Does an Ankle Compression Sleeve Help Relieve Pain? - Brace Direct

Does an Ankle Compression Sleeve Help Relieve Pain?

Ankle pain, whether mild, severe, or chronic, can hinder you from performing various daily activities. For example, if you’re an athlete or a fitness enthusiast, you may not be able to participate in your favorite sport or workout routine.

Since ankle injuries take longer to heal, you might opt for an ankle pain reliever. This article helps you understand the effectiveness of an ankle compression sleeve in relieving pain, how it works, and more.

Are Ankle Sleeves Worth It?

foot propped up with compression sleeve ankle brace on

Ankle sleeves, sometimes called ankle compression braces, are highly effective in reducing ankle pain. They help in relieving mild to chronic ankle pain during and after exercise. They benefit individuals participating in strenuous activities since they squeeze muscles to reduce pain.

While ankle compression braces sound like they help relieve ankle pain only, you can also use them to treat foot pain. The sleeve puts pressure on your heel to compress the fascia when treating plantar fasciitis.

The sleeve also offers additional support to your ankle so you can feel comfortable standing. Remember, ankles bear all your weight when walking, running, or lifting objects. If you have an injured ankle, this weight can exacerbate the pain.

But if you have ankle sleeves wrapped around the painful ankle, it can prevent pain from becoming severe. The sleeve ensures your ankle bones remain intact without twisting or rolling inwards. Their support helps you move the ankle joints and easily stand or walk.

Consider seeking professional medical care if you suffer from chronic ankle pain that won’t go even after using these sleeves.

How Do Ankle Compression Braces Work?

As their name suggests, these sleeves provide compression at the ankle. They’re mainly used in compression therapy to reduce swelling and pain in the ankles. You can wear or wrap these sock-like garments around your ankle, depending on the cause of your ankle injury.

An ankle is made of ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones. These parts offer internal support during exercise or walking to ensure your ankle is safe. If one of these internal supports gets injured, it might compromise ankle flexibility, causing pain. You can no longer rely on your internal support to participate in rigorous exercises, so you need external support.

This is where an ankle compression brace comes in. It offers external support and ensures your ankle joint remains in place. Ankle sleeves work by limiting plantar flexion. Your ankle sleeve should feel comfortable and fit in your shoes to ensure maximum effectiveness.

One of the most critical roles of ankle sleeves is to offer graduated compression on your ankles. They provide tighter compression at the ankle and foot while loosening compression at the lower leg.

Compression is vital in providing adequate pressure needed to increase blood flow. The sleeve compresses the walls of veins and arteries to reduce surface area. As a result, blood flows consistently from the heart to the ankles and back.

With efficient blood flow, cells around your ankles receive adequate oxygenated blood. The cells use this blood to promote healing while reducing pain. With increased blood flow, your veins eliminate lactic acid produced during exercises. If lactic acid remains in the muscles, it causes soreness, ankle pain, and fatigue.

Graduated compression helps deoxygenated blood overcome the effects of gravity when flowing upwards. The narrow veins carry this blood back to the heart to be oxygenated in the lungs. It then flows back to the ankles, and the process repeats itself.

So, how are ankle sleeves for ankle pain helpful to people suffering from different ankle injuries?

Ankle Compression Sleeve for Ankle Pain

woman holding her foot due to ankle pain

You first want to figure out what causes your ankle pain. This discomfort might occur gradually or suddenly and cause an aching, burning, or throbbing pain. After identifying the cause of ankle pain, you can look for the best ankle sleeve to relieve pain.

Below are the main causes of ankle pain:


If you suffer from osteoarthritis or post-traumatic arthritis, the condition is likely to affect your ankles. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in your ankle to wear and tear. As a result, ankle bones rub against each other, causing pain. Post-traumatic arthritis may occur after you’ve experienced an injury in your ankle. The condition causes the cartilage to wear away, resulting in pain.


Tendonitis in the ankles results from inflammation of tissues that connect muscles to bones. This condition affects the Achilles tendons, peroneal tendons, and posterior tibial tendons. Tendonitis can cause swelling, burning and tightening pain, and stiffness in the calf. If left untreated, tendonitis, especially posterior tibial tendonitis, can cause walking problems.

Ankle Bone Fracture

Bones that attach to your ankle joint may break and cause ankle pain. These bones include the talus, tibia, and fibula. A fracture on these bones can also cause swelling and bruising.

Ankle Bone Bruises

Ankle bone bruises are injuries to the ankle bone, but they’re less severe than ankle bone fractures. These bruises occur if you fall from a height, injuries when playing sports, or along with ankle sprains. Most people with arthritis are also likely to suffer from bone bruises.

