compression sleeve for swelling

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Compression Sleeve For Swelling

Whether you suffer from run-of-the-mill knee pain, arthritis, or something more serious, knee compression sleeves can help support your joints for everyday and active use.B

If you’ve ever experienced knee issues — whether due to an injury, arthritis, or the natural breakdown that results from wear and tear over time — you know how it can disrupt your life. FTR, knee pain is very common. According to a 2018 article by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), it affects approximately 25 percent of adults, and its prevalence has increased almost 65 percent over the past 20 years. Not to mention, the AAFP revealed knee pain is responsible for nearly four million primary care visits annually.

A dull ache or pang of arthritis could mess up your fitness routine, while a more serious injury, including a torn meniscus, could be totally debilitating and require surgery. Depending on the level of pain, swelling, stiffness, and inconvenience your knee problem is causing you, you should see your doctor to ensure proper treatment. However, upon your visit or diagnosis, your medical professional might recommend investing in a brace or knee compression sleeve for additional support. (Find out more about the six most common causes of knee pain here.)

While both a brace and sleeve can help prevent injury and manage pain, there is a slight difference between them. A brace is designed with metal or carbon fiber hinges, and braces are typically part of a recovery treatment plan for more severe knee damage or injuries. “The hinges take pressure off the knee ligaments and are generally used to provide stability for knees that are recovering from ligament injury or ligament repair of the ACL,” explains Marcus Duda, M.D., a North Carolina-based orthopedic surgeon and founder of Vive Wear compression socks.

A knee compression sleeve is a less obtrusive, lighter option, made from thin fabric that slips on your leg. It offers compression, which can increase circulation, eliminate swelling, improve the appearance of varicose and spider veins, and decreases the risk of developing blood clots, notes Dr. Duda. “An additional benefit of the knee compression sleeve is that it helps improve proprioception [awareness of position and movement] of the knee and may improve balance,” he adds. That said, you should consult your doctor on whether your specific knee issues require a brace or a sleeve. (Check out these tips for how to make your knees ache less during runs.)

If a knee compression sleeve is right for you, there are a few things to consider. Some compression sleeves will have a cut-out that should sit directly over the patella (knee cap); others will have some kind of marking to indicate proper placement. If you struggle to maintain the proper alignment of your knee within the sleeve, you may need a different style or size, says Dr. Duda. You should also avoid knee compression sleeves that put too much pressure on the joints or bones — aka tighter isn’t always better — which could not only be uncomfortable but could also cause additional irritation.

Knee pain slowing you down? Ahead, the best knee compression sleeves on the market, based on your need.

Top-Rated: PowerLix Compression Knee

knee compression sleeve powerlix


Gain optimal support with Amazon’s best-selling “knee brace.” The specialized, four-way stretch fabric offers support and protection while being breathable and sweat-wicking to keep you comfortable, dry, and odor-free during exercise, too. This sleeve features two silicone gel strips, which guarantee this sleeve won’t slip down, no matter how vigorous your workout may be.

One reviewer wrote: “I absolutely love this knee brace. I’ve owned a few in my years, and this one is superior. I must admit, I was super excited upon opening it and examining it from the breathable fabric to the silicone gel grip, elastic and overall length. This one fits perfectly, not too tight like others I’ve had. This fits snug. I hardly remember that I have it on. It doesn’t roll up when moving and allows good movement without restricting blood flow and leaving horrible elastic marks like others.”

Buy It: PowerLix Compression Knee Sleeve, from $17,

Best Value: Modvel Knee Compression Sleeve

knee compression sleeve modvel


With nearly 9,000 five-star ratings, you can’t go wrong with this budget pick that gives you two sleeves for the price of one. This knee sleeve supports joints, stabilizes your leg, and helps relieve arthritis pain, thanks to the highly-compressive fabric. The breathable, comfortable design can be worn daily for a multitude of fitness activities, which makes having a backup ideal when one is in the laundry. Measure to just above the knee to ensure you purchase the right size of this ergonomic knee sleeve. (Related: What’s the Best CBD Cream for Arthritis Pain?)

“I am so very happy I bought these Modvel Knee Sleeves,” shared a customer. “They are so much better than what I had been using to support my knee, so that is such a blessing. I need a knee replacement since there is no cartridge left in my right knee. I had a total knee replacement scheduled last year but had to cancel. Now, I’m moving, so these sleeves are doing everything they advertise and more, i.e., stabilizing my knee joint while relieving pain naturally. They are well made, very affordable and you get two in the pack, that’s another benefit.”

