How Knee Sleeves for Running Work
You may have heard of knee sleeves for heavy lifting, but sleeves can also be beneficial for runners. These sleeves are made of thin neoprene and pull over the knee.
Knee sleeves for running work in a few ways. One way is by compression. Compressing the knee and the area around it increases blood flow to that area, which can reduce pain and inflammation and speed up recovery time.
Having the knee area compressed also increases proprioception, or your body’s awareness of your knee’s position in space. This can help reduce injury and increase general body awareness as well.
It is important to understand that knee sleeves are not the same as knee braces. A brace is generally used to support a currently or recently injured joint, while a sleeve is designed to prevent injury in the first place.
While knee sleeves for running don’t treat injuries, they can absolutely help to reduce joint discomfort, particularly if that discomfort has come as a result of increasing mileage.
How to Use Knee Sleeves for Running
Using knee sleeves for running is relatively simple. Before you even start using a knee sleeve, it’s important to do your research and determine that you will be using your sleeves correctly.
It is also very important that your knee sleeves fit well. A too-loose sleeve won’t do anything, and a too-tight sleeve can cause serious discomfort. Be sure to follow manufacturer sizing guidelines.
When it comes time to run in your new knee sleeves, you will simply need to pull them up over your knee. It may be a good idea to wear them during any warm-up exercises you do, since this will warm up the knee joint.
You may also want to wear your knee sleeves during cool down, as the increased blood flow to the knee are can help to reduce inflammation and swelling, and also to generally reduce discomfort.
It is also a good idea to make sure that you clean your knee sleeves regularly and properly, although the ways to do this are covered below.
How to Select Knee Sleeves for Running
When you select knee sleeves for running, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Price range – Setting your budget first can help you to weed out unaffordable types first and narrow your search.
- Patella support – If you have an issue with patella tracking or patella pain, you may want running knee sleeves with a hole in the middle for your patella. This can help to keep it in place.
- Thickness – Generally speaking, you want your knee sleeves to be thin enough to allow freedom of motion, but not so thin that they provide no support. These sleeves are usually thinner than those used for lifting.
How to Maintain Knee Sleeves for Running
While you may not need to wash your knee sleeves after every run, proper care and maintenance is necessary if you want them to last a long time.
You can wash knee sleeves with your regular laundry, but it is not advisable to put them in the dryer. This can cause the neoprene fibers to lose elasticity, and this will make the sleeves less effective.
When you wash them this way, be sure to let them air dry before putting them away. Putting away the sleeves while they are still damp (from either sweat or water) can cause mildew growth and a bad odor.
You also can boil your knee sleeves. You may want to add in some soap after they boil, and then rinse them off. Once again, air drying is important.
With proper care, your running knee sleeves can last years, so it’s important to be sure that you maintain them properly.