Compression Sleeve vs Suspension Sleeve: What Is the Difference?

Home / sleeves / Compression Sleeve vs Suspension Sleeve: What Is the Difference?
Compression Sleeve vs Suspension Sleeve: What Is the Difference?

If you’re new to the world of prosthetics or orthotics, it can seem as if there are many new terms to learn. Two of these important terms are the compression sleeve and the suspension sleeve. If you’re looking for a compression sleeve in Arkansas, it’s helpful to first know whether or not it’s the right product for you.

Here’s a brief guide on compression and suspension sleeves, how they differ, and how you can use them to improve your quality of life.

Compression sleeve

Professionals recommend compression sleeves for different reasons. Perhaps the most common is when patients have pain or loss of function at a joint, such as the elbow or knee, and need better blood flow. Here the sleeve acts as a corrective measure to allow for rest and recovery of the muscles and tendons. Moreover, since the fabric covers the affected area of a limb or joint, you may need to be fitted for the sleeve.

The compression’s warmth can also help promote healing. In fact, compression sleeves have proven especially helpful for tennis elbow (also called lateral epicondylitis), or tendon inflammation. Runners may also wear compression sleeves on their lower legs to reduce the strain of intense exercise.

If you have these conditions and think that a compression sleeve could be right for you, know that Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics can help every step of the way.

Suspension sleeve

A suspension sleeve is often used by those with a prosthesis to give more movement in the joint. Although there are many types of prostheses, they often involve many parts. These include:

  • The limb
  • The socket that connects the prosthesis to the residual limb
  • The suspension system, which may include an elastic suspension sleeve. This is sometimes known as a compression sleeve for prosthetics.

The suspension system for a prosthesis may be made of different fabrics or even gel or neoprene. The sleeve ensures that the socket of the prosthesis remains secured to the residual limb without excess movement or friction.

The sleeve rolls onto the user’s residual limb, such as the thigh or upper arm, and effectively seals the prosthetic to the limb. Aside from securing the prosthetic for smoother gait or function, a suspension sleeve has the added benefit of minimizing pressure points. This is a great benefit, because these pressure points can lead to sores or blisters. A suspension sleeve is sometimes also referred to as a prosthetic liner, as it lines the cup of the prosthesis for more comfort and/or functionality.

Of course, the type of suspension system required will differ depending on your physique or functional needs for your prosthetic. A prosthetist will work with you to create a prosthetic that works for you, one based on your lifestyle and physical requirements.

It’s also important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to either of these sleeves. Every patient is different and brings with them unique requirements. The professionals at Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics see you as an individual and will work with you to ensure that you’re completely happy with your fit.

Different uses for compression sleeves

Post-operative healing

Compression sleeves are often used soon after a surgical amputation. This is because the sleeve can be used to help mold or maintain the shape of the residual limb post-operatively for the perfect fit.

These compression sleeves are also sometimes called shrinker socks. This is because they help reduce any swelling after surgery and help to reshape the leg. Here the aim is to help create a conical or cylinder shape at the bottom of the residual limb. This helps the limb to fit more comfortably inside a prosthetic. You can also wear shrinker socks as soon as your doctor agrees that the surgical wound has healed enough.

Following breast cancer treatment

Doctors often suggest wearing a compression sleeve following surgery for breast cancer. Treatment for breast cancer can involve mastectomy (or the surgical removal of a breast) and removal of any lymph nodes that cancer may also have affected. Removal of the lymph nodes is relevant because this treatment can lead to a build-up of a fluid called lymph within the arm.

If lymph fluid accumulates, it can cause swelling within the arm. This is called lymphedema. This swelling can be uncomfortable and can reduce the range of movement within the arm. Although lymphedema is common, it can cause serious complications.

If you notice the early signs of lymphedema, a compression sleeve could be right for you. Fitted to your arm, the sleeve uses continuous pressure to help move the accumulated fluid back towards the central lymph and venous systems. This reduces the visible swelling and may help to alleviate discomfort while also improving your range of movement.

Having and recovering from breast cancer is a serious event. It can also be filled with emotional and physical changes. The professionals at Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics want to make sure that you minimize the risk of any side effects, such as lymphedema, by giving you the best possible compression sleeve, one that suits you and your lifestyle.

For more information

Compression sleeves and suspension sleeves can greatly improve your quality of life. At Horton’s Orthotics and Prosthetics, our expert teams can help you with every stage of finding the right sleeve for your requirements.

Moreover, we understand that no two patients are the same. We’ll work with you to learn your current concerns and the goals that you would like to achieve with your orthotic or prosthetic. With the right support, life with a prosthetic or orthotic can be a normal, fulfilling one.

Contact us today at (501) 683-8889, or submit this form to schedule an appointment.