Knee Sleeves: What Are They and When to Wear Them
Knee injuries are a major problem in athletics around the world. Not only can blown ACLs, MCLs, PCLs, and torn cartilage take athletes out of the game for long periods of time, if poorly handled and not allowed enough recovery time athletes may never be able to play again. When it comes to braces and supports for the knee, athletes may only think to slip on their hard brace in order to prevent injury. However, these hard braces not only limit knee mobility, but will prevent the joint from becoming stronger overtime. For athletes looking to prevent knee injury without compromising their knees, then knee sleeves are the way to go.
What are Knee Sleeves?
Knee sleeves are not the same as knee braces. Knee sleeves provide some support to the knee, but does not hinder its natural range of motion or immobilize the joint in any way. This makes knee sleeves unsuitable to provide support after a knee injury or surgery, but rather it is designed to protect the knee from future injury or risk of further damage to an injured area. This protection is particularly important for athletes that put their knees under pressure every day in activities like running, jumping, or weightlifting.
Knee sleeves also add a valuable compression element which increases blood flow to the area and reduces pain both during and after a workout as well as any post-workout swelling. The neoprene material that knee sleeves are made of make knee sleeves an excellent option to wear post-injury as it provides some support but still allows the knee to strengthen naturally.
The key difference between a knee sleeve and a knee brace is that a brace is meant to protect the anterior knee and patella, while the sleeve does not provide the same ligament support. This makes sleeves a poor choice for those that have unstable knees.
When to Use Knee Sleeves?
Knee sleeves do not need to be worn all the time, but there is some great benefits for those that wear them during their workout. When running, jumping, or doing knee-centric weightlifting like dead lifts or squats, a knee sleeve can be the perfect companion to not only help you perform safer and longer, but can prevent that familiar old post-workout soreness.
New athletes may not find the same relief from knee sleeves as those with a couple of years of training already under their belt. This is because as time goes on and you run longer or lift heavier weights, the increased mass progressively grinds the knee more and more against the tendon, causing pain and joint weakness. That is why veteran athletes are quicker to praise the benefits of a knee brace rather than those fresh on the field.
Unfortunately, while knee sleeves can help, they are no replacement for proper training and technique. Years of training with improper technique can be disastrous for athletes and their knees. However, for those looking to retrain their muscles to do things the right way with the correct technique, knee sleeves can provide good support and limit the pain while that happens. Simply put, when you combine the right equipment with proper technique, you will gain proper strength and efficiency in the long-term, quicker.
Are you currently suffering from an injury, but already plotting your return to the game? We can help. Contact us today to learn more about our knee braces, knee sleeves, athletic tape, and all those strategies you can use to recover faster from an injury to assure that you aren't warming the bench or sitting in a brace any longer than you need to.