If you’ve ever seen professional athletes wearing sleeves on their arms or legs, you’ve witnessed compression wear at work. Compression wear refers to any garment designed to apply gentle pressure to relieve pain, prevent injury, facilitate recovery, or boost athletic performance.
What is compression wear?
Compression wear – also called compression sleeves or compression garments – is typically made from a blend of nylon and spandex and is designed to provide specific compression levels.
What is compression wear used for?
Compression wear in 2023 has many different uses. The compression level (measured in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg) will depend on the specific use of the garment.
The benefits of compression wear can be experienced starting at 8-20 mmHg. This non-medical grade compression level can help relieve chronic pain, prevent injury, or boost athletic performance.
Anything above 20 mmHg is considered medical-grade compression. Compression wear with compression levels of 20 mmHg to 40 mmHg is typically only recommended for short periods and specific conditions – such as severe edema and lymphedema.
What are the different types of compression wear?
Compression garments are designed for use on specific parts of the body. Today’s compression wear is available for arms, legs, knees, wrists, shoulders, neck, and back.
Sizing options depend on the compression wear brand. If the brand carries different sizes, you must choose the right compression sleeve size to receive the appropriate compression level. Wearing a compression sleeve that's too small can cut off your circulation, and a too-large sleeve offers little benefit.
Some compression wear brands eliminate the guesswork and offer a universal size (one size fits most), making choosing the right product for your needs easier. For example, Nufabrx HealthWear® comes in universal sizes.
What are the benefits of compression wear?
Compression wear offers many health benefits to the wearer. The exact benefits depend on the sleeve location and compression level provided. Compression wear is often used by athletes, people recovering from injuries or surgery, and those with chronic pain, such as people with arthritic conditions.
You can consistently wear non-medical grade compression sleeves to relieve chronic pain, support achy joints and muscles, boost athletic performance, and prevent injury. Nufabrx HealthWear® even adds the benefit of pain-relieving medication. These compression garments are infused with contact-activated capsaicin, a topical analgesic used to temporarily relieve minor aches and pains in joints and muscles. The combination of gentle compression and embedded medication provides lasting relief from the pain associated with arthritis, strains, and sprains.
Can you wear compression wear all day?
How you use your compression wear will depend on your goals and the type of compression garments you use.
If you’re dealing with chronic pain, such as arthritis pain in your hands, from daily activities, consider wearing gentle compression sleeves throughout the day. For example, you might feel best with gentle compression on your wrists anytime you use your hands – such as when typing at a computer, gardening, cooking, getting dressed, or driving.
You may also wear compression wear throughout the day if you’re recovering from an injury. For example, your doctor might suggest wearing a compression sleeve on your knee after injury to support the joint and protect your knee from further injury. You might feel more comfortable walking, running, or playing sports while wearing a compression sleeve.
Learn more about how long you can wear compression garments in this blog.
Should you wear compression wear at night?
The answer to this question depends on what kind of compression garments you are wearing.
Because they offer a gentle level of compression, non-medical grade compression garments (such as Nufabrx HealthWear®) can be used during sleep. When worn while sleeping, the gentle compression of Nufabrx HealthWear® can offer stability and comfort, help prevent injury from overextension, and deliver the pain-relieving active ingredient capsaicin to the skin as you rest.
This is different from medical-grade compression: Wearing medical-grade compression while sleeping is not typically recommended. This higher level of compression wear is designed to be used while you're up and moving around, and carries risk of complication if used while sleeping or reclining for extended periods.
When else should you remove your compression wear?
While compression sleeves offer many benefits, knowing when not to use them is also important. For example, we've established that you shouldn't wear compression sleeves when lying down for long periods or sleeping, unless the compression is light or non-medical grade like Nufabrx HealthWear®.
You also should not wear compression sleeves on open wounds or irritated skin. If you notice skin irritation developing from wearing your compression sleeves, remove them immediately and do not continue wearing them until your skin heals.
Additionally, if you wear your compression sleeve daily, especially while exercising, it's important to wash it regularly to keep it clean. Follow your compression wear manufacturer's instructions to avoid damaging your compression sleeves in the wash. Most brands recommend air drying them or laying the garments flat to dry. Putting them in the dryer might cause them to shrink or compromise their compressive strength.
Is compression wear right for me?
If you’re experiencing aches and pains, compression wear can help. Nufabrx HealthWear® combines the benefits of gentle compression with the pain-relieving power of capsaicin. The infused medicine is activated upon contact and lasts for 15+ washes for an estimated cumulative wear time of 150+ hours. Shop the 2023 Nufabrx HealthWear®collection of pain relieving compression sleeves here.