.
It’s important to bear in mind that even though the knee compression sleeves help to reduce the pain, it does not actually do any healing of your knee.
Any underlying knee condition which is causing you pain is still going to be present even after you take off your sleeve, so make sure that you do not use the knee sleeve as a substitute for any therapy or medical advice you are currently receiving.
There are several instances of when you should wear your knee compression sleeve.
When you’re lifting weights, all the force goes through your knees since you’re using your knees to help you lift heavy weights.
Wearing a knee compression sleeve helps to hold the knee in place, preventing injury. The sleeve can also allow you to lift heavier weights due to the extra support they provide.
Just remember, it’s not all about knee sleeves – you also need proper technique to make sure you don’t injure yourself.
If you suffer from knee pains, then knee compression sleeves can help to improve your pain. The warmth and compression helps to increase the blood flow to your knee to help with the healing process.
The stability offered also helps to fix the knee in place to reduce the risk of re-injury.
The sleeves do not actually fix the problem, they just provide you with more comfort while other therapies which are helping the healing are in progress.
After surgery, your knees may be feeling a little tender and swollen. The extra padding offered by a knee compression sleeve helps to reduce the swelling and pain.
The sleeve also fixes your patella (kneecap) in place to assist in proper force distribution across your knees. Wearing a knee compression sleeve allows you to walk sooner after having surgery rather than later.
Runners place a lot of force on their knees when they’re running on hard surfaces for extended periods of time. While your knees may not feel sore at first, after a bit of running, you can begin to tire.
Tired legs may not function as efficiently and this can put your knees at greater risk of injury. By wearing a knee sleeve, the sleeve will help to stabilize your knee during the last stages of your workout to reduce your chances of developing any injuries.
Your knee compression sleeves should be comfortable enough that you actually wear them and they benefit your knee.
They shouldn’t be too tight – that’s not required to alleviate pain! The level of compression and comfort varies across different brands and styles of sleeves so check them all out.
If there is too much compression, it can end up constricting blood flow to your leg, causing further pain and injury to your leg.
Sleeves should also be easy to put on. This goes without saying, since no one wants to spend an entire hour trying to maneuver into one of these things.
If you plan to wear the knee compression sleeve all day, you’ll need to find one that’s not too bulky and will fit underneath your pants. They’ll also need to be able to stay in place, without needing to readjust them or stop them bunching every few minutes.
It’s also worth noting once again that not all knee sleeves are the same and so they do not provide the same amount of support. It is important to figure out what is causing your knee pain and then finding a sleeve which provides support for the correct area.
Choosing your knee compression sleeves carefully is really important as the wrong sleeves can cause further injury. Or just a lot of hassle if your sleeve keeps slipping off your knee.
There are several things you should be careful about when choosing your knee compression sleeve.
Every knee compression sleeve is different. So, before you go out to the shops to purchase one, first consider if you plan to use your knee sleeve for anything different from normal.
For example, you may just be looking for a knee compression sleeve for everyday use. That’s fine, but if you occasionally go to the gym to workout, your everyday sleeve may not be suitable to support your workload.
You may need to consider an all-purpose sleeve or maybe even two separate sleeves for different activities.
Different materials are used to create knee sleeves for different fitness routines.
Lightweight materials are used for running and endurance sports. These compression sleeves help more near the end of your workout than at the beginning. This is the time when you’re getting tired and the sleeve helps to control knee movements.
Heavy duty materials are used for weightlifters or for athletes who train intensely in short bursts. Not much physical movement is required, just a lot of support, so the design of knee sleeves for weightlifters will be different.
Your usage will also affect what sleeve thickness will be suitable for you. It’s recommended that you try on the knee sleeve and then consider the most common activities you intend to perform and how the current thickness will feel and affect these activities.
A heavier person will require a knee sleeve of greater thickness for extra support. The size of your sleeve should also be large enough that compression along your knee is uniform.
There are 3 standard thicknesses of knee compression sleeves:
The amount of mobility and rigidity offered can affect how comfortable your knee compression sleeve is. If the anatomical shape of the sleeve does not quite match your knee, you will find it hard to move and bend your knee.
More rigid sleeves may not be suitable for serious athletes as you can harm your knee while exercising due to limited mobility. Rigid sleeves are best reserved for use as support after surgery.
Your knee compression sleeves are not suitable for all activities and knee sizes. You don’t want your knee compression sleeve to tear because you bought a lightweight one that isn’t able to support your weight properly or you tried to lift weights with a lightweight sleeve.
This measurement is a good indicator of your knee compression sleeve size across most brands, but you should still check the sizing chart for sleeves before buying.
Your knee compression sleeve should not be so tight that it cuts off circulation to your leg or causes discomfort.
Let's check out our top choices for the best knee compression sleeves.
Nordic Lifting is well known for manufacturing exceptional weightlifting gear. Their 7 mm knee compress sleeve is the ideal choice of sleeve when it comes to intense workouts.
