What are compression sleeves for arms?

Compression sleeves are elastic garments that exert pressure on limbs. They are typically used to treat arm swelling from exercise or medical treatment. These sleeves are slipped over the hand and worn on the arm. They are worn during the day and removed while sleeping. They come in varying degrees of compression, typically in the range of 20-40 mm Hg. The sleeves with the highest compression require a doctor’s prescription while those with less compression can be purchased over the counter.

Who should use compression arm sleeves?

Many people will find compression arm sleeves are a worthwhile investment based on the amount of relief they offer. The two main groups of people that will benefit from using compression arm sleeves are athletes and those who have a medical need. There are compression sleeves designed specifically to meet the needs of these two groups.

Athletic arm compression

Triathletes, marathoners and other endurance athletes typically use compression sleeves to help with recovery. After long workouts or endurance runs limbs tend to swell. In these cases, donning compression arm sleeves will help to reduce post exercise swelling and in turn speed muscle recovery. Muscle soreness in the days after a strenuous workout has also been scientifically shown to be reduced by the use of compression arm sleeves.

Compression sleeves for arms can also be used during exercise. Again, they are typically used during extended periods of moderate to strenuous training. When worn during exercise they can help to keep arm muscles warmer, reducing friction between muscle fibers and in turn causing less inflammation. In addition, research has shown that compression sleeves reduce blood lactate levels during maximal athletic effort resulting in shorter recovery times. During longer outdoor exercise sessions, compression sleeves also serve as protection from sun damage.


Medical arm compression

Medical reasons to use compression include prevention and/or reduction of swelling as well as the need for increased circulation.

Lymphedema, a disorder where the body does not properly remove non blood fluid from the bodies extremities. This happens when lymph nodes and their associated drainage channels have been compromised or removed. Use of lymphedema arm compression sleeves is a common treatment for lymphedema to reduce swelling.

After brachioplasty and other cosmetic surgeries, compression arm sleeves may also be used to to help speed blood circulation and flush harmful fluids from the body.

Individuals with circulatory diseases such as Reynaud’s syndrome may also benefit from the use of compression arm sleeves. The reason for this is that by compressing the peripheral veins, blood is forced through narrower channels on its way back to the heart. This causes increased arterial pressure, promoting more blood to return to the heart and less to remain in the limbs.

In cases of arthritis or tendonitis, compression arm sleeves may be recommended. This will primarily help to alleviate pain caused by joint movement. As a secondary benefit, compression sleeves also will keep the muscles associated with the painful joint warmer which will also serve to reduce pain.

Benefits of compression arm sleeves

Compression sleeves for your arms have a number of health benefits including;

  • Improved circulation
  • Shortened recovery time after exercise
  • Reducted of muscle vibrations/tears during exercise
  • Reducted of swelling and edema
  • Provide extra warmth during exercise
  • Sun protection during outdoor exercise
  • Reduced blood lactate concentration during maximum exercise
  • Reduction in muscle soreness in the days following strenuous exercise


Types of compression arm sleeves

All compression garments are not created equal, some are designed for exercise while others are for medical treatment. Some provide the same level of compression while graduated compression garments exert different levels of compression through the garment. For example, a graduated arm sleeve will provide stronger compression near the wrist and gradually become less compressive toward the upper arm. Be sure to choose the type that will meet your needs. You can find arm compression sleeves in many different colors and skin tones.