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Knee compression sleeves can be helpful for people who need extra support around their knee when taking part in exercise or other physical activity. Some knee compression sleeves provide overall support to the whole knee area, while others add targeted support to the kneecap.

This article provides information on what to look for in a knee sleeve, when a person should use one, and the effectiveness of these sleeves. It also offers a list of knee sleeve products to consider when looking to buy a knee sleeve.

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Knee sleeves provide compression and support for the knee. However, they should not limit movement in any way.

These sleeves can be useful if an individual has experienced a minor injury.

The compression a knee sleeve provides increases blood flow to the area to reduce pain and help reduce swelling after workouts.

A 2017 study concluded that compression garments aid recovery after exercise, particularly after strength exercises.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

CW-X Stabilyx Knee Compression Sleeve

This product is available in black or blue and black. It also comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large.

It features an EXO-WEB support panel, which stretches two ways and reportedly provides targeted support. The company also says that the fabric is breathable and wicks away moisture to keep the skin dry. The sleeve’s design features flat seams to prevent chafing.

The support panel consists of nylon and Lycra, while the body comprises polyester and spandex.

One sleeve costs $30.

Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support

According to the manufacturer, this product, which is reportedly light and airy to wear, features an elastic knitted fabric that regulates compression.

Bauerfeind claims that it has anatomically shaped the support to help a person freely move while wearing the sleeve. It also has a front pad to absorb pressure.

It is available in six sizes, ranging from extra small to extra extra large, and three colors: blue and green, black, and pink.

This sleeve costs $125 on Amazon Canada.

UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve Support

This unisex product is available in four sizes and three colors. UFlex Athletics has designed the sleeve to offer support to minor conditions affecting the knee.

The brand also states that the nylon fabric is breathable, combats odors, and wicks moisture away from the skin while in use.

In addition, it produces a heating effect that the company claims can promote muscle healing.

A person can adjust the fit of the sleeve with a silicone strap.

One sleeve costs $14.99.

Cambivo Knee Compression Sleeve

The company claims this sleeve is suitable for use during sports activities and for those with arthritis, tendonitis, and other knee injuries.

The sleeves come in paired sets and consist of nylon, latex, and spandex. There are also antislip silicone waves at the top to help keep them in place. Additionally, the extra thick material reportedly provides more support than other types of knee sleeves.

The product description states that these sleeves are suitable for all-day use and are lightweight, breathable, and moisture wicking.

It is available in five sizes, ranging from small to extra extra large.

A pair of Cambivo knee sleeves costs between $14.99 and $15.99.

Pro-Tec Gel Force Knee Support

This sleeve is available in one color and four sizes, from small to extra large.

It contains a thick oval gel that aims to provide comfort and support to the kneecap.

The product features a nylon fabric design that is reportedly breathable and soft with a multidirectional stretch.

The company states this stretch applies even compression throughout the knee.

One sleeve costs $29.95.

Below is a comparison of the above products.

CW-XBauerfeindUFlex AthleticsCambivoPro-Tec
Price$30 $125$5.99$14.99–15.99$29.95
Materialsnylon, Lycra, polyester, Spandexelastic knitted fabricnylonnylon, latex, Spandexnylon
Sizes availableS, M, LXS, S, M, L, XL, XXLS, M, L, XL S, M, L, XL, XXLS, M, L, XL
Colors availableblack, black and blueblue and green, black, pinkred, black, pink blue, blackblue
Additional featuresEXO-WEB support panelpressure-absorbing kneecap padadjustable silicone strapthicker material for additional supportgel to support the kneecap area

A few factors to research when purchasing a knee compression sleeve include:

  • Breathability: A person may wish to choose a fabric that is breathable and moisture wicking, which can help keep their skin dry and reduce odors.
  • Flexibility: An individual should ensure the sleeve they choose does not restrict their mobility.
  • Size range: People may wish to ensure the brand of knee sleeve they choose has a range of sizes, so they can find a sleeve that fits them well and is not too tight or too loose.
  • Additional features: A person may wish to check if a knee compression sleeve comes with extra features, such as kneecap cushioning or adjustable straps.

Knee compression sleeves are not suitable for constant use. Instead, they are for wearing during physical activity, when people may need extra knee support. They can provide stability to the knee during exercise or prevent post-workout soreness and pain.

Activities where a person may wish to consider wearing a knee compression sleeve include running, weightlifting, squats, and other cardio activities.

Some companies claim their product may also be suitable for those with arthritis or other knee-related injuries.

A person may wish to contact a doctor to check if knee compression sleeves will be right for them to avoid worsening existing injuries.

A 2017 review evaluated the use of knee sleeves in people with knee problems. They found there were improvements in walking and balance in individuals with osteoarthritis affecting their knees. The study also found improvements in knee function in individuals with knee injuries.

However, a 2021 study discovered that knee sleeves did not appear to have much of an effect on people when weightlifting.

There is a lack of research into the benefits of using knee compression sleeves for other physical activities.

The following are common questions and answers about knee compression sleeves:

What is the difference between knee sleeves and knee braces?

Knee braces restrict movement, while knee sleeves should not. Additionally, knee sleeves may be suitable for those with minor knee injuries, whereas braces are suitable for more serious injuries to help with a person’s recovery.

How long do knee compression sleeves last?

The durability of a person’s knee compression sleeve will depend on how frequently they use it. On average, they can last approximately 6 months to a year.

Can you wear knee sleeves all day?

A person should only wear a knee sleeve when they need extra knee support for physical activity. An individual may be at risk of developing issues with the knee joint if they wear a knee compression sleeve that restricts their movement for long periods.

How do you measure for a knee compression sleeve?

A person can check to see if a company has a measuring guide on its website. To find the right size, an individual can bend their knee slightly and measure the circumference of their leg around the top of their calf.

How tight should my knee sleeve be?

The knee sleeve should be as tight as possible without restricting any movement. The tightness should help promote blood flow in the knee but not cut off circulation or pinch the skin.

While knee compression sleeves are suitable for use during physical activity, they can also benefit people with minor injuries or pain that affects the knee. The compression from the sleeve can promote blood flow, which can reduce the likelihood of pain and swelling in this part of the body.

A person may wish to consider contacting a doctor if they have severe or long lasting pain in their knee.