Buy It: Modvel Knee Compression Sleeve, $14 for 2,

Best for Knee Pain: Neenca Professional Knee Brace

knee compression sleeve neenca


This patented knee compression sleeve is composed of a knit fabric designed by 3D technology to perfectly hug the curves of your knee cap, reducing pressure and pain. Contoured patella gel pads deliver comfort and help to stabilize the knee cap, while non-slip strips keep this sleeve in place while wearing it. The thick webbed sleeve is not only comfortable but helps steady your movements and improve balance. Hundreds of Amazon reviewers commented on how it helped ease their knee pain.

“This knee brace really helps with my knee pain,” reported a shopper. “I am in need of a total knee replacement. I bought this knee brace and it really does make a difference in the amount of knee pain I experience daily. If you have knee discomfort you should try this knee brace. It will make a world of difference in how much activity you can tolerate daily. If I don’t wear it, I can tell the difference.”

Buy It: Neenca Professional Knee Brace, $20,

Best for Runners: UFlex Knee Compression Sleeve

knee compression sleeve uflex


Hit the open road or get back on that treadmill with this chafe-free and cushiony compression knee sleeve. The comfortable, smooth design is made of flexible, four-way stretch, which won’t cause irritation and allows for a full range of motion while supporting your joints. Durable and breathable mesh offers additional airflow while you build a sweat on your power walks, jogs, or runs. Anti-slip details and the soft section behind the knee keeps will keep the sleeve from budging and gives you more cushion while you hit the pavement or trail. Plus, it’s received a five-star rating from more than 1,000 runners.

One active shopper wrote: “I have run on and off over the years but have never been serious about it and one of the reasons is I couldn’t go beyond about 3 miles without experiencing excruciating knee pain and being forced to limp home (I eventually learned my IT band was the primary source of this). This year I got serious, signed up for a 15K, and started a regimented training plan. Even with dedicated training, I was still struggling with the knee pain. I’ve now been through about three brands of sleeves and this one takes the cake. I am now to the point that if I warm up properly and do some IT band stretches/foam rolls and throw this sucker on I can make 10 miles without major issues. I successfully completed a half marathon a couple of weeks ago and am continuing my training and considering a full marathon. While a lot of this success has to do with the proper strength training I directly attribute a large portion of my success to this knee brace. I feel like it helped me bridge the gap with my really weak knee. Without it, I may have struggled even more, not achieved my goals, and been discouraged from pushing myself to the next level, or even given up.”

Buy It: UFlex Knee Compression Sleeve, $13,

Best for Sports: Cambivo Knee Brace

knee compression sleeve cambivo


Taking into account that too much compression could end up doing more harm than good, this knee brace delivers just the right amount of pressure, according to reviewers. (FYI, knee sleeves that are too tight can cause skin irritation or discomfort, while the more serious risks include damage of the knee if it does did not fit correctly.) The right knee sleeve not only provides stability but helps keeps blood flowing. Combined with a 3D knit composition, this is a comfortable knee compression sleeve that will see you through all your activities, from running and biking to gym days and HIIT class. (Related: Women Swear By These Compression Socks for Swelling, Pain Relief, and Recovery)

“I grew up playing all sorts of sports and put a lot of strain on both my knees,” said a shopper. “This knee brace is a very good brace for supporting and helping to prevent injuries. I use it when I run, train for boxing, and when I snowboard. So far it’s helped stabilize my knees even under the most intense activities. Highly recommend!”

Buy It: Cambivo Knee Brace, from $13 for 2,

Best for a Torn Meniscus: Physix Gear Knee Support Brace

knee compression sleeve physix


Regaining confidence when coming back from an injury or surgery can be daunting — but once you slip into this sleeve, the top-notch compression will help you feel strong and stable. It’s designed with four-way stretch fabric that provides support without sacrificing comfort, has no-slip silicone grip waves to prevent it from sliding, and is even lightweight enough to wear under leggings or jeans. Hundreds of Amazon shoppers commented on what a game-changer this sleeve has been even with serious injuries.

“Last year, I tore my meniscus and had to have surgery,” said a customer. “And shortly thereafter, injured the same knee in a freak fall. End result? Swollen knee, two injections and I never thought I could ride or jog again. Fast forward a year and I slowly started to go on walks and short jogs. The knee brace I was using really inhibited me. A compression sleeve kept rolling down and cutting off my circulation. I saw this one and decided to give it a try. I can wear it under my jeans. It is flexible enough that I can ride my bike again and also walk comfortably. Just the right support. Now the back of my knee does not swell up after a workout and I am able to continue my rehab. My only regret? Not buying two of them.”

