How Do I Choose the Best Shin Splint Compression Sleeve?

People may get shin splints from running.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Shin splints can be caused by a variety of conditions, and they usually occur in active people — especially runners or people who participate in running sports. One way to help alleviate some of the pain from shin splints and prevent them from occurring in the future is to buy a compression sleeve, which is a tight-fitting fabric that fits snugly around the lower legs. When choosing a shin splint compression sleeve, it is important to consider the size of the sleeve, the cost, and the materials from which the sleeve is made.

One material that is commonly used for these sleeves is neoprene, which fits very tightly and performs the function of the sleeve well. This material does not breathe especially well, however, which means the leg may begin to sweat profusely, leading to discomfort, overheating, or even a lowering of body temperature. Other, thinner synthetic materials such as Lycra® can be used instead to provide the same support without sacrificing breathability, which means that the garment is capable of transferring moisture away from the skin to keep the skin dry.

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When choosing a shin splint compression sleeve, be sure to test whether the sleeve can be worn underneath socks and shoes. Some are bulky enough to interfere with other clothing, while others are thin and will not interfere. Choose the most comfortable sleeve that will not bunch up or cause discomfort when worn. Try to also choose one that is adjustable: many sleeves feature hook and loop fasteners to allow the user to tighten or loosen the sleeve as necessary. It also makes adjustments during athletic activities much simpler.

The sleeve needs to fit very tightly in order to be effective, but if it is too tight, it may restrict blood flow. The sleeve is designed to support the muscles in the leg and prevent injury or strain, and it should also stimulate blood flow, thereby delivering more oxygen to the muscles. It can help reduce or prevent swelling and fluid build-up in the lower legs, which may lead to shin splints. Choosing a sleeve that fits tightly is important, but remember that when you put the sleeve on, the seams may split from the pressure. An adjustable sleeve will prevent this by allowing you to put the sleeve on and then tighten it, rather than trying to shove your foot through the small, tight sleeve with no adjustment.

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Discuss this Article

pleonasm
Post 3

@Fa5t3r - Go to a doctor or a personal trainer or someone like that, sure, but make sure you take what they say with a grain of salt. Exercise science and best practices change all the time and there's no telling whether even a doctor actually knows what they are talking about.

I would read a whole bunch of shin splint compression sleeve reviews and, if possible, try a range of them to see how it goes and if it works, then that's fantastic and if it doesn't, oh well at least you tried.

Fa5t3r
Post 2

@clintflint - That's just in your experience though. What I know is that it's very difficult for anyone to really change their technique when running, particularly if they aren't running professionally. People just run the way they run.

And if compression sleeves for running will help them to run pain-free then I say they should go for it.

I do think that it's the kind of thing you want to run by a fitness expert or a doctor first, just to make sure though. You don't want to accidentally make the problem worse.

clintflint
Post 1

I'm not a huge fan of this kind of thing. I think most of the time shin splits are caused by bad shoes, bad technique or weak muscles and you should treat the cause, not the symptoms.

Bad shoes always tend to do it for me. In fact I can tell when a shoe is starting to wear out, because I'll start getting pain in the shins again. You have to go and get a diagnosis at a reputable shoe store, so that you know how your foot works. I over-pronate, and I suspect that's what causes the shin splits, because whenever I had shoes that correct it, they go away.

Weak muscles and bad techniques can be fixed by doing some research and being vigilant, although I do think that it's got more to do with the shoes than anything.

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