Are Knee Sleeves Good For Running?

Written By on May 19, 2020 — Medically Reviewed By Kristopher Ceniza

Written by on — Medically Reviewed By: Kristopher Cenzia

Are Knee Sleeves Good For Running

Are you a regular runner? If yes, then you must be aware of the impact running has on your knees. You may have noticed niggling in your knee, or you may have even suffered through episodes of knee pain.

Such problems are not isolated to you or your body type; in fact, fifty percent of the runners go through knee-related injuries. 1

To aid in the prevention of knee injuries and hasten the recovery from them, medical and fitness companies have introduced knee support sleeves and braces. However, are knee sleeves good for running and keeping you injury-free?

Runners Knee

Running can be associated with excessive stress on the knee, especially the cartilage. This leads to the cartilage becoming looser and softer, leading to injuries around the knee.

One of the common symptoms seen in runners, who run quite long miles, is called runner’s knee and has a medical name called patellofemoral friction syndrome. It is due to the softening of the cartilage around the knee, but also due to irritation of the soft tissues.

As you flex and extend your knee, the kneecap can be catching on the edge of the femur, along with some of the soft tissue structures.

This happens due to the repetitive nature of running, especially if you do this every day without giving your knee a break.

If you start to develop the problem, you need to diagnose it first of all and then rest, ice and elevate the knee to allow the knee to settle down.

What Are Knee Sleeves

This may seem like a basic query but many people do not know about the difference between various knee supports in the market. There are knee sleeves, knee wraps, and knee braces.

Knee sleeves are a form of compression support made from a stretchy and sturdy material. The most popular material being neoprene.

You can wear a neoprene knee sleeve just by pulling up through your foot, similar to how you would wear a sock.

Knee sleeves are basic prevention and protection support. For more serious knee injuries, you should refer to a doctor and opt for a knee brace, which provides greater support.

Do Knee Sleeves Work

Now that we know what knee sleeves precisely are, the next important question is about their functionality.

There are various kinds of knee sleeves, with varying degrees of functionalities and performance executions.

The main functions provided by knee sleeves include:

man wearing knee sleeves for injury prevention, provides added support while you are running
  • Injury Prevention: Knee sleeves are made from compressible fabric that pushes against your body and provides added support while you are running. Due to neoprene’s special material properties, it can provide a very high amount of pressure density to support your knee joints.Repetitive running motion can put a lot of stress on your knee ligaments, which leads to the runner’s knee. Knee sleeves tone down the load on your ligaments, which leads to injury prevention. Your knee is also protected from micro traumas and tears, which might otherwise lead to greater injuries.
Man sitting on a bench wearing knee sleeves for injury recovery, helpful in subsidizing pain and in providing support while you are recovering
  • Injury Recovery: Even if you are not running due to a knee injury, these sleeves are helpful in subsidizing pain and in providing support while you are recovering.With knee sleeves on, you can do light to moderate exercises, which allow your leg muscles to be conditioned and have good health.
Girl running at the park wearing best knee sleeves for running, In order to prevent cramp and stiffness in the legs, the legs should be provided with a flow of oxygen-carrying blood
  • Circulation: Runners spend a lot of energy while completing their course. This stands true for competitive as well as leisure running. In order to prevent cramp and stiffness in the legs, the legs should be provided with a flow of oxygen-carrying blood.Due to their compressive nature, knee sleeves also keep the knee region warm and this allows for more blood to flow through your patella and ligaments.With more oxygen-carrying blood coming to your knee, the muscles do not fatigue and allow you to carry (even improve) your performance.Without the knee sleeves, you may put your leg muscles at the risk of injury due to daily cramping and fatigue.Similarly, any existing injury shows a faster recovery and the pain in the region also lowers substantially due to the rapid supply of oxygen. This is a reason why people suffering from chronic knee pain often opt to keep their knee sleeves on for a large part of their day.
Woman running wearing knee sleeves for proprioception
  • Proprioception: When your knee is injured, it is unable to send proper feedback to your brain about how and when it’s moving.By using compression knee sleeves, the knee sensors are able to perform better in most cases and this leads to the prevention of greater injuries.
Man running in heat and exhausted,  that can be controlled by wearing a pair of high quality knee sleeves, which come with breathable fabric
  • Temperature Control: When you are running, your legs heat up and produce a lot of sweat. This can be controlled by wearing a pair of high-quality knee sleeves, which come with breathable fabric.Through this, the knee sleeves will keep your muscles at an optimum temperature and also make running more comfortable for you.Some knee sleeves also come with anti-microbial properties that hasten the dissipation of sweat and prevent bacterial growth. All these tiny improvements can lead to better performance on your track.

Is It Good To Wear Knee Support While Running

Are knee compression sleeves good for running? Considering the mentioned functions in the last section, it is clear that you are better off wearing them than running without them.

Along with knee sleeves, it is also very important to make sure that you are running with high-quality shoes and maintain correct mosture throughout the body’s range of motion.

A bad posture while running can really be damaging to your knees, neck and back in the long term.

Knee sleeves are worn by professional and amateur athletes, globally, in sports such as football, tennis, lifting and running. (Note how all these sports require athletes to make use of their knee joints regularly),

How To Buy Knee Sleeves

There are many kinds of knee sleeves available in the market, with varying features and, some, even with gimmicks.

At Knee Force, we have a dedicated team that researches the best knee sleeves for running.

In our article for runners, you can search for the top knee sleeve choices you have and also learn how to purchase a pair of knee sleeves that is effective while running.

Conclusion – Knee Sleeves Help In Running

Many people mistaken knee sleeves as revolutionary support that will enhance your running performance overnight. This is expecting a little too much.

However, knee sleeves do make a critical difference in your ability to run regularly and for long distances.

By minimizing fatigue development in your muscles, preventing injuries from developing and boosting blood circulation, the knee sleeves will bring a decrease in any knee pain you have as well as get you tiny gains in your performances.

Mich Torres (PT)
Mitch is a physical therapist, personal trainer, and nutrition coach. Fascinated with the knee joint, Mitch poured that passion into writing about knee pain and how to overcome it with movement. His goal is to teach you how to apply this knowledge into your daily life, so you can keep knee pain away for good.