Buy It: Physix Gear Knee Support Brace, from $12,

Best for Arthritis: Crucial Compression Knee Sleeve

knee compression sleeve crucial


High-quality materials plus a durable design equals a sleeve that will deliver instant support and stability for arthritis sufferers. The fitted compression helps to eliminate pain and improve recovery and healing. Unlike some styles that can make you hot, or be restrictive and bulky, the double-stitched construction fabric is lightweight and breathable. You’ll find bunching or slipping to be minimum due to double grip silicone strips that will hug your knee without cutting off circulation. Anyone with knee aches will quickly appreciate this model.

One reviewer wrote: “I have psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia, (not to mention I tore the ligaments in my knee when I was 16) so I have chronic knee and other joint pain. My rheumatologist said I need new knees, but I’m not even 50 yet and terrified to go under the knife. These amazing knee compression sleeves gave me just the right amount of support and compression to help me through my latest flare. I could still bend my knee when needed but comfortably compressed it enough to make the throbbing tons less. Great support for overnight (I actually slept a couple of hours more than usual, because the pain didn’t wake me), not bulky at all, basically invisible under pants. I have nothing but good things to say about them, and reasonably priced too.”

Buy It: Crucial Compression Knee Brace Compression Sleeve, $14,

Best for Weight Lifting: Profitness Knee Sleeves

knee compression sleeve profitness


Lunge away in these heavy-duty neoprene knee sleeves. This style from Profitness, made especially for intense workouts like weight lifting, helps reduce the amount of stress any high-impact movement or deep bend can have on your knees. The sturdy sleeve supports joints and reduces the risk of damage, while still providing a full range of mobility. With these, you don’t have to worry about if you have the proper support for your goblet squats. (Related: 4 Reasons You Might Have Pain Behind Your Knee)

One lifter shared her experience with the sleeves saying, “This is my first purchase of this sort of knee sleeve, so I don’t have anything to compare to, but I don’t see how they could be any better! I’ve been dealing with runner’s knee (even though I’m not a runner) probably caused by overuse and too much jumping. But it’s carried over and was affecting my lifting as well, especially any type of squat pattern. I’ve been wearing these to work out since getting them, regardless if I have squats programmed or not, and they really make me feel more stable. Plus they keep my knees nice and warm, and also make me feel a little bit more “springy” — if that’s a thing!”

Buy It: Profitness Knee Sleeves, $33,

The Best Ankle Compression Sleeves For Easier Mobility

Ankles are one of the most important points of the body. They’re the bridge between your leg and your foot and are crucial for movement and balance. These joints must be in tip-top shape at all times to allow you to move around. Unfortunately, some people end up with inflamed or damaged ankles either through excessive physical activity or injury. You’ll need the best ankle compression sleeves in 2021 to help ease the pain. That’s why compression therapy is such a popular method to relieve ankle pain. It applies gentle pressure to allow blood flow, giving your ankles better recovery and reducing any pains or swells that you may have. Even if you’re not an athlete or don’t have any existing ankle problems, wearing these sleeves can be a great way to keep your ankles in peak condition.Featured image courtesy of iStockSHOW CONTENTS

Compare The Best Ankle Compression Sleeve of 2021

UFlex Athletics Ankle Compression Sleeve – Best Overall

1Photo courtesy of Amazon

Key Features

  • Simple to put on
  • Fits securely and stays in place
  • Ultra-lightweight design
  • 3D knitting technology

This ankle sleeve reduces ankle discomfort, swelling, and soreness associated with arthritis, Plantar Fasciitis, moderate injuries, and minor tears or overuse injuries sustained during sports. It improves proprioception by increasing the sensory abilities of the ankle, resulting in improved joint stability and support. 

The silicone inserts relieve pressure off malleoli and apply intermittent, regulated pressure to the joint’s soft tissues, boosting circulation and alleviating discomfort and swelling, while perfectly positioned breathable mesh prevents pinching. The ankle sleeve is suitable for men and women and does not add bulk to the foot, so it may be used with footwear, athletic shoes, ski boots, and cleats. CHECK ON AMAZON

Copper Foot Recovery Ankle Compression Sleeves – Runner Up

2Photo courtesy of Amazon

Key Features

  • Simple design
  • Comes in many sizes
  • Easy to wear
  • Comfortable

One issue that some people have with ankle compression sleeves is that they’re needlessly fancy. Brands love to add designs and textures to the sleeves to make them stand out more, but many prefer the sleeves to look as simple as possible. You don’t really need aesthetic appeal for sleeves, and some may even argue that simple is best, with simpler designs looking far better than those with actual designs and textures.