Whether you’re a weightlifter or powerlifter, the Nordic Lifting knee sleeve is the best knee compression sleeve for intense workouts.
The thick 7 mm sleeve reinforces your knees, allowing you to lift greater weights while helping you to avoid injury and pain.
Designed from neoprene, this knee compression sleeve has lots of ergonomic comfort and can keep your knee warm, helping to reduce pain and swelling before, during and after your workout.
A large size range from S to 2XL means you can expect to find a size that will fit you.
At a cost of $40 for two sleeves, this is on the pricey end of knee compression sleeves but it is definitely worth it for serious athletes or anyone who is concerned about preventing a knee injury or is trying to rehabilitate an old injury.
The Mava Sports knee compression sleeves are unique compared to most standard sleeves. They’re kind of a cross between a wrap and a sleeve.
Measuring 72 inches long, you take the fabric and wrap it around your knee. This means you know you can get a custom fit every time. The ability for you to choose how to wrap up means you can decide where you need the most protection and so wrap accordingly.
Durable and flexible, the Mava Sports sleeve joins together using Velcro for an extra tight grip to stop the sleeve from slipping or coming loose.
They even come in a range of colors so you can find one that matches your outfit.
It does take a bit of time to learn proper wrapping techniques to maximize the amount of benefit from the Mava Sports sleeve. Not only that but wrapping techniques to prevent bunching and discomfort will also need to be incorporated into your wrapping style.
For around $25, the amount of flexibility offered by the Mava Sports knee compression sleeve isn’t something to overlook. If you’re a professional at dealing with wraps, then this sleeve will be a great fit for you.
For someone looking for a sleeve to use on a casual basis, the amount of effort and skill involved in wrapping up your knee may not be worth the trouble but there are still plenty of other options available on the market for compression sleeves.
The UFlex knee compression sleeve is designed for the person who constantly worries their sleeve is going to need readjusting every couple of minutes.
Made with anti-slip silicone, the UFlex sleeve provides stable compression without slipping up or down your leg.
They even come with double gripping strips to help prevent bunching.
With these compression sleeves on your knees, there’s really no need for you to readjust them once they’re on your knees.
Ideal for runners, weightlifters and athletes, the UFlex sleeve allows for good mobility with its 4 way stretch capability.
This is reinforced by the nylon and lycra blend of the sleeve, providing you with all day comfort, flexibility and durability.
This knee compression sleeve is so lightweight, you can wear it all day under your clothes.
Costing around $20, these are sold singly so you will need to buy 2 packs if you want a sleeve per knee. The careful design of the UFlex is definitely worth the price, making this sleeve the best knee compression sleeve for running and anyone seeking minimal adjustments.
The Bauerfeind knee compression sleeves are among some of the most expensive available for purchase. Ranging between $50 and $180 based on your choice of size and style, these sleeves are jam packed with cool features to help support your knee as best as it can.
Designed to reduce swelling, these sleeves are comfortable and lightweight, suitable for use in sports or everyday activities.
They also help to increase your balance for better stabilization of your knee joint.
Easy to put on, the built-in donning aid means you can pull this knee compression sleeve onto your knee using just two fingers!
The Omega pad helps to reduce some of the pressure on your kneecap. Constriction is avoided by having graduated compression along the edges of the sleeve.
These Bauerfeind knee compression sleeves fit amazingly well on your knee. Highly elastic, the sleeve molds itself to your leg and knee so that it fits securely.
Flexible stainless steel wires are embedded within the sleeve to provide support to the shape of the knee sleeve so that it doesn’t bunch up while you’re exercising.
The fabric is breathable and very fine, to prevent skin irritations caused by sweat or rubbing fabric. It’s also machine washable so if it gets dirty, you can just add it to tonight’s load of washing.
Finally, we have the Bear KompleX knee compression sleeves. These come with a lot of design options so you don’t have to be shy about wearing your compression sleeve.
Available in 5 mm and 7 mm thicknesses, the Bear KompleX sleeves provide compressive support for lifting weights and keeping your knee warm.
They’re contoured and a very snug fit so they are extremely good at supporting your knee without slipping down your leg. The fit can be tight enough that it is bordering on being a little restrictive.
These compression sleeves are also a lot more rigid than most standard 7 mm sleeves. So, while they provide you with less flexibility at the knee, they do offer a lot of stability.
So, if you want to transition between workouts, or you’re expecting to use sleeves for a wide variety of activities, then the Bear KompleX sleeves may not be such a good choice.
But if you’re looking for exceptional support and are not too concerned with flexibility since you don’t plan to be moving much, then the Bear KompleX will satisfy all your needs.
Coming in at around $45 to $60 for these compression sleeves, the Bear KompleX sleeves are the best compression sleeves for lifting.
When used correctly, knee compression sleeves are an effective way of providing natural pain relief while still being able to do the activities you enjoy. Using these as a guideline, hopefully you too can find the right compression sleeve for your needs.
The best knee compression sleeves allow for great mobility while maintaining superior support. They’re so discreet, you’ll forget you’re wearing a compression sleeve.