Arm compression sleeves are made from stretchy material and thus have compressive capabilities They apply compression to the arm between the shoulder and just above the wrist.
They have several potential benefits ranging from the treatment of mild soft tissue injuries to helping prevent such injuries. Athletes in certain sports also wear them to enhance sports performance.
However, probably the most notable benefit of wearing these sleeves is the treatment and prevention of lymphedema. This is a health condition that results in swelling in one or more of your arms or legs.
In buying an arm sleeve, you have the choice of various compression levels and types of material. Some sleeves even include graduated compression, with compression levels that decrease as you get closer to the body. It is important to understand the significance of each of the available options so that you make the best choice possible.
In this article, we will examine the benefits of wearing compression sleeves for the arm in more detail. We will then provide some tips for choosing and using a sleeve for your particular circumstances.
Benefits Of Wearing An Arm Compression Sleeve
The compression from the arm sleeve enhances flow of blood through the limb. The result of the increased blood supply is an increase in the supply of nutrients to the tissues of the arm.
You may have suffered from injuries to the arm muscles, tendons and ligaments. If so, the enhanced flow of nutrients will help to promote healing of those injuries.
Sore / Tired Muscles
Another benefit of the enhanced blood circulation through the arm will be an increase in the supply of oxygen to its cells. This will help to reduce the soreness and/or tiredness of your arm muscles as the result of sports or other activities. As a result of this, you will be able to maintain peak athletic performance for longer periods.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
This is a condition of muscle pain and soreness that manifests itself one or two days after intense physical activity. There is no known cure for DOMS but the increased supply of fresh blood and oxygen is believed to reduce its duration.
This means that you can recover more quickly and be ready sooner for your next exercise or training session. The long term benefit of being able to train harder and more frequently is improved physical conditioning and/or sports performance.
Reduced Muscle Vibration
Wearing a compression sleeve for the arm also helps to reduce the muscle vibrations that take place during vigorous physical activity. This will help to reduce the risk of muscle strains as a result of such activity.
Proprioception refers to the ability of the body to instinctively detect when the relative positions of its limbs pose an injury risk. It also refers to the body’s ability to instinctively avoid such positions as a means of self preservation.
Compression garments like arm sleeves are believed to enhance the body’s proprioceptive capabilities. As a result, they will help to reduce the risk of injury especially when carrying out complex manoeuvres as part of sports activity.
Proprioception is also believed to enhance the ability to instinctively arrange your limbs in such a way as to most efficiently perform a task. Athletes who frequently have to perform complex movements in the middle of competition can benefit from increased proprioception. It will help to improve the efficiency of the movements they perform and thus boost their sports performance.
An American Cancer Society publication has suggested that compression arm sleeves can help to control lymphedema symptoms. Further, there is also some evidence that these sleeves may be capable of preventing lymphedema in the first place.
Choosing & Using A Compression Arm Sleeve
We will now provide some tips for choosing the arm compression sleeve best suited for your needs. Some frequently asked questions about wearing these sleeves will also be addressed.
Which Are The Best Compression Sleeves?
Many compression sleeves available on the market are made from hypoallergenic and/or latex free materials. If you have a latex allergy or sensitive skin, we suggest putting these sleeves at the top of your list.
Pay close attention to the manufacturer’s sizing chart or instructions and follow them closely. If your sleeve is too small, you may find it difficult or impossible to wear for extended periods. If it is too large, you may not receive sufficient compression to meet your therapeutic needs.
When Should You Wear Compression Sleeves?
If you need compression sleeves to avoid a sports or work related injury, we suggest wearing your sleeve during these times.
If you need the sleeve to speed recovery from an injury, it would be best to wear it as much as possible during waking hours.
In general, we would not suggest wearing your sleeve while sleeping. Its compression may interfere with your sleep.