Calf compression sleeves are compression garments that fit snug around the lower legs. It is made of special soft, medical-grade fabric that gives adequate compression to specific areas with little to no loss of elasticity. Compression garments, in basic medical context, provide support for people who have poor blood circulation and put a lot strain on their limbs. These compressions vary in degrees; compression sleeves that provide a pressure of 40 to 50 mmHg and higher require a doctor's prescription. Compression sleeves that provide 20 to 30 mmHg and 30 to 40 mmHg do not require a doctor’s prescription, but it is recommended that athletes wear them under guidance and supervision of a medical professional. Calf compression sleeves used in sports are generally made of materials such as spandex, a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional durability and elasticity, and is commonly used during exercise to prevent chafing and rashes.
In order to really understand how compression sleeves function, it is important to understand how the body controls blood flow. Red blood cells are first pumped into the lungs by the heart, where it is filled with oxygen and is then transported out through the arteries to our muscles, organs, and extremities. Red blood cells essentially deliver oxygen and energy (ATP – adenosine triphosphate) to fuel the body. After the cells have made use of the oxygen and other nutrients from the blood, the deoxygenated blood is transported through the veins to the heart and back into the lungs where it is reoxygenated. The use of compression sleeves helps the applied area fight the effects of gravity and aids in the return of the deoxygenated blood through the veins by applying constant pressure to those veins and muscles in order to keep them in line.
As tight as they may feel, compression sleeves can actually accelerate muscle recovery. If you’re familiar with rigorous workouts, pain and fatigue usually follows immediately after and can linger for a day or two. Generally, muscle tissue takes about seven (7) to fourteen (14) days to completely heal, but it is possible to resume your workouts for the same muscle groups after 48 hours of rest. The more intense the workout is on your body, the longer the recovery and more severe the pain will be. The pain stems from the muscles that were damaged due to repeated forceful contractions. An athlete’s worst nightmare is receiving an injury that will prevent them from competing. Compression sleeves improve the rate of recovery because it restricts the movement of your muscles and other tissues to provide normalized healing and prevent further injury. Calf compression sleeves are even said to help reduce muscle tightness and lower the chance of injury while running.
Calf compression sleeves are multipurposed to treat a variety of vulnerabilities in the human body. It can also be used for supporting shin splints - pain that originates in the lower legs, below the knee, around the shin area. This is a common occurrence in seasoned athletes and beginners who suddenly adjust their exercise routine to a more intense workout. There are many forms of treatment that relieve pain and reduce recovery time, like stretching out the appropriate muscle groups, taking proper resting breaks or taking a day off from your routine. Another is applying a cold pack or an ice pack to the affected area to reduce inflammation and pain. Taking anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen can also be used to treat the pain and swelling derived from shin splints. Lastly, you can use a leg wrap or compression sleeve. Calf compression sleeves offer support and warmth for quick and comfortable recovery after major physical treatments have been done. It is important to note that the effected leg should be kept wrapped until the pain completely subsides.
Four main factors you should be aware of when shopping for the right compression sleeve are fit, material, construction, and color. Measuring your calves accurately is the key to obtaining the correct sized calf compression sleeve. If the compression sleeve is too tight then it will be extremely difficult to put on, feel very uncomfortable and could quite possibly have a negative effect. Although, if a person is measured to be between two sizes, we would recommend choosing the smaller option because it will stretch slightly to better fit your form after a short time. First time users should remember that it may feel a bit tighter than expected, but at the end of the day you will feel better and be accustomed to compression sleeves. Many runners have been a bit slower in adopting the calf compression sleeves due to aesthetic qualities. But because of advancing technology, there are many compression sleeves that can now go along with fashion trends. Browse the Doc Miller Compression site to see a variety of compression products.
Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. Please contact a licensed physician for a proper diagnosis of your specific case.