Recover from Injuries Faster with Compression Technology
Whether you're a runner, weightlifter, basketball player, swimmer, or any other kind of athlete, you've probably dealt with an injury at one point. It might be minor like a twisted ankle or some muscle pain, or it could be more serious — either way, competitors know that there's nothing worse than being kept on the sidelines while you recover, which is why they do their best to avoid injuries and treat them quickly. You may have heard that one proven method is with compression, but you may also be wondering: how does compression help an injury?
You've likely seen compression clothing on fellow gym goers or sportspersons, and you may even have some compression gear in your own closet. That's a great start, but next, you need to understand why compression is good for injuries (as well as preventing them) by reducing pain, fatigue, and stiffness as well as the best way to apply the therapy.
Compression Wear for Injury Prevention
Compression apparel is designed to help recover from existing injuries, ranging from elbow pain to Achilles injuries, but the gear can also play a role in preventing these injuries from occurring in the first place by aiding recovery. From sleeves to socks, compression wear can be worn during and after exercise to help improve blood flow, and encouraging fluid movement in the body means getting rid of waste products from exercise. Therefore, muscles will get more oxygen and recover more quickly.
When should you wear compression gear?
Compression sleeves, compression socks, compression tights, and other compression apparel is commonly worn during exercise to increase blood flow and oxygen delivery while also providing stability. Compression clothing can also enhance body awareness during exercise, which is helpful when recovering from an injury or when experiencing pain in a certain area of the body.
Athletes also wear compression apparel following their workouts to aid with recovery. This method can help minimize inflammation and swelling, which can cause pain, as well as decrease the buildup of fluids.
Some also wear compression clothing when sitting for prolonged periods, such as a long car ride or plane trip. Compression socks, in particular, can help prevent blood clots from immobility by stimulating circulation as well as reducing swelling and leg fatigue.
Compression Support for Joints During Workouts
Knees, elbows, ankles, shoulders, and other joints go through a lot of stress during sports and workouts, and compression support can help alleviate joint pain because of an increase in stability — and some theorize that the heat from wearing a sleeve or other compression piece is also a benefit.
Compression Support for Muscles During Workouts
Compression around muscles helps blood flow, bringing oxygen-rich blood to the muscles while removing waste products from building up, resulting in a faster recovery. Many researchers also believe that compression might reduce muscle vibrations, resulting in improved muscle control and a better workout.
How Compression Helps Reduce Swelling After an Injury
Swelling is a common occurrence after an injury occurs, and that's because of an increase of fluid and white blood cells to the area via blood flow, all part of the body's natural healing process. The pain often associated with an injury is the nerves being affected by the extra fluid, as well as a reminder from your body to protect the injured area from further damage.
Compression technology for swelling
Rest, ice, and elevation are all important to reduce swelling in addition to compression gear, which assists in increasing blood flow to the injured area. This will reduce the buildup of fluid and bring healthy white blood cells to the area to assist with healing.
How Compression Gear Helps Support An Injury
In addition to preventing injuries and helping speed up recovery, compression apparel can help support both short-term and long-term injuries. If you're feeling pain or experiencing inflammation in a muscle, tendon, or ligament, such as a rolled ankle or knee sprain, compression provides support and reduces swelling to aid healing. If you had surgery on a body part, compression can help you stabilize joints while working out and may reduce pain and fatigue.
The importance of proper support
Support from compression sleeves or other compression apparel can help aid in your recovery. Whether you're slowly returning to the gym or simply running errands around the house, compression gear helps you perform those tasks with some extra stability to prevent further injury. It also reduces swelling, pain, and stiffness when used correctly.
Types of compression wear that provides support
Depending on what areas of your body are injury-prone, there is a wide variety of compression apparel on the market. Compression sleeves for knees are a common choice, allowing wearers to stay comfortable on the move with added support and stability, and a similar option is available for elbows. Compression shorts and pants are structurally designed to enhance blood circulation and oxygenation, reducing muscle fatigue and distress that can lead to injuries.
Outside injury prevention and recovery-driven compression clothing, compression sports bras are important to reduce movement (which can lead to pain, especially in the back and shoulders) while working out. Meanwhile, compression socks are a popular item for athletes and others, especially when sitting for prolonged periods of time such as traveling.
What are The Benefits of Compression Technology for Injury?
By reducing swelling and providing support, compression clothing reduces pain by increasing blood flow, especially in the recovery stage.
Compression gear helps to eliminate swelling that comes from working out or injury by improving the active oxygenated blood flow around the body from the heart and removing the lactic acid that comes from exercise.
The tight fit of compression apparel — gear should be snug without cutting off circulation, and you should feel like you have a full range of motion — helps improve blood flow. That means it fights off lactic acid and the resulting soreness.
Faster recovery time
Compressing the blood vessels in the body helps them pump blood more efficiently. Therefore, you can reduce the buildup of waste fluid and bring white blood cells to the area, improving healing time after physical activity.
Compression Wear Best Practices for A Fast Recovery
While compression gear can help prevent injuries and aid in recovery, it has to be applied correctly for maximum support. Fit is a big factor — pieces should be snug without being too tight, indicated by feeling a lack of circulation (symptoms include numbness or a cold feeling of the area) or not having a full range of motion.
Choosing the right compression garment
Use the manufacturer's sizing guides and measure correctly when choosing socks, sleeves, shorts, pants, bras, or other compression gear. Wearing too-tight apparel will be uncomfortable and constricting, while too-loose clothing will not provide proper stability.
How long should you wear compression gear?
Compression clothing can be tight, and you shouldn't wear pieces that are incredibly uncomfortable. While there is no time limit on wearing compression gear, wearing snug clothing too long can lead to issues such as skin fungus. If you feel constricted at all, change into something looser following your workout or recovery period, and see a doctor if you develop any infections, rashes, or other symptoms you suspect might be related. And even if you feel the compression is working, give yourself a break every 12 hours or so.
Not a replacement for proper rehabilitation
While compression technology can help aid in recovery and prevent injuries, it's not a replacement for medical treatment such as medication or sugery. If you are feeling prolonged pain, fatigue, or soreness, see a doctor to get to the bottom of your injury.
Compression clothing is a vital part of any athlete's closet. Preventing injury by adding extra stability and support means you can continue to do what you love without breaks for pain or fatigue. And with so many options available, you can also find something that's stylish and functional.
CW-X has a range of products — including compression sleeves for both men and women — featuring patented EXO-WEB technology, which mimics kinesiology-taping techniques that trainers apply to injured muscles. When this technology is applied to muscles and joints, it creates an exoskeletal support system that improves biomechanics while in motion. These are especially great for injury and recovery, no matter the activity.