Knee braces and knee sleeves provide different benefits and are for specifically different uses, and one or the other may especially provide you with necessary relief during the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic while you are either stuck at home or out working longer than normal hours as essential personnel.
But Which One Do You Need?
First, let’s look at knee braces and their functions. Knee braces come in several different forms:
- Knee Immobilizer
- Bledsoe Brace
- Patella Control Brace
- Motion Control Brace
Knee braces provide a range from light, medium, to total support. You may need to wear a brace after an injury, surgery, or because of arthritis for a while, but many times you don't need total restriction - just support. Braces are made from materials such as metal, foam, plastic, elastic, and straps.
Again, knee braces are more robust, and may even contain large metal support bars - this type should not be used unless specifically directed by a physician. Knee braces remove a very large amount of normal rotary pressure from your knee joint; wearing a brace for extended use outside of recovery can actually weaken the knee joint and cause damage to your leg.
Knee sleeves, on the other hand, can (and many times should) be used by anyone who is physically active.
Knee sleeves are easy to slip-on for light support; step into the sleeve and wear it around your knee to help support your knee and leg during any exercise or weight lifting. Knee sleeves help prevent injuries, while knee braces are more often for recovery from significant strain or injury.
What Activities Can I Wear Knee Sleeves For?
While knee braces are geared towards protecting the knee during recovery from a significant event, knee sleeves can be worn during everyday activities. Wearing knee sleeves is appropriate and performance-enhancing during any of the following activities:
- CrossFit and any other workout regime
- Biking and spinning
- Occupations that require heavy liftings, such as warehouse workers and shelf stockers
- Projects around the house that require frequent lifting or bending of the knees, such as landscaping, painting, or organization
- All-day wear for chronic pain and swelling relief
How Do Knee Sleeves Work?
Knee braces do not provide compression and so none of the benefits that come with compression. Knee sleeves, however, do provide compression over the area they are worn. When lifting or applying pressure on the knees, compression provides functional motion support. Compression also works to provide many circulatory benefits that assist with healthy joint and muscle movement.
Benefits of wearing knee sleeves:
- Increased functional movement
- Knee / joint support
- Assistance with heavy lifts
- Prevention of tendonitis
- Improved blood circulation via compression
- Protection from muscular cramps, sprains, tears, and strains
- Pain relief
- Protection against blood clotting
When Are Knee Sleeves Preferable?
Knee sleeves are primarily designed to support movement and prevent injury; however, they may also be used in some applications to assist in recovery when a full knee brace is an overkill for some minor injuries. Your physician may also step you down from a knee brace to knee sleeves as a tiered approach to full recovery from:
- Meniscus tear
- Torn ACL
- Knee surgery
- Chronic muscle strain
- Blood circulation issues in the knee/leg
How Are Knee Sleeves Worn?
Knee sleeves are made of lycra and so are stretchy; they can be worn anytime you are awake, especially during workouts or any strenuous activity involving your legs. They are not recommended for use during sleep. Knee sleeves should be washed regularly, like any other clothing item, so it is recommended you purchase at least a couple pairs so a clean sleeve is readily available.
Knee sleeves should be worn directly on the knee and not on top of any other clothing, but they can be worn under any jeans, pants, or shorts for all-day wear. They can also be worn in combination with other gear, such as compression socks for the lower legs or feet. They are not recommended for combination wear with full-length medical-grade compression socks that cover the entire leg (compression socks that already cover the entire knee).
Where Can I Buy Knee Sleeves?
Physix Gear Sport is the World Leader in compression gear and manufactures the best knee sleeves on the market today! If you have doubts, know that Physix Gear has a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so there is no risk. Click here to order your knee sleeves today - if for some reason they don’t work for you, send them back for a full refund! Our shipping department remains fully operational during the coronavirus response.