The terms "tight" and "compression" go hand-in-hand, yet one of the most significant complaints people issue when starting to wear compression sleeves for the first time, is that they feel they're "too tight" to be comfortable. Wondering "how tight should compression sleeves be?" can lead to a complicated set of considerations. After all, it's crucial for your compression wear to be tight enough to properly stimulate blood flow and reduce swelling, but not so tight that they cause pain or discomfort.
While it would be useless for your calf compression sleeves to be loose-fitting, it's important to remember that the squeezing or pressure you feel shouldn't go too far. Compression sleeves must, by their very nature, be tight - but they shouldn't cause any damage or leave you feeling as though you can't wear them either.
Understanding Compression Levels
To answer the question: "How tight should calf compression sleeves be?" we first need to note the construction of these pieces of apparel. Compression sleeves are designed to provide graduated compression, which means they should feel tighter around the calves where the compression level is highest. As the length of the sleeve progresses up the calf towards the knee, the tightness will lessen as the compression decreases. In other words, if you are concerned that your sleeves are tighter towards the ankle - don't be, that is completely natural.
What's more, it's important to note that the pressure imposed by compression sleeves can be particularly noteworthy when taking them on and off. Try to avoid rushing the process by pulling the sleeves too quickly, and instead dedicate some time and patience to applying your new performance-boosting apparel.
How Tight Should Compression Sleeves be?
Overall, this is a difficult question to answer, because compression sleeves come with different levels of compression, and therefore varying degrees of tightness. It's also a matter of personal comfort. While your stockings may feel uncomfortable to you, they may be perfect for someone else with the exact same build. Just as people have different tolerances for things like temperature and pain, individuals can differ when it comes to perceiving compression as too loose, or too tight.
A good rule of thumb when checking if your sleeves are too tight, is to note any of the following symptoms:
- The sleeves pinch your skin
- Your legs show discoloration or feel numb
- You feel as though you're in pain
- You find it difficult to run and move properly
What Can You Do if Your Compression Sleeves are too Tight?
If you believe that your compression sleeves are too tight, start by ensuring they are sized properly for your calves. You may find that you simply need to swap your sleeves for another set because of a mistake made with sizing. If you've previously taken your measurements for calf compression sleeves, take them again and consult a number of different resources for appropriate sizing to ensure you're using the correct numbers.Make sure that you don't cut holes into your compression sleeves to release pressure, or buy numerous packages in different sizes. The right way to progress is to find a correct size that fits you properly - don't just guess!