There are a lot of competing claims out there when it comes to medicine and fitness, particularly when you take a look at what is out there in the field of exercise science. It shouldn’t be any surprise, then, that even something as simple as a compression garment could be controversial. The main reason for this is because of outsized claims about what benefits they bring and who should be using them. When you understand how compression garments are meant to benefit you, though, you will see how they will be able to benefit your health and help you when you need to recover from injuries.
Uses for Compression Garments
The first thing to understand is that compression garments are not meant for every person or for every situation. They work by applying pressure that helps increase blood flow to the muscles, which is useful for a variety of conditions. A pressure garment can lend support for injury sites after a trauma, and it is also highly useful as a support structure following certain surgeries too.
Outside of immediate uses as a first aid item or for surgical aftercare, pressure garments can also help reduce soreness and downtime after a workout. They’re regularly recommended for those suffering from lymphedema, too, and can be prescribed to diabetes patients and others who struggle with numbness and tolerance to cold due to neuropathy. This makes a support garment essential for many patients with a variety of different medical conditions, including varicose veins.
Why Compression Garments Work
Compression garments work because they are designed to increase blood flow, making it easier for your muscles to have the oxygen then need and encouraging other health benefits that come with good circulation. The trick is that they do not compress all tissue uniformly. Instead, the pressure is tightest in your extremities and it loosens are your limb moves toward your body. This helps to make sure there are no points of constriction that would work against the goals of the garment. The result is better blood flow, which means faster healing, more sensation, and better control over your legs.
Should You Use a Compression Garment Regularly?
The regular, daily use of medical devices like compression garments should only be undertaken when under the supervision of a doctor, but short term uses for them as a treatment for minor traumas, aches, and sprains is safe, effective, and often the best first aid before you consult a doctor. They are also safe for short-term use after workouts, to treat the regular aches and fatigue that can come with pushing oneself. If you think you need to use it more regularly, then the best thing to do is to talk to your doctor. That way, you can get advice about the right compression level and fit for your condition, which will make your eventual choice of pressure garment even more effective.
If you’d like to discover even more about the science of compression garments, check out this handy infographic to get started.