Medically Reviewed By | Johannah Gregg, DNP FNP-C
It’s common for providers to recommend compression garments to help with injuries and soreness.
You may have also noticed some of your favorite professional basketball, baseball, football, and tennis athletes wearing sleeves, braces, bands, and wraps around various joints and body parts while on the field or court. This became very popular in the 2000s and continued into the next decade.
These may be compression garments; however, there are many types of support that professional athletes now wear. Today, more and more athletes are moving away from compression and searching for other options.
Physical therapists, doctors, and athletic coaches never recommend using compression socks or braces anymore because this outdated method to alleviate pain has been proven to be ineffective. What’s more, it can actually hurt you instead of help.
Decades ago, athletes were taught the RICE method. That stood for “rest, ice, compression, and elevation.” But that’s the last thing you should do. An in-depth study published by the Journal of Athletic Training showed that it simply doesn’t work.
Icing or cryotherapy, for example, has been found to delay the healing process. The same can be said for resting the targeted body part. Even Dr. Gabe Mirkin, who coined the term “RICE” back in the 1970s, doesn’t recommend the process anymore.
It turns out compression is more likely to delay healing. Let’s take a closer look at 5 reasons why you should never wear a compression brace or sleeve on an injured or painful area:
COMPRESSION STOPS BLOOD FLOW
If you’ve ever worn compression socks or a sleeve, you know it feels like it’s cutting off your blood supply. Well, it is! Compression products act as a tourniquet and stop your blood from flowing into the area where you need it the most. Without fresh oxygen and nutrients that come with fresh blood, healing simply can’t occur.
Think about it: You’d never compress a person with diabetes with circulation problems. No doctor with access to the latest research would recommend compression for a non-diabetic person.
SWELLING HELPS YOUR BODY HEAL
There’s a difference between inflammation and swelling, and it’s worth understanding when you’re injured and looking for relief from pain. Inflammation is a bodily response that is triggered when your living tissues are damaged. It’s an important process your body goes through to remove damaged tissues and help your body heal.
When you compress your ankle, wrist, feet, or other parts of your body at rest, you collapse your lymphatic system. This stops your body from completing the swelling process, making it worse. Compression doesn’t reduce inflammation, which is the root of the problem.
COMPRESSION MAKES IT HARDER TO MOVE
Since it’s been proven that moving your body is better for the healing process than rest, you certainly don’t want to introduce a compression sleeve that makes movement more challenging. But that’s just the beginning.
When you compress your body tissue, it alters the receptors that help tell you where you are in space. These receptors are known as proprioceptors. When your proprioceptors get mixed messages, the body loses its ability to balance and perform physical activity properly.
Extended Use of Compression Can Cause Problems
It’s unlikely that compression can cause any harm when worn in short bursts. However, tight squeezing on your body for prolonged periods could have some unwanted side effects.
There is a neurological condition called Meralgia Paresthetica, characterized by an unpleasant tingling and burning sensation in the thigh region. It results from pressure on nerves that run through the groin and usually happens to people who have gained a lot of weight in a short period and pregnant women.
What’s the factor these two groups have in common? Their pants that fit them three months ago are now too tight. It’s becoming more and more common that compression clothing and shapewear are causing this type of nerve pain.
If you use compression on your core, it’s not just squeezing the muscles; it’s putting pressure on your internal organs. The tubes and pipes inside you aren’t immune to physical forces, and too much can lead to or exacerbate certain issues.
This compression can cause problems for people with existing acid reflux or who are prone to it. Those with sensitive guts and irritable bowel syndrome may feel extra unforgettable sporting compression clothing that pushes on the abdomen. The bladder may also be affected, which is not good for anyone with urinary conditions.
Direct skin contact with tight, suffocating clothing can be uncomfortable and potentially lead to worse skin breakdown or delayed healing of wounds.. Some compression clothing can cause rashes for those with sensitive skin, cause or worsen dry skin, or worsen acne.
Specifically for women, sweating in tight compression pants can also increase your chance of developing a yeast infection and increase your likelyhood of developing a UTI. This is commonly seen in young girls wearing to tight of legging.
Compression Is Not Optimal for All Body Types
Any piece of compression clothing may hit the right pressure point on one athlete but completely miss it on another. Factors like proportions, height, and weight will have to be considered with a compression garment. Someone may have to go through a few garments before they feel like they’ve found one that’s wearable, let alone doing anything beneficial for them.
