One of the worst things to occur when out on a hike, playing sports, or even just out on a walk is to have an injury.
If it’s just a slight sprain or muscle cramps, and it’s not too painful, there are a few techniques you can take as an immediate precaution to avoid any further damage.
Depending on the injury itself, here are some of the best aids for muscle recovery!
Muscle Recovery Aids + Products to Try
I. Knee Braces
One of the easiest joints to injure, the knee can be susceptible to a range of injuries including sprains, muscle tears, and even broken or dislocated joints.
If you already have such issues, or if you are at risk of perhaps developing a problem when out and about (such as if it is wet and slippery outside) then one of the easiest temporary measures is to consider a knee brace or a compression knee sleeve.
What is a Knee Brace?
A knee brace is a somewhat rigid structure that you wrap around your leg.
This can offer a bit more in the way of support for the joint itself.
1. Neo G Closed Knee Brace
A knee brace such as the Neo G Closed Knee Brace has just that support you so much need.
It only comes in one size as the Velcro straps make sure it adjusts to the needs of different people.
It can help with most minor injuries such as a sprain, or stiff, achy knees.
Also, it can help with developing concerns such as arthritis.
This knee brace is made from high-quality neoprene and holds the natural body heat inside so it can help warm the joint to aid recovery.
A Knee Sleeve: What is This?
If the pain is a little less serious and needs more in the way of compression rather than support (such as aching or swollen joints) then it would be better to look at a sleeve instead of a brace.
A sleeve simply slides up the leg to the knee. Using the silicone strips inside, it grips onto the leg to reduce any inflammation.
2. Venture Pal Knee Compression Non-Slip Sleeve
The Venture Pal Knee Compression Non-Slip Sleeve wraps around the joint to provide ease of movement while also preventing any further damage to the joint.
Compression sleeves are great as they are very flexible and can fit in any size bag for possible predicaments. One thing to note with a sleeve is that you need to ensure you get the right fit.
To do this, measure around the thigh, just above the center of the knee cap, 4 inches above, and then refer to their sizing chart.
This states that:
- Small: 14″-16″
- Medium: 16″-18“
- Large: 18”-20“
- XL: 20”-23“
- XXL: 23”-26“
They do recommend that if you want it to be comfortable, you should order the next size up.
But if you want a tight fit for absolute compression, you’d be better off getting a smaller size.
II. Ankle Braces
Further down the leg is the ankle, and this another joint that is very susceptible to injury.
This happens because of the ankle movement and the muscle fibers inside.
The ankle is very vulnerable to injuries such as sprains, strains, muscle fatigue, and even plantar fasciitis.
If you stand a lot, or walking on wet and slippery terrain, it can be very easy to sprain or twist the ankle.
The best thing to do to avoid this would be to wear ankle high boots so that the ankle doesn’t awkwardly twist so easily.
The second easiest thing would be to get an ankle brace.
If any of these injuries occur, an ankle brace can help with blood circulation and eases muscle pain.
Just like with the Knee Braces above, an ankle brace can come as an actual wrap-around brace or as a compression sleeve. It will also help along with the muscle recovery.
An Ankle Brace
An ankle brace is manufactured to wrap around the joint and heel to prevent twisting of the joint when you’re active.
3. Bodyprox Ankle Support Brace
The Bodyprox Ankle Support Brace is a single sized band with adjustable Velcro straps.
This makes it suitable for most people with an arch circumference of up to 11 inches.
As it’s a semi-rigid brace, it doesn’t restrict movement in the joint but instead just supports the ankle.
4. An Ankle Sleeve – POWERLIX Ankle Brace Sleeve
In the same vein as with the Knee Braces above, if you don’t need stiff support and more in the compression aspect, the best option is to go for a POWERLIX Ankle Brace Sleeve.
This sits onto the ankle just like a sock and provides a firm fit to the ankle to stop any further inflammation. This can also help with Plantar Fasciitis.
As it’s a tight covering, it’s important to get the correct fit and this is done by measuring around the ankle and comparing with their size guide.
If you measure:
- 9.5”-11.5” – best to get a Small
- 12”-13”- best to get a Medium
- 13.5”-14.5” – best to get a Large
- 14”-17” – best to get an XL
In case the measurement is in between sizes, the manufacturer recommends getting the smaller size for more compression.
