Calf compression sleeves are worn on your lower legs and increase blood flow, which increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are able to then reach the muscles as they are being engaged during activity. The design of calf compression sleeves is that of a graduated compression – tighter at the bottom than at the top. That is, the calf compression sleeves put pressure on the leg from the ankle to the thigh. This pressure aids in the movement of the blood up the leg, and through the veins’ system of valves, preventing pooling and overall allowing the blood to return back to the heart more quickly.
In other words, the calf compression sleeve helps the blood that has been deoxygenated flow back up to the heart faster (this is also known as venous return) and become oxygenated once again. Wearing calf compression socks have been shown in studies to increase this blood flow up to 40% more (during the time one is active, and up to 30% during the period after activity – that is, during recovery).
What Material Are They Made From and How Are They Worn?
Calf compression sleeves are made of light-weight materials such as nylon, lycra, or spandex, which are stretchy. The material overall is breathable, and should wick away sweat and moisture for best results. Calf compression socks are worn just below the knee down to the ankle. The right fit will be snug but not uncomfortable.
There are several benefits to using calf compression sleeves before, during, and after activities – including to keep muscles warm in pre-workout, increase circulation during workout, and aid in recovery post-workout.
Usually, calf compression sleeves come in several sizes which are based both on circumference (which should be measured at the largest part of the calf) as well as length. Ensuring a good fit is important for receiving the most benefits from the calf compression sleeves. The compression usually recommended is between 20 and 30 mmHg (this measurement is millimeters of mercury), although sometimes a doctor may instruct one to wear extra heavy-duty compression sleeves (which may be 40 mmHg). These are usually not found except via prescription, though, because they are for specific conditions. Calf compression sleeves allow for one to wear regular socks and shoes with them, as opposed to calf compression socks or stockings, and so are more versatile.
Other Benefits to Wearing Calf Compression Sleeves
Calf compression sleeves support muscles by decreasing the vibrations that occur during workouts and impact activities. If a person’s job requires lots of standing and walking, calf compression sleeves can be extremely useful, as they allow one to experience less fatigue and stress due to impact, and therefore greater endurance. If you have ever experienced shin splints, calf cramps or strains, or Achilles tendonitis due to workouts, your job’s requirements, or sports activities, then you can comprehend the benefits of avoiding these conditions by wearing calf compression sleeves. Also, if you have experienced pain from varicose veins or a blood clot, your doctor may have advised you to wear compression sleeves to relieve pain, or prevent further issues.
In summary, the benefits of wearing calf compression sleeves include:
- Enhanced performance
- Quicker recovery
- Decreased soreness as lactic acid is removed more quickly
- Less fatigue
- Prevention of micro muscle tears
- Prevention of further complications in certain health conditions
- Increased blood flow / decreased pooling during activity and recovery
- Fewer muscle cramps
- Less risk of damage or stress to muscle due to impact and vibrations
- Protection against tendonitis in the ankles