If you prefer minimal designs, then you’ll love this pair of foot sleeves. Worn like your average pair of socks, you wouldn’t know that these sleeves were actual ankle compression sleeves until you put them on. They’re sleek and fashionable and are very comfortable to wear. They come in small to extra large sizes, so anybody can try on this pair of simple yet stylish pair of sock sleeves.CHECK ON AMAZON

SB SOX Ankle Compression Sleeves – Best For Daily Use

3Photo courtesy of Amazon

Key Features

  • Breathable fabric
  • Comes in many colors
  • Great for everyday use
  • Fits many outfit styles

When one thinks of ankle compression sleeves, one imagines sleeves that are supposed to be worn only in the event of ankle swelling or pain. And while these are indeed the best times to wear such sleeves, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear them every day, either. In fact, daily use of these SB ankle compression sleeves can help promote blood flow on a regular basis, which can be great for people who live sedentary lifestyles.

These sleeves come in a variety of colors, ranging from the typical black to grey, green, and even purple. While there isn’t a true white color available, you have many other colors to choose from, so you could go wear these almost every day without compromising your outfit’s overall look. The fabric is nice and easy to wear, making them great for wearing throughout the day.CHECK ON AMAZON

Raymora Plantar Fasciitis Foot Compression Sleeves – Honorable Mention

4Photo courtesy of Amazon

Key Features

  • Ergonomically designed
  • 4 zone compression
  • Double-layered base
  • Flexible and light material

Whether you’re experiencing intense or throbbing foot pain, provide instant support for your soles, curve, ankle, plantar fascia tendon, and achilles with these compression sleeves. They provide a full range of motion and may even be worn easily beneath regular socks – making them ideal for walking, running, and cycling, as well as for relaxing and snoozing. 

The discrete socks can also be used in conjunction with kinesiology tape, footbed, ligament aids, and orthotics. These foot sleeves have an added layer of cloth at the bottom to absorb stress with each stride; this is critical for alleviating foot discomfort. The innovative design of these compression sleeves offers comfort and support without being invasive. The customized combination of nylon, polyester, and elastane adds to breathability and elasticity.CHECK ON AMAZON

TechWare Pro Ankle Compression Sleeve – Best For Athletes

5Photo courtesy of Amazon

Key Features

  • Extra tight fit
  • Breathable fabric
  • Great for physical activity
  • Used by athletes

Athletes are most likely to use ankle compression sleeves. Regular physical activity can take its toll on one’s body, especially the ankles. The pressure on one’s ankles can even be greater with certain sports and activities, such as track and field running. To make sure that their ankles suffer no injury, athletes often wear compression sleeves during these activities to maximize the flow of blood and minimize swelling.

This ankle sleeve is designed with athletes in mind. The fabric is nice and breathable, which is great when paired with breathable sneakers. You may even feel like you’re not wearing any footwear with how ventilated these sleeves are. The sleeves also have an especially tight fit, making them great for physical activity. It’ll stay in place no matter what activity you are engaging in.CHECK ON AMAZON

ComfiLife Ankle Compression Sleeves – Also Consider

6Photo courtesy of Amazon

Key Features

  • Customizable fit
  • Focuses on the ankle
  • Great for professionals
  • Can be worn on many foot sizes

So far, we’ve covered ankle compression sleeves that were basically tighter and more durable versions of your typical sock. However, this ankle sleeve is designed specifically for ankle therapy and is worn by wrapping the fabric around your ankle. The design is unique, and you may find it difficult to put on at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it to be very, very comfortable.

There are a few reasons as to why you’d want this over sock-based designs. This sleeve gives you more open foot space, as it only focuses on the ankle area. It also gives you more freedom over how tight you want the sleeve to be over your foot, rather than relying on the natural tightness of other sleeves. Other than its unique design that may take a while to get used to, this ankle compression sleeve is great for experienced athletes and novices alike.CHECK ON AMAZON

Powerlix Ankle Compression Sleeve – Long Socks

7Photo courtesy of Amazon

Key Features

  • Unisex design
  • Covers part of the shin
  • Provides wider compression therapy
  • Simple and stylish

Some people are particular about the length of their socks, and the same applies to ankle compression sleeves. Some sleeves only extend just beyond the ankle, whereas others go all the way up to the middle of your shin. This sock is of the latter kind, and for people who prefer more coverage when wearing a sleeve.

