With a knee sleeve, you can apply compression to the entire knee joint instead of to a particular area. This is useful in treating problems like sore muscles and minor knee sprains or strains.
In addition to compression, knee sleeves with a neoprene based construction can retain body heat and use it to apply warmth to the knee joint. This aids blood circulation through the joint and also helps to reduce knee stiffness.
Warm ligaments and muscles are also more supple and stretchable. This means they are less likely to incur damage as a result of physical exertions before you have properly warmed up. Having said this, we would always suggest properly warming up and stretching before you embark on any physically strenuous activity, even if you are wearing a knee sleeve. It’s the best way to avoid unnecessary injuries.
Wearing a knee sleeve will also be of benefit if you have suffered a knee ligament injury and are just becoming active once again after the injury has healed. The enhanced blood circulation and therapeutic warmth will reduce the risk that you may re-injure your knee ligaments.
Having stated the advantages of knee sleeves, we should also mention that braces that are purely sleeves offer very little lateral support to the knee joint. Nor should you expect any kneecap support if you have a history of patella instability. For these types of injuries, you are better off considering hinged knee braces or knee stabilizers (for lateral support) or patella stabilizers (for kneecap support.
Many knee braces are hybrid in nature. By this we mean that they combine the features of knee sleeves with those of another type of design such as hinged knee braces. This type of brace will offer both the compression of a sleeve and the lateral support of a hinged brace. If you suffer from compound knee injuries, you should consider a brace of this type in your search.