Why Basketball Players Wear Arm Sleeves?

By Alex Mercer

November 7, 2021

If you’re a basketball enthusiast, you’ve probably noticed the arm sleeves covering players’ arms. They seem to look tight and uncomfortable but also relaxed. Have you ever wondered why basketball players wear arm sleeves? Are there any health benefits associated with it? Let’s find out.

Like any sport, basketball often gives room to injuries and muscle extremities. Therefore, basketball players cover their arms with arm sleeves or compression sleeves to help that cause. Arm sleeves help with optimal blood circulation, speedy recoveries and regulate body heat, ensuring better performance for the players.

Apart from the health benefits, arm sleeves also give basketball players a sporty and relaxed look. That’s why fans, as well as players themselves, often consider the sleeves part of their uniform.

Why Do Basketball Players Wear Compression Arm Sleeves?

Arm sleeves come in handy for players of any sport. They help improve muscle soreness and strength during the game. In addition, basketball requires a long duration of practice which causes exercise-induced muscle injuries. Arm sleeves, then, help regulate the normal blood flow and body heat for the players.

basketball arm sleeves
via Wikipedia

Therefore, arm sleeves are constant companions for every basketball player. Here are a few ways arm sleeves support players both during and after sports.

Oxygenated Blood Flow

When we are going through extreme physical pressure, the heart often becomes hyperactive. In those types of situations, it is unable to regulate optimal blood flow around the body.

As a result, we get quickly exhausted. This is what happens in any variety of sports, as well as in basketball.

Basketball requires heavy use of upper body strength. Therefore, under extreme pressure and exhaustion, the heart often cannot ensure normal oxygenated blood flow. Arm sleeves are a great help in this regard.

The sleeves help the blood inside the arms flow well so that the player does not suffer from extreme fatigue.

Speedy Recovery And Avoiding Injuries

Basketball players frequently put in long hours of practice time on the court to perfect their tricks and strategies. During these times, the players often suffer from muscle swelling or knee injuries.

Arm sleeves help prevent muscle cramps or swelling to ensure players can carry on like usual.

Besides, players play extremely competitive games. So, there are all kinds of situations, from falling to stumbling against others, leading to injuries such as bone fractures, ankle sprains, thigh bruises, etc.

The arm sleeves then protect basketball players’ arms from these kinds of potential injuries during competitive games.

Protection From UV Rays

Usually, competitive and big basketball games are played indoors. But when it comes to practice, players have no choice but to go outside under the open sky.

When practicing during the daytime, players have to stay extra cautious as there is always the danger of skin burns, rashes, etc.

So, basketball players often wear compression sleeves given the health benefits and their use to protect skin from the sun.

These sleeves cover the arms, so he can play without getting suntanned or burnt, even if the player is playing outdoors.

Regulating Body Heat

Sometimes, if we’re overexerting ourselves, our body temperature drops. It happens as a result of hypoactive and uneven blood flow around the veins and muscles.

During basketball practices or games, this is a frequent occurrence. Arm sleeves often help in these extreme times as they give arm muscles enough pressure to make sure the blood flow is uninterrupted.

Arm sleeves can also help with seasonal impacts on health. In the summer, the body temperature drops due to dehydration while playing outdoors. Arm sleeves can ensure unhindered blood flow by producing sweat.

When the cold makes a player’s body stiff during the winter, sleeves help even blood transmission to play comfortably.

Improves Muscle Soreness And Strength

Basketball players often have an exhausting exercise and practice schedule. Because the sport heavily relies on muscle strength, players usually have to spend long hours exercising.

Lengthy exercise often leaves players with exhaustion and extreme pain in the muscles. This is called the Exercise-Induced Muscle Cramps or EIMC.

This happens due to the extra lactic acids that the muscles produce. Arm sleeves ease this overactive chemical production and ensure players’ speedy recoveries from exercise.

See Our Complete Basketball Equipment Guide Here

When Basketball Players Avoid Wearing Arm Sleeves?

Although basketball arm sleeves themselves are harmless and safe to wear, there are a few things to consider while wearing them. They can be worn indoors with no problem at all.

However, wearing them for prolonged hours or as a substitute for medical treatment is not desirable. 

Here are a few things players usually consider before putting on basketball arm sleeves.

Prolonged Hours

Basketball players wear arm sleeves during games and practices. But wearing them for more than 12 hours at a stretch is not friendly for the arm muscles. Wearing sleeves for more than half a day might cause muscle stiffness for some.

12-15 hours is the optimal duration for keeping the sleeves on. After that, players usually take them off for a while and then continue with the sleeves again. That way, the blood flow will be uninterrupted even with the sleeves on.

Wrong Size

Many people think the tighter the arm sleeves are, the better it is for the muscles. However, that is entirely the wrong idea. If arm sleeves are too tight, players might experience blood clotting.

The sleeves would then interfere with the standard blood transmission of the muscles.

Again, too-loose arm sleeves might not be a good option either. If they are a size bigger, players won’t get the desired health benefits of arm sleeves.

The loose sleeves may not press on the arms during activities. Consequently, players would feel the same old sore muscles and pain.

Chemicals, Lotions Or Sunscreens

To beat the scorching summer heat, players often apply sunscreens while playing outdoors. That makes some wonder if it is alright to wear arm sleeves with the sunscreen on.

It is not a good idea to put on an arm sleeve with sunscreen. The titanium dioxide used popularly in sunscreens might react negatively when suppressed under the arm-sleeves and cause harm to the skin.

Likewise, the commercial moisturizing creams of winter also have different types of chemicals in them. In reaction to the heat of the arm sleeve, they might cause skin inflammation in the surrounding areas.

Therefore, players often avoid wearing arm sleeves with sunscreens, moisturizers, or other types of chemicals.

Previously Sore Or Injured Muscle

Arm sleeves often help to avoid muscle soreness or exercise-induced injuries. But it is not a good idea to put them on an injured muscle as they might worsen the situation.

Arm sleeves work by compressing the arm muscles and surrounding areas. If players have an injured arm, wearing sleeves would cause additional pain and discomfort.

They would also impact the injury negatively because of being tightly pressed against their arms.

Therefore, it is better not to wear arm sleeves on previously injured arms. They might strain the muscles and, in extreme cases, endanger proper lymph activities.

Allergy And Other Medical Conditions

Arm sleeves are usually made with materials that do not cause skin allergies or rashes. However, if players already have some skin allergy, they often consult a dermatologist before regular wear of arm sleeves. As they stick to the skin tightly for hours, they might irritate the skin.

Besides, players with other medical conditions like neuropathic disorder or sensitive skin issues avoid wearing compression arm sleeves. If they wear them, it is usually done under close examination of neurologists or physicians beforehand to minimize the chances of negative impact.


So, why do basketball players wear arm sleeves? It is because of the great comfort they provide during sports. From sunny outdoor practice to big games indoors, arm sleeves always protect players from all types of injuries that may be in their way of victory.

While it started as a health aid, nowadays, arm sleeves have become a trend in the present sports world. For many famous players, arm sleeves have become their unique statement to the fans.

About the author

Hey There! My Name is Alex and I run Get Hyped Sports. I created this platform to help people find their love for sports and gaming.

Our work has been featured on platforms like Mashable.com, SVG.com, and XXL.com.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}