III. Compression Socks
In a similar function as the ankle brace sleeve above, compression socks are designed to reduce inflammation and keep blood circulating throughout the legs.
They can be used for long flights, during pregnancy, and for those who are on their feet for a long time such as. As such, they can be very useful to runners, hikers, and even nurses.
However, compression socks have no rigid structure in them so they stay somewhat flexible.
They are primarily used to reduce swelling.
Unlike the above, compression socks usually start from the toes and stretch all the way up to just under the knee instead of just supporting the ankle joint.
5. Physix Gear Compression Socks Unisex
The Physix Gear Compression Socks Unisex are made from high-quality, anti-bacterial breathable fabric to ensure they stay on for longer periods of time.
These socks have their compression and supple support located in the most beneficial zones on the heel and the calf areas.
This should make them one of the most efficient muscle recovery aids for minor issues.
Also, the compression on the toes has been designed so it doesn’t squeeze the joints.
Just as important as all the other compression sleeves above, it is very important to get the right size for your feet and Physix Gear has provided a very simple guide for this.
- US Women’s Shoe Size of 5.5-8.5 or those with a calf size of 9in-15in is S/M Women
- (US) Women’s Shoe Size of 8-15.5 or calf size of 14in-19in is L/XL Women
- US Men’s Shoe Size of 5-9 or calf size measuring 9in-15in is S/M Men
- (US) Men’s Shoe Size of 8-14 or calf size of 14in-19in is L/XL Men
You might have seen sportsmen and women on TV with multi-colored tape pasted across their bodies.
Well, this is Kinesiology Tape and it can help with all kinds of muscle recovery.
As it’s an elasticated tape, it can be cut to any size and shape.
It can also cover all range of joint and muscle concerns, from back pain, knee pain, elbow pain, and even neck ache.
K-Tapes are a somewhat controversial aid within the physiotherapy industry as some people swear by it, while others view it as only having a placebo effect.
There are a few things to look for when considering purchasing a roll of Kinesiology Tape.
One of the most vital things to look for is stickiness: the more adhesive it is, the more it will pull the skin.
This is not so good for those with sensitive skin.
Still, the more adhesive it is the longer it is likely to adhere to the body.
High water resistance is a feature to look for as if it was a low resistance tape, you’d have to replace it every time you had a shower or sweat profusely.
The biggest name in Kinesiotherapy Tapes is RockTape.
This is not only due to their large marketing campaign within the sports industry but also due to their high-quality products.
Their tapes have been used on high profile athletes and they even have partnerships with large brands including Major League Baseball.
6. Rock Tape Original 2-Inch Kinesiology Tape
The Rock Tape Original 2-Inch Kinesiology Tape is a good pack for those who are new to using tapes.
It is incredibly adhesive and lasts for around two to four days to help with muscle rejuvenation.
Measuring only 2 inches across, it’s a pretty small package so it’s very easy to keep in a bag.
It’s not completely waterproof, just water resistant.
7. RockTape Original 2-Inch Water-Resistant H2O Kinesiology Tape
If you intend to spend long periods of time in the water, it would be better to get RockTape Original 2-Inch Water-Resistant H2O Kinesiology Tape.
This is more targeted towards swimmers/ surfers. Another great feature with the H2O is that it’s already pre-cut into 10-inch strips, so there’s no need to bring scissors everywhere with you.
One thing to point out is that the tape does need to be applied correctly.
Misapplication can prevent effective healing.
Guides can be found online and video tutorials are easy to come across.
For a wider range of application techniques, this Kinesiology Taping Book can provide a lot more detailed information for a number of conditions, some of which have been highlighted in this article (e.g., an ankle sprain and plantar fasciitis).
Conclusion and a Writer’s Note
Writer’s Note: “I’ve actually used kinesiology tapes in the past and I’ve had great results as they helped to alleviate any inflammation concerns I had with my injuries”.
“It does have to be applied properly though, or else it won’t work. Even this week, I taped up the ball of my foot due to overexertion and the pain reduced with a couple of days.
I haven’t just used Kinesiology tape for its primary function though.
I’ve also found it can be useful as for some minor repairs, I even fixed my first backpack with some of this tape!”
This wraps up Nick’s list of useful muscle recovery aids. We hope it came in handy and that a sprained ankle or hurting joint are easier to treat now.
Which one of these muscle recovery accessories are you using already (be them on the list or not)?
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