Compression leg sleeves are being seen worn more and more often by elite athletes, particularly runners, and with good reason. Compression leg sleeves have quite a few benefits for the avid runner. They help to improve blood circulation, significantly decrease muscle recovery time, reduce cramping, help to relieve shin splints, and provide lower leg support.
A major benefit of leg sleeves is the ability to reduce the chance of shin splints. As most runners know, they can be caused by over use and excessive force while running, they can also be quite painful. As a runners feet strike the ground, impact forces cause the muscles and tendons to vibrate and jiggle. Too much vibration can damage the tissue and are thought to be responsible for the delayed soreness runners sometimes feel after a run. This repeated force is also one of the leading causes of shin splints. The vibrations can cause the muscles to increase pressure and swell against the bone which causes the pain and inflammation runners are so familiar with. Compression leg sleeves decrease the muscle vibration and increase proprioception and in doing so improve overall leg power while reducing muscle damage. Muscle damage could limit the stretch shortening cycle of the calve muscles limiting a runners performance. Damage could also interfere with muscle contraction during longer runs or marathon events. Compression sleeves can limit the damage caused to muscles after and during distance runs, leading to a quicker rebound post workout. For injuries previously sustained, compression sleeves on the legs can provide enormous relief during the recovery process.
After a run, the use of compression sleeves on the legs can significantly aid in the muscles' recovery. The sleeves heighten the movement of blood flowing through the muscles at a time when it would normally have slowed down quite a bit. That blood further washes away byproducts like lactic acid, which reduces muscle soreness and inflammation. That same blood simultaneously brings in glycogen. Glycogen is the main fuel for muscles energy production. A quicker supply to the muscles means less downtime between runs, and even less muscle fatigue.
Leg sleeves also have benefits more related to comfort. On colder winter days they're a great alternative to the restricting tights normally worn. They're able to keep a runners legs warm when worn with just shorts. They can protect the legs from scratches and abrasions while running outdoors on a trail. They can limit the amount of dirt a runner would normally collect on their skin with outdoor running.
Leg sleeves are an excellent option for runners. Not only can they heighten the level of achievement that is reachable during a workout or competitive race, they also can expedite the recovery process.