The sleeve is made out of breathable nylon and spandex fabric. It’s got a firm grip on your shin and foot, which makes it great if you want compression in more areas of your leg. It also ensures a tighter fit, so the sleeve won’t just move around as you do. The design is unisex, so both men and women will find this pair of ankle compression sleeves to be particularly useful, and you could even share it with others (just be sure to wash them first, of course).CHECK ON AMAZON

Best Ankle Compression Sleeves Buying Guide

Ankle compression sleeves may feel great to wear, but are they really helping your ankle? Here’s what you need to know about them and what type of sleeve is best for you.

What is an ankle compression sleeve?

Ankle compression sleeves are pieces of fabric that are worn over and around the ankle. The fabric is tight in nature and squeezes your muscles to help promote blood flow around the ankle. This is a form of compression therapy and can help with swelling and injuries in the ankle.

Why is it important to wear an ankle compression sleeve?

It promotes blood flow

Compression sleeves are commonly used by athletes and those with ankle injuries because it helps promote blood flow. The sleeves compress the muscles and area around your ankle. The pressure is gentle but strong enough to help encourage blood flow. This helps your muscles feel more active and can enable you to more efficiently use the muscles around the ankle.

This is a major reason why many athletes use compression sleeves when exercising and performing activities. The added blood flow goes a long way and can help promote the long-term health of an athlete’s ankles. 

It lessens swelling

While many people use compression sleeves as a form of injury prevention, it can also be used as a cure in the event of an actual injury around the ankle. When an ankle is sprained or damaged, it is common for the area to swell up. This can make it difficult to move around and can be a painful experience for those with such injuries. It can affect day-to-day life, which may not be ideal if you have to move around a lot throughout the day.

Ankle compression sleeves help with the swelling. It doesn’t just visibly make the swelling less apparent – it also allows the fluid buildup inside your body to be absorbed, resulting in fewer swells after a long workout. The sleeves can also lessen any pain caused by an ankle injury.

Things to Consider When Buying an Ankle Compression Sleeve


When it comes to ankle compression sleeves, size matters, and it matters far more than when buying a pair of socks. Compression sleeves work on the basis of compression therapy, which involves gentle yet constant pressure that improves blood flow. With too little or too much pressure, you may not get the intended effect, and may even result in worsening the injury in some cases. Again, size matters so here’s a quick rundown on what size to get.

Generally, for compression sleeves, you’ll want to get a size that matches your foot size. Do note that some companies use standard sizes, whereas others use their own size charts. Be sure to check what sizes they use to avoid confusion and you get the wrong size. If the brand you choose doesn’t have a size that fits your size exactly, go for one size larger, instead of one size smaller. Larger sizes are the safer of the two, and they’ll do their job when your feet become swollen after exercising or doing physical activity. On the other hand, smaller sleeves may apply too much pressure, which may be painful for some to wear.


The length of the compression sleeve is also critical. While almost all ankle compression sleeves cover the area around the ankle, the actual length of the sleeve may vary. Some are similar to that of typical socks, with the length only extending up to just above the ankle joint. Other socks, however, go even further, with some reaching the middle of the shin.

This may not sound important until you realize that these aren’t socks, but compression sleeves. Longer compression sleeves will apply pressure in more parts of your foot, and can even apply some pressure to your leg. If you’re only using the sleeve for your ankle area, then you may not want the extra pressure on your legs, whereas others may prefer that added coverage. Whether you want long or short sleeves is completely up to you.

Types of Ankle Compression Sleeves

Sock sleeves

Sock sleeves are a common type of compression sleeve. Worn like your traditional sock, they are easy to put on and are comfortable to wear. They are also great to wear on shoes with tight fits. The only drawback is that you’re at the mercy of the tightness of the sleeve – you can’t make it any tighter or looser and will have to deal with the standard tightness of the sleeve.


Wraps are the more “professional” type of sleeves, in a sense. They’re worn by wrapping the strap around your ankle, which gives you a more personalized fit. This is great if you want to be in control of the tightness around your foot. Putting on the wrap will take some time getting used to, however.

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