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If you’ve watched any football lately, you likely saw players wearing arm sleeves. Also known as compression sleeves, they’ve grown in popularity in recent years. Athletes in many sports leagues wear them due to their health benefits, aiding in a player’s recovery and enhancing performance.

But arm sleeves are not the only item that NFL players utilize in order to help with performance and aid recovery. Here’s everything you need to know about compression sleeves and more.

What are the health benefits of compression arm sleeves?

There are a number of benefits to using compression arm sleeves. They’ve have been around for decades but are now becoming more commonplace among pro athletes. Here are some of the most important benefits as the sleeves relate to health and safety:

Proper circulation

Compression sleeves help athletes get better circulation to a certain area of their body.

Controlling body temperature

Compression sleeves act as a layer that moderates the body’s temperature more regularly.

Skin protection

Compression sleeves protect skin from small things like scratches and bumps as well as big concerns like providing UV protection from the sun.


When muscles become sore post-exercise, sleeves help the muscles recover more quickly, allowing deoxygenated blood to more quickly circulate back to the heart, aiding in overall recovery.

Preventing muscle soreness

Wearing compression sleeves helps to prevent muscle tightness and soreness by loosening the muscles so they don’t hurt during a performance or while healing.

Do compression sleeves work?

Several studies show that compression sleeves can improve blood flow, reduce soreness, and lessen recovery time. So it does seem like the sleeves work for at least some of the benefits.

Other benefits of arm sleeves

The health benefits of wearing compression sleeves are part of why athletes wear them, but there are also cosmetic benefits. Some athletes wear the sleeves to cover up tattoos that may be considered inappropriate or offensive.

Former NBA player Allen Iverson was one of the first mainstream athletes to popularize wearing arm sleeves. He reportedly had to wear one in order to cover up a tattoo on his arm while he was on the court.

Another reason athletes wear the sleeves is because they just think the sleeves look cool. NFL players looking to add flair to their style may wear the sleeves, especially if the players think the sleeves complement their team’s colors.

Another fad that may help athletic performance

Compression sleeves may be the most popular fad for NFL players’ performance and recovery, but they’re not the only item used for that purpose. Physio tape is another popular way pro athletes try to improve their play.

Also called kinesiology tape, physio tape is a thin, light, and stretchy fabric that’s believed to improve athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury better than traditional athletic tape. Physio tape does this by amplifying proprioception, the sense of where one’s limbs are positioned.

Some people believe physio tape also speeds up the healing process by lifting the skin away from injured or sore tissues. This may improve blood flow and support injured muscles and joints without impeding range of motion.

There isn’t much scientific evidence to support the claims people make about the benefits of physio tape. There may be a placebo effect.

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