Whether you have arthritis, tendonitis, ankle bone fracture, or ankle bone bruise, an ankle compression sleeve can help relieve the pain. Your physician or podiatrist should help you choose the best ankle sleeve to help you stand and exercise again.

Ankle Compression Sleeve for Ankle Sprains

bare feet with a compression sleeve on the foot

Ankle sprains result from injuries in the ligaments. The damage can be a tear or stretch that causes throbbing pain, swelling, and bruising. You may also experience ankle sprains if your ankle twists or rolls inwards.

If you’re treating an ankle sprain, it might take more than four months to heal. Most people experience ankle sprains on the outer part of their ankles, especially in the two ligaments – the anterior talofibular ligament and the calcaneofibular ligament.

Ankle sprains are more common among athletes who play tennis, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. Most athletic injuries (nearly 50%) result from ankle sprains when making sudden changes in directions or jumping. Such movements strain the ankles and cause them to sprain.

Unless it’s a chronic ankle sprain, you don’t require surgery. You can use ankle compression braces for ankle sprains to alleviate pain as your ligaments repair themselves.

Ankle sleeves won’t heal the underlying cause of pain. If your ankles are prone to sprains during exercise, they may re-occur right after recovery. It’s best to consult your doctor to learn why you’re susceptible to ankle sprains and what precautions to consider.

If you have hindfoot varus or weak muscles, you’re more likely to sustain ankle injuries, including sprains. So before exercising, wear ankle sleeves to prevent spraining your ankles.

Benefits of Wearing Ankle Compression Sleeves

Compression sleeves for ankles can significantly reduce ankle pain while promoting faster recovery. Here’s how an ankle sleeve is beneficial to your ankles:

Offers Support and Protection to Ankle Joints

Ankle joints play a critical role in ensuring foot movement is normal. An ankle compression will provide the support and strength needed to make movements if you’re treating an ankle joint injury.

Besides relieving pain, ankle sleeves improve your performance during recovery. You don’t have to waste several months of rehab to return to your exercise routine. Sleeves will also protect your ankle against injuries such as scrapes and abrasions.

Prevents Future Injuries

man outdoor in sneakers holding ankle in pain

Compression sleeves are handy garments any athlete participating in an intense workout should have. This is especially true for individuals more susceptible to ankle injuries after exercise. It’s advisable to wear ankle sleeves every time you step out of the door for your daily workouts.

According to research, ankle sleeves are designed to prevent ankles from succumbing to sprains. You can exercise or participate in your favorite sports, knowing your sleeves offer the protection needed.

Note that wearing ankle sleeves regularly, especially when you’re not injured or exercising, can weaken your ankles. Most podiatrists and physicians recommend wearing compression sleeves for around ten days to six weeks, depending on the injury.

Provides Warmth

Exposing an injured ankle to a cold can increase pain. Cold weather alters the pressure in your veins/ arteries and reduces blood circulation. As a result, you’re more likely to experience constant stiffness that comes with pain. These discomforts can limit your mobility or experience difficulties when putting on shoes.

Ankle sleeves warm your ankles by compressing veins/arteries and boosting blood circulation. Compressing the muscles around your ankles also promotes warmth retention. This improves the flexibility of your ankles while making them feel secure during strenuous exercise.


woman bare feet on a white background

Here are some commonly asked questions regarding ankle pain and compression sleeves. 

Do you wear socks with ankle compression braces?

You can wear socks with ankle sleeves. Compression sleeves are usually thin and may feel uncomfortable when you wear your sports shoes. Wear ankle sleeves before putting on socks to prevent swelling or other discomforts.

Should I wear an ankle sleeve to bed?

Ankle sleeves are handy when worn during the day when moving around or lifting objects. You shouldn’t wear them while sleeping unless your physician or podiatrist recommends so. Wearing ankle sleeves to bed can weaken your ankle bones, muscles, and ligaments.

Are compression sleeves ideal for swollen ankles?

Wearing a compression sleeve on a swollen ankle helps decrease the swelling. A swollen ankle feels painful and uncomfortable. An ankle sleeve will reduce swelling, alleviate pain, and make your ankle feel comfortable.


An ankle compression sleeve can be your best bet if you’re worried about ankle pain that won’t allow you to stick to your workout plan. This garment compresses your ankle to increase pressure and blood circulation in your arteries and veins. With increased blood circulation, you can experience instant ankle pain relief.

Compression braces provide additional support and warmth your ankle requires during recovery. Look for high-quality compression sleeves that will prevent your ankle from future injuries.