Basketball players wear compression sleeves on their wrists, elbows, and knees. These fabrics help the body in different ways, such as increasing blood flow and flexibility to a specific body part.
Understanding the reasons for wearing these sleeves will help you understand their importance. Here, we dissect each type of sleeve to know the different advantages they bring to basketball players, particularly to athletes in the NBA.
Before knowing the answers to why do NBA players wear compression sleeves, let’s first take a look at these pieces of clothing in detail.
Compression fabrics generally have constructions made of varying percentages of elastane or more commonly known as Spandex. The material offers a suitable level of compression to a particular area of the wearer’s body. This pressure is dependent on different factors, including the garment’s size, design, and body part.
Some compression sleeve manufacturers combine Spandex with other materials like polyester and nylon. These additional components promote extra benefits to the fabric, such as enhanced flexibility and durability. Further, polyester and nylon are reasonably lightweight materials. Wearing these airy fabrics may not hinder the athletic performance of the wearer.
Noteworthy compression sleeve brands, such as CEP and 2XU, use Spandex that’s generally 8% to 25% of the entire fabric. The combination of components is seamless, thanks to distinct manufacturing techniques like flatlock, heat bonding, and ultrasonic welding.
Athletes wearing compression sleeves may enjoy different benefits, such as increased circulation and oxygenation to a specific body part. In turn, the fabric provides that specific location with increased muscle recovery times while helping tired and injured muscles heal faster than average.
Why do NBA Players Wear Arm Sleeves?
Many NBA players wear arm sleeves. But, some players wear compression sleeves only on one arm. Further, these athletes wear the sleeve on their non-shooting arms. So, you might be wondering, why do basketball players wear one sleeve instead of two? Also, why do NBA players wear shooting sleeves, even if these apparels are on the non-shooting arm?
Kindly note that the non-shooting arm isn’t useless. Some players like to use their non-dominant arm for other purposes, such as passing, blocking, and rebounding. However, it’s also for this reason that the non-shooting arm becomes prone to accidents and injuries.
Once injured or in pain, the performance level of that basketball player drops. For example, a professional NBA athlete would have more difficulties than usual to catch incoming balls passed to him by a teammate. If that player fumbles the ball, it’s like giving a free point to the opposing team.
Hence, NBA players wear arm sleeves to help them maintain optimal performance of their hands despite injuries. Furthermore, other benefits of wearing arm sleeves while playing basketball include:
1. Maintain Arm Flexibility
Arm compression sleeves warm up the muscles, allowing players to maintain flexibility. Shooting with a stiff arm is difficult and would increase the chances of a failed shot. Further, using the arm while it’s still stiff increases the risks of injury. Players understand the importance of maintaining optimal well-being, which includes keeping the arms away from potential injuries.
Several incidents can happen on the basketball court. For instance, opposing players can graze your arm while they’re blocking the path of an optimal pass.
Scratches might not look as painful as other injuries like a knee sprain, but it can still be quite painful. In some cases, shallow wounds tend to be more painful than serious injuries. The damaged area has nerve endings, which send signals to the brain’s pain threshold.
With arm sleeves, the chances of these seemingly shallow cuts and scratches happening are reasonably low. In turn, players can focus on their games than trying to multi-task in attempting to brush the pain aside.
Arm compression sleeves can also serve as fashion statements. Basketball players that wear these apparel generally look cool and trendy. NBA players may also look like veterans of the basketball court, even if it’s their first game from being drafted.
Aside from the standard arm sleeve, some NBA players like to wear arm compression sleeves with extra padding on their elbows. These elbow compression sleeves provide additional protection to the elbow, ideal for players that may have habits that jut their elbows far from their bodies.
Why do NBA Players Wear Finger Sleeves?
NBA players tend to wear finger sleeves to reduce the pain and swelling from injuries. Although it might not be immediately apparent, basketball players use their fingers for numerous reasons like shooting, passing, and catching. Without finger sleeves, basketball players may have high chances of fumbling balls, causing their teams to lose valuable points.
But, it’s essential to choose the correct finger sleeve for basketball. Here are some factors to consider when buying finger compression sleeves:
1. Online Reviews
Like buying relatively any product on the market, it’s essential to know other people’s opinions and experiences about specific items, including basketball finger sleeves. Albeit it might sound negative, but one customer’s adverse experience about a particular finger sleeve is your treasure. Reading online reviews alloy you gaze into that individual’s experience so you now know that you should stay away from purchasing that item.
Finger sleeves for basketball players come in different sizes. Hence, it’s crucial to purchase the correct size for your fingers.
Buy sleeves that are too small for your fingers, and you risk suffocating those body parts. But, if the sleeves are too large, they’ll most likely fall off during games.
Trustworthy online retailers tend to offer measuring guides for their customers to help you gauge the size of your fingers correctly. If you’re not buying online, consider asking the salesperson of a local sports shop to help measure your fingers.
3. Durability and Flexibility
Perhaps the last thing you’d want for your finger sleeve is for the material to tear in the middle of a game. Therefore, consider investing in durable and flexible finger sleeves, even if these products might cost more than others. You might shell out more money than intended, but high-quality sleeves tend to last longer than their low-quality counterparts.
