Do Knee Sleeves Work or Not?

You are still asking “Do knee sleeves work?” Watch a game of pro basketball these days and you see many of the players wearing knee sleeves. Go to the gym and see people weight lifting with sleeves on both knees. Head over to the local walking track, and you see them.

Don’t get me wrong, knee sleeves do not work miracles and don’t guarantee you’ll be free from injuries. However, knee sleeves do definitely serve a purpose in the world of knees, one of the most vulnerable joints in the body.

The truth is knees are so vulnerable that research indicates that as much as 1/4 of the US population over 60 now has at least one replacement knee joint.

Do Knee Sleeves Work?

man pulling a knee sleeve over his knee
Knee Sleeves Work Due to Compression

Yes! Knee Sleeves Definitely Do Work. Let’s look at the two main ingredients of knee sleeves and see how they do work.

1. Compression

What makes knee sleeves work at all is the compression factor. Prior to knee sleeves, most of us know what an Ace Bandage is, right? Many times when a person sprained a wrist or an ankle a physician would advise them to apply an Ace Bandage to the area. The elasticity and the stretching and wrapping it around the joint applies compression to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

First of all, knee sleeves do a much better job than ace bandages wrapped around your knee could ever do, in most cases. And they are a sight easier to pull on your leg and up to your knee than wrapping. Not to mention, that quality knee sleeves are designed, engineered and tested to provide the perfect amount of compression to the joint and muscles.

Here’s the low down on the benefits of the compression of compression knee sleeves:

  • The gentle and continuous compression increases blood circulation which creates a natural warmth to the joint and surrounding area.
  • The increased warmth to the joint helps stimulate and create the synovial fluid that lubricates it, and the muscles that hold the joint together.
  • Start running a race, playing football, or pitching a game of baseball prior to warming cold muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and you take a change of serious injury. Without warming up the muscles before stressing them you are highly likely to tear or stretch something that causes pain and injury.
  • The compression of knee sleeves never take the place to pre game or exercise warm ups, but work to provide continuous warmth to avoid injury, aid in injury recovery and reduce pain.
  • Compression knee sleeves hold everything in place. Knees are constantly subjected to irregular twists and turns, especially when involved in athletics. Sleeves keep the patella (that is, the knee cap) firmly in place along with all the muscles that hold the leg bones in place.
  • Believe it or not, the gentle compression can alleviate a lot of painful and sore knee issues both before and after a workout. I have one knee with arthritis that hates spending a lot of time standing, and shouts out at me if I walk or run. But, with these sleeves, I can run, walk, and even spend a day following my wife through the mall.
  • Many people take sore and painful knees as normal after standing on their feet all day at work, playing sports or participating in athletic events. They think there’s nothing to do but endure the pain? The thing is that if it’s not something that needs medical attention, a good knee sleeve could alleviate the discomfort from minor sprains and fatigue.

2. Add Support

Knee sleeves add an unbelievable amount of support to the knee and leg. If you wear only one knee sleeve, there is a noticeable difference in the support of that knee and leg than the one without. Here’s why knee sleeves add add so much support:

The Tibia (that’s the shin bone) and the Femur ( the thigh bone) come together at the knee joint and depend on the joint for the flexibility it takes to stand, walk, run, etc. But the joint itself has no way to hold the upper and lower leg together. It takes muscles and tendons to hold them together. One reason knee sleeves work so well is that they wrap around those muscles and tendons and tend to hold everything in place as the joint endures countless twists and turns.

anatomy of the knee
anatomy of the knee includes a lot of delicate parts

The support of compression knee sleeves is highly relevant if you are:

  • Playing sports that involves your knees withstanding abnormal work and pressure
  • Squatting and standing with enormous amounts of weight on your shoulders as weight lifters do
  • Have arthritic knees that are sore and painful
  • Dealing with painful or swollen knees from overuse or injuries
a blue knee sleeve that works
Knee sleeves provide structural integrity to knees that otherwise be problematic.

What Are Knee Sleeves Made Of?

  • Cloth. What I call cloth sleeves are usually made of nylon, or some mixture of nylon and other materials. These knee sleeves provide compression, warmth, stability for activities like running, walking, and sports of all kinds. They work well for arthritic knees, and physicians sometimes prescribe them for after surgeries.
  • Neoprene. Neoprene sleeves are more rigid than cloth and provide more of everything cloth does. You buy neoprene sleeves in different thicknesses I.e., 3mm, 5mm, and 7mm.

If you need more support and are not participating in athletic events the cloth sleeves are usually more comfortable for wearing all day than the neoprene. Sizing for the correct fit is highly important to supply the right amount of compression. Walkers and runners rely on moderate compression, whereas weightlifters often buy smaller sizes than they need to increase the compression.


Still asking, “Do knee sleeves work?” Yes, knee sleeves work safely to provide gentle or harsher compression (depending on the use) to one of the most vulnerable joints in the human body. The compression can make walking on sore or injured joints much more pleasant, and sometimes even allow you to be mobile when you weren’t before.

They can help protect your knees from injury in high-stress situations and make standing on your feet all day at work easier on your entire body. So, I would say yes they work for what they are designed to do.

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