Are Compression Sleeves Dangerous?

Are compression sleeves dangerous

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Are you one of those who ask if wearing compression sleeves can be dangerous? Don’t fret because you are not alone. Indeed, more and more people are wearing compression sleeves nowadays for several reasons. Some wear compression sleeves to protect themselves at sporting events like basketball, running, or golf.

Others wear them to help in weight loss, relieve pain in injury, or treat lymphedema. Still, some use compression sleeves to tone up arms or protect themselves from harmful UV rays. Yet, there are instances when wearing compression fabrics can do more harm than good.

Are compression sleeves dangerous? Yes, they are harmful to people suffering from several medical conditions such as allergies, cellulitis, peripheral neuropathy, congestive heart failure, acute arm ischemia, diabetes, and complications of arterial insufficiency. Runners who wear improperly fit or pressured compression sleeves also run the risk of muscle or joint swelling and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

This article does not contain any product recommendations. If you are interested in purchasing slimming arm sleeves, here’s our buying guide with products.

In this article, you will know when compression sleeves can be proven to be dangerous. We will also explain when not to wear compression sleeves and how wearing compression fabrics can be harmful to people suffering from arterial insufficiency. Runners who participate in marathons or long races improperly wearing compression sleeves may experience pain and swelling due to irregular pressure applied to the muscular arms. Read on to know more about the harm that wearing compression sleeves can do to you.

We are not doctors or related to any medical institution. Also, we do not partake in any particular opinion. We recommend that you get in touch with a medical professional such as a cardiologist if you are suffering from cardiovascular diseases. If you are an athlete, talk with your trainer before wearing compression sleeves at play or during training.

Are compression sleeves dangerous

Image by TumisuOpens in a new tab. from PixabayOpens in a new tab.

Disclaimer: Compression garments with compression grades of 20 mmHg or higher need to be prescribed by a physician as they are commonly used to treat various medical conditions. On the other hand, compression garments with low compression levels can be purchased without a prescription at medical supply stores, drugstores, and online. They are called non-medical grade compression garments and have compression levels of around 15-20 mmHg.

When Can Compression Sleeves Be Dangerous?

Wearing compression sleeves can be dangerous for some who are suffering from certain medical conditions. So before wearing one, make sure to consult with your physician first. The following are three common conditions in which wearing compression garments on the arms may do more harm than good. Know these conditions and protect yourself from any harmful effects of wearing compression sleeves.

People Who Have Certain Types of Allergies

Some components of compression sleeves can cause allergic reactions to some people. Hypersensitivity to nylon, spandex, or both causes skin reactions such as redness and infection. It is especially true if your sweat mixes with the component of the garments. You can avoid allergies to these kinds of garments using a different type or brand of compression sleeves.

According to Dr. Thomas LaPortaOpens in a new tab., an orthopedic and sports medicine specialist in Fort Myers, compression garments can be the culprit for everything from skin issues – like infected hair follicles or rashes – to things like acid reflux and heartburn.

Those Who are Suffering from Cellulitis

Wearing compression sleeves for a long time can cause cellulitis, an infection caused by bacteria or staph. When left untreated or managed improperly, cellulitis can worsen and develop a disease in the skin tissues that cause fluid build-up. Compression garments worn too tight can exacerbate the infectionOpens in a new tab. and hasten the accumulation of fluids on the infected area.

Patients with Peripheral Neuropathy

When compression sleeves are worn too tight and for a long time, blood flow is restricted to areas where the garment is wrapped. As a result, nerves are damaged in the arms, legs, or feet, depending on where the fabric is tied. One way to resolve this issue is to ensure that the compression fabrics’ tightness is just right.

When Not to Wear Compression Sleeves

Aside from the medical conditions described above, wearing compression sleeves can be harmful. Some other illnesses and diseases can be exacerbated by donning compression garments.

If You are Suffering from Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure happens when the heart becomes too weak to supply the right amount of blood around the body, including the arms and the hands. Compression fabrics can worsen the condition by pushing the blood back to the heart from areas of compressed arms or legs. According to an Arizona Vein SpecialistOpens in a new tab., “it is possible that the compression stockings will force fluid back towards the already overloaded heart.”

If You Have Acute Arm Ischemia

Acute arm ischemia can result from restricted blood flow from the heart to the body’s upper limb area, especially when the blood vessels are compressed in the direction of the arms. Tightly worn compression sleeves can cut off the blood flow to the upper arms area and cause pain on the forearms, including the elbow and neck area.

