How to choose the right compression arm sleeve

The first step to finding the perfect compression arm sleeve for you is to define your needs. Are you interested in improving your athletic performance or do you need arm compression for medical purposes? There are enough manufacturers with wide product lines that you should easily be able to find sleeves that are exactly what you are looking for. This guide will help you determine which specific features you should seek out and how to prioritize the importance of components of your compression sleeves. The most important factor to find in a compression arm sleeve for each kind of sleeve is listed after the category title.

Performance compression sleeves

Compression arm sleeves for athletic purposes have a number of variations to consider. Narrow these down by understanding if you plan to use them in an endurance sport such as running or cycling or in a team sport such as basketball or baseball.

Endurance sport compression sleeves: Sun protection
For endurance sports, training and racing typically takes many hours. Much of this time is spent outside so sun protection is a major factor in choosing an arm sleeve. If swelling in your arms is an issue during long runs or rides then an arm sleeve that provides enough compression is a must have. While all arm sleeves will provide some sun protection you will need to determine if compression or UV protection is the most important factor for you. If it is sun protection, then definitely go with a sun sleeve, which you can read more about in this sun sleeve article as well as see several highly rated sleeves.

Team sport compression sleeves
The two most common sports where athletes wear arm sleeves are basketball and baseball. And while these are both team sports, the important arm sleeve features to have are somewhat different based on the way each sport is played.

Compression sleeves for baseball: Temperature regulation
Baseball is a play based sport rather than a continuous one such as basketball or soccer. In baseball there are short periods of sprinting during a fast play that are separated with typically longer periods of low exertion. Not to mention the rotation of on field play with sitting in the dugout every inning. This makes it difficult to keep your arms loose and warm, which is especially important for pitchers. A compression sleeve on your throwing arm can reduce injury by maintaining a more consistent arm temperature.

Compression sleeves for basketball: Compression/Elbow padding
During practice and especially games, basketball tends to be more intense than baseball. In addition, it can also be a game with a great deal of physical contact and jostling. While most sport compression sleeves are made from breathable wicking material, you will want basketball sleeves with elbow padding. This can save you from being sidelined with an elbow injury. The other important benefit of shooting sleeves is the compression support that can improve your shot by straightening out your shooting motion. This article on basketball arm sleeves elaborates on the history and specifics of shooting sleeves.

Medical compression sleeves: mm Hg/comfort

If you have a medical need to wear compression arm sleeves then your criteria for selecting a sleeve are much different. Typically, medical compression arm sleeves are used for treatment of Lipoedema, lymphedema, diabetes, cancer, burns and certain vascular conditions as well as after surgeries such as brachioplasty or mastectomy. Your doctor will prescribe or suggest a level of compression based on a number of factors that include the severity of your condition.

The most important factor in choosing a compression arm sleeve for treating a medical condition is the amount of compression that each sleeve provides. These are rated in millimeters of mercury or mm Hg. The second consideration for choosing a medical compression sleeve is comfort since you may be wearing these all day for a long period of time. Be sure that you know what fabric any potential sleeve is made from to be sure it is not something that might irritate your skin. There are hypoallergenic sleeves that can help if you have sensitive skin.

A third feature to think about which is perhaps the least important in this situation is the color. You will most likely want to hide these sleeves under clothing at least some of the time so you may want to choose sleeves that are skin colored and not bulky. Medical compression sleeves also come with features such as anti-odor and antimicrobial treatments that you might want if you are concerned about wearing sleeves for long periods of time.

Now that you know which specific features you need in a compression arm sleeve and before buying any sleeves you should learn more about the pros and cons of the various fabrics that they are made from. You can find this information in the quick and easy to read article titled: Guide to compression arm sleeve fabrics.

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