Why do NBA Players Wear Knee Sleeves?
Ask different NBA players why they’re wearing knee and leg sleeves, and you should gain answers within the lines of using these apparels for preventive measures. Other basketball players might be wearing knee sleeves because the fabrics look nice.
One widespread benefit of wearing compression knee sleeves for basketball is to enhance the blood flow to the lower body. The fabrics squeeze the areas around the knees, promoting additional oxygenated blood flow to the muscles. In turn, players may reap other benefits, such as reduced heart rates for better and more energetic athletic performances.
Other advantages of wearing knee sleeves include:
1. Sweat Absorption
Sweat dripping to the knees can be an annoying experience. Players that don’t want to deal with this cumbersome scenario can wear knee compression sleeves.
Reliable knee sleeves can help absorb significant amounts of excess sweat during sports. The skin dries quickly, leaving athletes to feel as comfortable as possible throughout matches.
2. Support Sprains and Strains
Knee sprains and strains tend to happen in relatively any sport. But, these injuries generally happen in more physically-demanding activities, such as, of course, basketball. Wearing knee sleeves may help reduce the pain and swelling from these injuries.
Keep in mind that a sprain is different from a strain. A sprain happens when a ligament overstretches, causing sharp pains that may hinder the person from doing standard functions, such as walking and jumping.
A strain, on the other hand, is a stretched tendon. It might not sound as painful as a sprain. But, overworking the strained knee might lead to permanent damage.
Basketball players with knee sprains or strains should wear compression sleeves. The fabric may help mitigate the pain and swelling from these issues. In turn, these athletes may continue playing, but only upon the permission and supervision of their doctors.
3. Reduce Muscle Recovery Time
Finally, knee sleeves help NBA players to hasten the recovery process of their hurt knees. Keep in mind that hurt or stressed muscles may require time and rest to heal properly.
According to a publishing from The University of Mexico called Recovery in Training: The Essential Ingredient, the researchers state that recovery is:
Furthermore, the study dictates that the factors to an excellent recovery include:
If these processes take too long, basketball players, including professional NBA athletes, might not be at peak health during practice or official matches. But, wearing knee sleeves may help speed up these processes, providing faster muscle recovery. In turn, NBA players can last longer on the court than sitting on the bench for most of the match.
Are There Disadvantages to Using Compression Sleeves?
The positives of wearing compression sleeves for basketball or other sports outweigh the negatives. Still, some potential adverse experiences may surface. But, these negative scenarios may depend on the compression sleeve. Hence, low-quality sleeves tend to deliver more shortcomings than high-quality models.
Here are some possible drawbacks of wearing compression sleeves you should consider:
It’s possible to buy compression sleeves for as low as $15 on the market. These variants may not offer the best durability and flexibility, but they’re still ideal for people following a strict budget.
With that said, most inexpensive compression sleeves don’t last long. You may use them for a few weeks. But, expect the compression and overall quality of the material to deteriorate quickly. If you’re looking for long-term use, it’s better to spend about $40, $60, or more on high-quality compression sleeves.
Furthermore, if you’re serious about this sport, consider spending the extra cash to buy high-quality sleeves. Perhaps the decision to buy these more expensive models might be easier if you already invested in other basketball-related items, like an indoor court.
This specific drawback surfaces when users wear the ill-fitting compression sleeves. For instance, wearing compression fabric that is too tight may restrict blood flow instead of improving it. In turn, body parts, such as the arms and legs, become sore and swollen during and after use.
A 2007 study reveals that misusing compression stockings may cause peripheral nerve damage. Thus, it’s best to follow instructions correctly and avoid wearing improperly-fitting sleeves.
Some people might not be too keen on wearing compression sleeves because the materials used in creating these products cause allergic reactions. Hence, it’s critical to consult your doctor if you’re unsure if a particular compression sleeve is safe to wear or not.
One condition to note in this regard is textile dermatitis. This issue produces rashes on the skin when the flesh comes in close contact with synthetic fabrics like rubber, nylon, polyester, and Spandex. In some cases, the dyes used in producing the fabrics are the culprits of allergic reactions.
Once again, it’s crucial to consult a doctor to see if a specific compression sleeve is safe to use or not. Otherwise, consider doing a spot test; ask the salesperson of a local sports store to let you check the sleeve. If you don’t feel tingling or itching sensations on your hands, the product might be safe to use.
4. Chafing or Bruising
Some users, especially those with dry skin, may experience chafing or bruising when wearing compression sleeves. Dry skin may rub against the fabric, causing pain and discomfort. However, it’s possible to reduce the intensity of this issue by wearing properly-fitting sleeves.
Final Words – Basketball Players Wearing Sleeves
Many basketball players, especially in the NBA, wear different compression sleeves in various body parts. These athletes wear the sleeves in areas like the arms, fingers, and legs.
Wearing compression sleeves promote advantages like improved blood flow and faster muscle recovery. Plus, some of these sleeves look cool with their distinct designs.
Still, some sleeves may also have drawbacks. Users may experience allergy attacks, chafing, or discomfort while wearing compression sleeves. It’s best to ask a doctor before purchasing these apparels to check if the material is safe for use.