Moreover, acute pain in the arm and shoulder area can be a sign of another serious condition known as myocardial ischemia. According to an article in Mayo ClinicOpens in a new tab., the severe strain on the neck, jaw, should and arm pains are the most common prelude to myocardial ischemia.

We have also written this article titled, do compression sleeves help slim arms? Check out the article for helpful information that you can use when researching garments that can help slim your arms.

If You Have Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that can trigger several other conditions like peripheral arterial disease and peripheral neuropathy. While compression therapy helps patients with diabetes improve their arms and legs’ blood circulation, wearing these fabrics too tightly can also contribute to blood clotting and delaying the healing process.

Compression Sleeves Can Be Dangerous to People with Arterial Insufficiency

Notwithstanding the benefits of wearing compression sleeves, people with arterial diseases are not advised to wear these kinds of fabrics.

The Threat of Ischemic Sclerosis

Wearing compression sleeves can contribute to the development of ischemic sclerosis or the death of bone tissues. It happens when a particular body region does not receive the necessary amount of blood and oxygen to survive and continue to grow. It is for this reason that sleeping with compression sleeves is not recommended.

Sudden Pulmonary Edema

In a report published at Mayo Clinic ProceedingsOpens in a new tab., the researchers explained that the use of compression garments “in patients at risk of myocardial ischemia, sudden onset of pulmonary edema is typically the result of left ventricular dysfunction.”

Moreover, they concluded that “in the absence of excessive administration of intravenous (IV) fluids or a drug effect, a reasonable assumption is that sudden onset of edema is due to either myocardial ischemia or cardiac arrhythmia.” It is one of the rare conditions when compression sleeves can complicate an already complicated medical situation.

Skin Sensation Disorders

For patients that experience acute skin sensation disorders as attendant conditions to arterial diseases, wearing compression sleeves may not be advised by medical professionals. Though compression sleeves are generally safer, the skin’s hypersensitivity to external stimuli such as the compression fabric can complicate certain heart conditions.

The Dangers of Compression Sleeves for Runners

Runners are often seen wearing compression sleeves on their legs and arms on marathons and races. As these compression fabrics help improve runners’ performance, there are situations, nonetheless, when left inside the lockers.

They Can Cause Swelling

Most compression sleeves are carefully designed to fit and pressure precisely. But some are not. Wearing compression sleeves that do not fit and do not provide the right amount of pressure can make your muscles and joints swell due to an imbalance of strength applied to those areas.

They Can Cause Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

DVT or deep vein thrombosis is a type of blood clot caused by an improper fit of compression sleevesOpens in a new tab.. While running, a person’s blood flow is irregularly moving faster as a product of tremendous movement. A sleeve that does not fit properly or when tightly worn can hinder the blood movement and can result in severe clotting of blood either on the legs or on the arms where the compressions sleeves are worn.

They Can Cause Injury

If a compression sleeve either worn on the arms or the legs do not fit properly, the fabric can restrict the free-flowing movements of the arms or the legs as the runner races through the marathon. When this happens, arm injury may occur.

Related Questions

 Can I Wear Compression Sleeves 24/7?

No, you shouldn’t wear compression sleeves all the time. For those who are generally healthy, wearing compressions sleeves should only be worn when medical professionals advise them. Wearing compression sleeves in one area of the body for a long time can cut blood circulation, leading to the depletion of oxygen in the blood vessels.

How Can I Choose the Right Compression Sleeves?

When choosing the right compression sleeves, consider your specific needs, preference of style and function, and, most importantly, your doctors. The latter is especially true when you have preexisting medical conditions, especially of the heart, lungs, and brain.

Check out this article about the best compression arm sleeves for weight loss. We have shared a list of the best products that you can choose from.

Can Compression Sleeves Hurt You?

Compression sleeves can hurt you if they do not fit well. Arm compression sleeves work by applying pressure on the arm, which results in proper blood circulation and muscular health. Please pay attention to your compression sleeves when you feel pain while wearing it when it slides back down, when the sleeves bunch up or when the swelling starts to form on your warm.


You have reached the end of this article in trying to know if compression sleeves are dangerous. It cannot be denied that compression sleeves provide several benefits to arms when worn correctly. We have discussed how compression garments worn on the arms can do more harm than good in the preceding articles.

People suffering from certain medical conditions include allergies, diabetes, congestive heart failure, cellulitis, acute arm ischemia, and some attendant diseases associated with arterial insufficiency. Runners are also warned to wear compression sleeves that fit correctly and provides the right amount of pressure. We hope that this

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