Q: I twisted my knee recently. Do compression sleeves work to help recover from an injury?
A: A knee sleeve provides some support, but does not function in the same way a knee brace would. Knee braces are designed and used to protect a previous injury from further endangerment. Knee sleeves are designed to protect the knee from future injury or risk of damage. This protection is especially important for knees put under great daily pressure (running, jumping, weightlifting).
Knee sleeves are generally made from neoprene material and slide on over the knee. In simple terms, the idea behind the knee sleeve is to reduce pain. More specifically, the sleeve adds warmth, increases blood flow, limits patella movement, and can increase proprioception (the capacity to feel the position of a joint in space as sensed by the central nervous system). In other words, the sleeve is more than a mechanical support mechanism for the joint, but is also used to improve proprioception.
So yes, a compression sleeve is a great idea if you are working through an injury. If you’re issues are chronic, you might want to consider wearing some sort of protection every time you exercise. As always, consult with a trainer or doctor if you have any medical concerns.
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Have a question? Email ealvarez@MiamiHerald.com or tweet @eddiemalvarez. To talk to the fitness trainers, email firstname.lastname@example.org.