What is the Purpose of Calf Compression Sleeves?

what is the purpose of calf compression sleevesCompression sleeves are becoming all the more common these days with both professional and amateur athletes. You’ll probably have seen marathon runners or triathletes wearing them, for example, but if you are wondering “what is the purpose of calf compression sleeves”, then keep reading this article and we will explain everything you need to know about them.

What is a Calf Compression Sleeve?

A calf compression sleeve is a tight elasticated fabric tube that is worn around the lower leg to provide pressure and support to the area. They usually provide graduated compression, which provides a tighter feel around the lower end and less compression further up.

While scientific evidence is tricky to provide to support claims, the people who wear them find they greatly improve performance and recovery after exertion. They can also be very useful to people who have injured that particular area, which can affect the arteries, by encouraging greater blood flow.

What Does a Compression Sleeve Do?

Quite simply, a calf compression sleeve applies a pressure around the area it covers. This helps to loosen the muscles and increase blood flow. As a result wearers find that they are more efficient while using those muscles, experience less of a sore sensation after strenuous activity, and recover much faster than they otherwise would expect to.

This is mainly because of the higher amounts of oxygen that are being provided to the area. This, too, is what can assist people with injuries as quite often blood flow can be affected. By encouraging more flow and, therefore, oxygen, the compression sleeve can aid recovery and rehabilitation.

Most compression calf sleeves will have graduated compression, which provides a tighter pressure around lower areas like the ankles than the higher ones. This further helps push the blood that is further away back up towards the heart and lungs.

Calf Compression Sleeves Benefits

Wearing a calf compression sleeve can provide a number of benefits, which include:

Increased Circulation

A constant compression will cause the arterial walls to dilate, and this allows a greater volume of blood to pass through. The constrictive effect will also increase the speed at which blood travels, so more oxygen is provided to the area and the blood can return to the heart and lungs faster to continue the process.

It also allows the blood to remove waste materials more efficiently. This means you will be able to use the muscles for longer, strengthen them to help prevent future injury, recover much faster, and help with existing injuries.

Improved Recovery Time

Calf compression sleeves are able to help quicken the time it takes for your muscles to recover, and are really helpful with pre-existing injuries that have prevented the muscle from working as well as it used to. There are two effects you get from the compression that helps with this.

Applying pressure to muscles helps to loosen them and also increases the amount of blood that flows to them so a much larger quantity of oxygen and nutrients are made available. De-oxygenated blood and waste products are removed quicker too.

Loosening Muscles

The compression will loosen your muscles, which makes a massive difference in the way they feel after intensive activity. They won’t feel as sore while in use or while resting.

Temperature Control

By maintaining a good blood flow through the region, the temperature of your calf inside the sleeve will always be kept at a comfortable level no matter if you are running around outside in cold temperatures, or indoors in a warmer environment.


The sleeve provides an extra layer of protection on your leg and will prevent it from getting dirty when you’re doing a cross-country run, and prevent scrapes and scratches.

Other features of Calf Compression Sleeves

Depending on the brand and design of the calf compression sleeve you use, other benefits can be provided. They are all made from stretchy fabric, but can include:

  • Comfortable seamless designs that apply equal pressure around the entire area without having a weak point.
  • Temperature regulation material that further helps stay comfortable beyond the natural effect that other sleeves will provide
  • A moisture wicking formula that will remove sweat and liquid so you remain feeling fresh and dry
  • An anti-microbial treatment that will help prevent odors from developing

The Takeaway

Calf compression sleeves are being used more often by professional and amateur athletes and are also great for people who have suffered injuries and need to rehabilitate their lower legs. By applying a constant pressure, blood flow is significantly improved so performance increases and recovery times reduce.

What is the purpose of calf compression sleeves? Many people wonder just that after seeing them in sporting events. When they find out and try a pair, they often forget, and can’t imagine, what it was like without them.

Do you wear calf compression sleeves? Let us know by leaving a comment below!