If you have ever experienced knee pain, you understand how mobility can be difficult. You would do anything to find relief, and this is why knee sleeves are common in supporting your knee cap during an activity. If you have any mild activity-related discomfort and are looking for ways to boost joint support, then knee sleeves are ideal.
What Is a Knee Sleeve?
A Knee sleeve is a stretchy compression band that you put over your knee to reduce pain and discomfort when experiencing knee issues. The sleeve also provides your kneecap and surrounding joints support during activity.
The compression provided by a knee sleeve enhances blood flow to the region, reducing pain and inflammation after exercise. It is critical to consider compression tightness while selecting a knee sleeve. It should be supportive but not excessively tight or confining, as this might limit your range of motion and put additional strain on your joints.
Benefits of Knee Sleeves
Knee sleeves not only alleviate pain and discomfort but have other benefits that may include the following.
During exercise, your joints are subjected to stress and strain, mainly your knees. But the knee sleeve is designed to alleviate discomfort and give much-needed support. This is why you notice Olympic weightlifters and even bodybuilders using them.
Knee sleeves also aid with performance by aligning and stabilizing key areas, helping you work better during squats and other lower-body workouts.
Knee sleeves enhance blood flow while decreasing discomfort and stiffness. The compression material makes knee sleeves popular and effective. Once you put on a compression knee sleeve, it warms up the knee area, regulates blood flow, and eases your pain.
If you’re going through any knee recovery process, you should get a compression sleeve. It will help reduce any inflammation and pain from the compression warming effect. Also, whether you are doing workouts or short walks, you need to ensure that your knee is well supported to reduce any form of injury or aggravate your situation.
Knee Braces vs. Knee Sleeves
You may find it confusing regarding knee braces and sleeves and wonder what will work best for your knee pain. Let’s take a look at the difference between knee braces and sleeves.
Knee sleeves are worn over the knee and offer compression, which helps minimize swelling and pain. Sleeves come in several sizes and are ideal for someone with moderate knee discomfort or arthritis as they provide minimal support. Sleeves are less noticeable than braces and offer a more snug fit under clothing.
Knee braces prevent an already injured knee from further dangers and harm. Knee braces provide the most protection for knees subjected to significant everyday stress. For instance, when performing jumping, jogging, and weightlifting activities. Knee braces allow for modest, limited mobility that allows you to restore knee strength and flexibility gradually.
Types of Knee Sleeves & Braces
Depending on the type of support you need, your doctor may recommend a knee sleeve that will be effective during the healing process. Also, some knee pain may be due to some illness like arthritis or post-surgery, meaning you need to know how much knee movement is required during this ailing time. This way, you can get the right knee sleeve for you.
You may find either open or closed compression sleeves.
- Open Sleeves- The kneecap or patella fits into a hole in the middle with open sleeves.
- Closed Sleeves- There’s no hole. Some are sewn with a pad surrounding the kneecap and minimize undesired mobility.
Below are types of knee braces
- Prophylactic Knee Braces- These are best for athletes as they have hinges, bars, and straps to protect the knee from further injuries and risks.
- Functional Knee Braces- These come in various forms to support and enhance knee function as the knee injury heals.
- Postoperative or Rehabilitation Braces- These braces are intended to reduce knee mobility while the knee heals following a major injury or surgery for 2-3 weeks. You use them together with crutches.
- Unloader Knee Braces- Unloader braces apply pressure on your thigh to relieve stress from the injured knee joint. They are best for osteoarthritis of the medial region of the knee.
Choosing the Right Knee Sleeves
You will find various brands and types of knee sleeves, but you may want to consider the below factors when shopping for sleeves.
- Compression needed- Different sleeves offer different compression. Depending on your knee issues, go for compression to relieve your pain and discomfort. Ensure that the sleeves are not too tight but relatively supportive.
- Form of activity- Ask yourself what activity you are up to as you shop for sleeves. If you have mild pain, it’s best to go for sleeves but you may want to consider knee braces if you are dealing with a significant knee injury.
- Stitching shape and style- Different sleeves have different shapes, such as cones. Others have non-slip grips, and some have anti-slip technology.
- Budget- You may want to invest in quality sleeves but you may need to shop your affordability if your pocket doesn’t allow it.
If you have knee discomfort and require mobility support, knee sleeves are a fantastic solution. Depending on the nature of your injury and the severity of your discomfort, you should wear the right sleeve. Knee braces are recommended for major injuries because they provide more protection. Also, numerous sleeves are available, so it’s advisable to contact your doctor to ensure you get the right type for your knee discomfort.