Do compression sleeves work?
Compression sleeves, compression socks... whatever you want to call them! If you're a runner, you undoubtedly have come into contact with someone who wears compression sleeves as part of their running and recovery. Some brands and runners go as far as saying they will support your recovery from shin splints. But do they actually help?
Evidence from Clinical Study:
Widely considered one of the top research groups into shin splints ("medial tibial stress syndrome"), Moen et al. are based at the University of Amsterdam. Moen at the team went as far as conducting a randomized controlled trial, comparing the use of calf compression sleeves in treatment compared to placebo . The result? No effect.
In research, calf compression sleeves are widely considered to have no effect on the treatment of shin splints. We even used a calf compression sleeve variant as the placebo in the clinical trial of the Solushin® (which is shown clinically to treat medial tibial stress syndrome). What happened in our double-blinded randomized controlled trial? The placebo group saw no notable pain severity changes, while the Solushin® group, who utilized our patented Counter-Traction Technology™, effectively treated the injury.
If you feel like your shins are experiencing less pain - awesome. I think there is some merit for pain desensitization when wearing compression sleeves when running. If you apply constant pressure to pain, your brain learns to switch it off. However, if you'd like to run pain-free without their assistance, they aren't a suitable treatment. Consider alternatives like the Solushin® and chat with your treatment provider. In addition, we addressed whether or not compression sleeves have other benefits in this article. Wishing you well!
About the author:
Ben Lindsay is the Managing Director and engineer behind the Solushin medical device. A former national medalist swimmer, Ben aspires to learn from physicians, physiotherapists and podiatrists so he can develop tools to improve the quality of care for their patients.