Ever since training for the 2009 Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, I've been using compression sleeves for my calves/shins. In 2009 we were at the end of our training stint for the LVRNR event. It was the LAST day of training with one week until the event. For some bizarre reason, I blew out my left calf muscle during class. There was no immediate rhyme or reason why this happened, it just did. The only thing that helped me to even participate in the half marathon a week later was the use of compression sleeves. Since that time I've used compression sleeves on and off for calf issues and shin splints. Compression sleeves DO work. I've tried a few different brands, and they are about the same, with minor differences, but all offer support and compression for the shins and calves.
I was contacted by 110% to review their compression sleeves for calves/shins. Here's what they had to say about their products:
BETTER FITOur tubular seamless construction delivers an ergonomic fit and serious support exactly where you need it.
POCKET DESIGN FOR ICE THERAPY110% compression system is the only one designed with pockets that allow you to easily slip in thermal ice sheets that perform as ice therapy for faster recovery.
NO SWEAT, NO SMELLOur training and recovery garments are made of 70% polypropylene which retains 300% less water than nylon garments to keep you cool and dry while you're pushing your edge. 110% compression gear is made from individually silver-treated fibers to help destroy 99.99% of odor-causing bacteria.
COMPRESSION WHERE YOU NEED ITEvery garment is anatomically designed to create zoned and gradient compression: Highest furthest from the heart and lowest where it's closer, to provide targeted biomechanical support.
OPTIMAL 15-22 MMHGResearch told us (and we listened), the optimal 15-22 mmhg of compression allows for extended use as well as providing superior comfort and maximum efficacy before, during and after training or performance.
Advanced garment technology and a 360-degree Stretch Knit with 50% more spandex than competitors and higher levels of compression (mmHg), for optimal support, circulation and mobility.
BENEFITS OF ICE
The elemental power of ice has long been a staple of recovery treatment for high performance athletes. Ice restricts the blood vessels to prevent the accumulation of fluids. It also reduces inflammation and pain.
Compression and ice TOGETHER immediately reduces swelling, aids in soft-tissue recovery and helps reduce numb, sore, tissue to decrease further injury in the future. The combination of ice therapy and seamless compression technology makes 110% the perfect gear to use if you are driven to play harder. Only 110% benefits your training before, during and after.
I asked about sizing. During a non running, non workout state, I measured my calves at 14 1/2. I was between needing as small and a medium. It was advised that I would need a small.
The sleeves arrived in a reusable, insulated, silver packet with a clip attached to the corner, and ice pack sheets.
The compression sleeves are much thicker and more taut than the other compression sleeves I've been using. The sleeves are doubled, which makes a pocket for the ice packs when needed.
When I first put put on the compression sleeves, I noticed how tight they were, almost verging on being too tight. I wore them to a run fit class and later on for a 6 mile run. I had no problem putting them on, but taking them off was somewhat of a struggle. I know they're supposed to be tight to be effective, and I figured I would give these sleeves the ultimate test at the Carlsbad Half Marathon. I figured I had put in one workout and one long run with these compression sleeves, and I probably would be OK at a half marathon.
Right after the half marathon, the compression sleeves felt way too tight, and I got a pretty bad cramp in my right calf after finishing. I was well hydrated, had plenty of electrolytes, and bananas, so I knew the cramp wasn't from lack of sustenance. I also had a difficult time getting the ice inside the pocket of the sleeve. Once I was able, I attempted to take off the compression sleeves and it seemed much more of a struggle than normal. The fit seemed more tight than what is normal. When I finally got the sleeves off, I found that the sleeves actually cut into both of my ankles:
The compression sleeves I was wearing were too small for me. I contacted the rep and I was able to exchange the smalls for mediums.
Now that I have the medium sized compression sleeves, there is less of a struggle to insert the ice pack sheets and to take them off, and still offer plenty of support. I wore the mediums on a few long runs and at a couple of Run Fit workouts, and I am happy to report that my calves, shins AND ankles are liking the mediums quite well. That being said, my recommendation is to measure your calves right after running or working out for a more accurate idea of what size you might be. If you happen to measure between two sizes like I did, size up.
I was impressed with the quality of the 110% product. The compression sleeves retail for $75.00 and are worth every dollar. I actually feel the 110% brand of compression sleeves will outlast the other compression sleeves I already use and I would actually purchase this brand on my own.
Song from Wednesday, February 8, 2012:
This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race - Fall Out Boy - Run-DMZ