COMPRESSION CAUSES BLOOD PRESSURE TO RISE
An injury or a pain point shouldn’t cause additional health concerns, but that’s exactly what happens when you use compression therapy. Compression can cause blood pressure and heart rate to increase. That’s because your body must push your blood through the area that’s being squeezed. This can have a lasting effect on vascular elasticity resulting in inability to return to normal vascularization after long term use of compression resulting in future issues of lymphedema or Peripheral vascular issues.
But it gets even worse. Compression can also decrease the body's ability to release heat. This can cause your body to overheat; as your blood vessels widen, you’ll experience a loss of thermoregulation. This is a necessary function of a healthy body.
No studies show that compression increases performance or blood flow or positively affects recovery. Otherwise, sportswear brand giants would sell compression garments.
TRY INCREDIWEAR CIRCULATION SLEEVES INSTEAD
Unlike compression products, Incrediwear relies on state-of-the-art technology that increases circulation and reduces inflammation to support the healing process.
Plus, many professional athletes and trainers in several sports worldwide are proud to be ambassadors for the Incrediwear products they use every day to help improve their performance.
Many studies have proven that increasing circulation brings more oxygen and nutrients to the targeted area, which in turn supports the body’s natural healing process and accelerates recovery. This is just as true for athletes as it is for someone going through the post-operative recovery process.
Incrediwear integrates semiconductor elements Germanium and Carbon within the fabric to release negative ions with your own body heat. Those ions then activate vibrations on a cellular level, which invites blood flow to the area. This increases circulation and helps the body heal.
When you have improved circulation in a targeted area, it’s simply easier to move your body — which in turn helps you feel better faster.
Incrediwear works for all body types, regardless of age, height, weight, gender, or measurements. With any sleeve, brace, or wrap you choose, you’ll know it will fit right on the first try. Unlike with a lot of compression clothing, there’s no need to feel like your body may be “not right” for anything we offer.
“The difference between Incrediwear and compression is huge,” said Jackson Corley, the founder of Incrediwear. “It just has to touch your skin. When it touches your skin, it increases blood flow and increases blood speed. It’s allowing your body to heal.”
For optimum success, it’s recommended to use the Incrediwear products both during the day and in bed at night. Again, unlike compression garments, Incrediwear is extremely comfortable and can be worn without feeling constricted around the clock. These products can help with everything from sprains and arthritis to muscle fatigue, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and back pain.
Professional athletes who swear by the Incrediwear products know they provide extremely different results from compression-based products. Many people have discovered they no longer need to consider surgery, thanks to Incrediwear’s healing benefits.Many users notice a difference almost instantly.
To learn more, check out Incrediwear’s FAQ.
Hi Darla, if you are suffering from a long-term injury that is struggling to heal, we would suggest speaking to your doctor before using our products as they will be best placed to advise you.
I have a broken patella that won’t heal. I have 6 months out from the injury. Will these help?
Hi David, our products do not use compression. Where compression uses controlled pressure to restrict blood flow, our technology incorporates semiconductor elements that release negative ions when stimulated by body heat. You can read more about our unique technology here: https://incrediwear.com/pages/technology
So.. how is this not just your brand of compression sleeve?
Hi Marlene, we would recommend giving our best-selling knee sleeve a try! You can find it here: https://incrediwear.com/collections/best-selling-products/products/incrediwear-knee-sleeve
If you are suffering from persistent pain, we would also recommend seeking medical advice just to make sure everything is okay.
I had a knee replacement 15 years ago. Its still good snd I hike, snowshoe and do yoga. After 5 miles if hiking, knee hurts a little. What product that you sell would help me?
Hi Christine. Yes, absolutely – our leg sleeves, arm sleeves, and circulation socks can all be used safely by people with lymphoedema.
Hi Sue, you can find some of our suggestions for the particular conditions you mentioned on these pages:
However, we would always recommend consulting with your doctor or medical team to ensure that you are choosing the right products for you.
Hi Susan, yes, we ship to Canada. Please check out our Shipping page for more information: https://incrediwear.com/pages/shipping
Hi Linda, our knee sleeves currently go up to 3X.
Hi iam wearing a made brace from a hand therapists also compression gloves I have tendinitis and arthritis in both hands tennis elbow in both elbows and carpet tunnel and I have in my right ankle pulled muscle and tendons so what do I wear
Hi, can incrediwear be worn by people suffering from lymphoedema in arms or legs? And if they can’t, what would the reason be?
I have problem with my sciatica, the leg sleeve would helps with this problem .
What is the largest size you make? I will need 3x-4x knee sleeve..
Do you ship to and within Canada??