What Do Knee Sleeves Do?

Wondering what knee sleeves do, if anything? Well, the truth is they do a lot to prevent knee injuries, along with keeping people active on injured and arthritic knees.

Here’s how they do that:

  • Knee sleeves are elastic by nature and work by providing compression to the joint and surrounding muscles.
  • That compression increases the blood flow to the area to reduce pain and swelling before, during, and after normal use, exercise, or sports.

The sleeves naturally:

  • Add stability to the joint
  • Limits patella (kneecap) movement
  • Increases proprioception (that means they can help with things like balacnce, posture, and more.)
  • Aids in faster recovery from injuries and exercise or workouts
  • Makes staying active on troublesome knees easy (my favorite)

More About What Do Knee Sleeves Do?

Let’s take a closer look at the 4 main benefits of knee sleeves and why they are so popular.

1. Adds Support and Stability In Stressful Activities

Here are 3 different applications for wearing knee sleeves when a little extra support can go a long way:

  • Weight lifting
  • Sports and other activities that put extra stress on knees
  • Injured, recovering, and arthritic knees

— Weight Lifting

Powerlifters and weightlifters in particular use stiff and rigid sleeves when training and often in competitions to stabilize the knee joints while under heavy loads.

Face it, your knees were specifically designed to carry the weight of your upper body. When you load them with the extraordinary amounts of weight involved in weight lifting — the stress is tremendous.

Among other benefits, compression knee sleeves help support the knee by holding knee joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments in line and maintain the support needed to avoid injury.

This added support is a great advantage to keeping your knees safe when involved in doing squats, snatch, and the clean and jerk.

— Sports and high stress physical activities

Most sports put tremendous pressure on knee joints as they are forced to make violent, sudden, and unnatural twist and turns.

Athletes depend on knee sleeves for added stability, improving performance and preventing injuries. Sleeves protect the joints from injury when taking misplaced and wrong steps, along with helping to regain control quickly.

The compression factor tends to increase blood flow to the area which provides a gentle warming effect. Knee sleeves keep the joints in action and strong longer as they tire.

— Weak and arthritic knees

Injured, arthritic, and knees recovering from exercise are usually sore and create a sensation of being unstable.

The compression and gentle tightness of knee sleeves provide much needed support and confidence that knees won’t buckle under the strain of your weight.

They provide a sturdy, stable, and steady joint with arthritic, sore, and weak knees for keeping active when it seems impossible without them.

2. Minimizes Stress on Knee Caps

One of the major problems athletes face in their career is having to deal with knee injuries. Torn cartilage, blown ACLs, MCLs, and PCLs can make athletes stop doing what they love for long periods of time to recover from injuries.

Knee sleeves hold the patella — kneecap — in place during any active use that’s putting stress on your knees.

Whether you’re running, playing basketball, soccer, CrossFit, powerlifting, or bodybuilding you want to limit the patella movement to avoid injury.

Compression sleeves are mechanical supports for knee joints designed to hold the knee cap in place and add an extra layer of protection as it is put through many abnormal and stressful movements.

3.  Stabilizes and Supports Weak Knee Joints

Knee sleeves take the worry out of possible knee injuries when you’re putting extra stress on them during exercise or competition of any kind.

Knees are the most vulnerable joint we have even with no extra stress involved. They not only bear our body weight, but must endure the constant twisting and turning motions from normal walking and movement.

When we add sports and exercise to the mix the risk of injury multiplies many times.

Whether you’re engaged in any sports, workout, or exercise activities with weak or injured knees, compression sleeves can definitely help stabilize and support your legs and body.

Not only that bu the added support will give you a heightened sense of balance even on injured knees.

4.  Improves Healing and Exercise Recovery

Compression knee sleeves tend to cause added blood circulation to the area which in turn warms your knee joints.

This added blood circulation and warmth

  • Helps the healing process
  • Speeds recovery time from working out and exercise
  • Aides in keeping the joints lubricated

Knee injuries are the most prevalent injuries among athletes in most sports.

Unfortunately, sometimes athletes may never be able to play again if their injuries are not handled and treated properly and given enough recovery time.

That is why athletes and sports and fitness enthusiasts think of ways they can prevent injuries from happening. One common solution is to wear a hard brace for injury prevention; however, hard braces have a number of disadvantages.

Hard braces tend to limit knee mobility along with preventing joints from becoming stronger. That is why for athletes who want to protect themselves from knee injuries without compromise, wearing knee sleeves is often their best option.

The best sleeves are anatomically shaped to prevent injuries and provide a comfortable and pleasing fit.  You’ll find them great for all seasons, wet or dry, and used both indoors and outdoors.

Depending on the brand and model you choose, most are designed for specific uses, such as recovery and rehab, running, walking, hiking, weight lifting, bicycling, basketball, and more.

How knee sleeves differ from knee braces?

Knee braces have holes for the kneecap and are reinforced with metal, while knee sleeves are often made of neoprene and do not have any metal elements.

  • Knee sleeves are used to protect the knee from risks of being damaged and from any future injuries. They are often used for added support after an injury to add support aid in the recovery process.
  • Knee Braces are more rigid and provide much more support for injured and damaged joints, and aren’t as versatile or comfortable as sleeves.


The protection sleeves can provide is phenomenal and very important for knees that are frequently put under pressure, such as when running, jumping, sports (especially basketball) and doing some heavy lifting.

But the truth is that you don’t have to be an athlete at all to benefit from wearing knee sleeves!

If you suffer from arthritic knees, good sleeves can really make a difference when you’re walking for exercise, or even on a trip to the mall.

I walk several miles every day for exercise — with one knee with arthritis.

Before I started wearing a sleeve, that joint stayed sore most of the time.

Sometimes during my routine walks, it would feel like it may give way any time.

Then I begin wondering “what do knee sleeves do, anyway?”

I found out, and am still amazed at the stability, balance, strength, and comfort from these simple devices. With knee sleeves I can do anything I want to do, and never worry about further injury.

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