Compression Wear Enhances Gaming

Compression Wear Enhances Gaming

Over the last couple of years, many esports professionals have started to expand their focus from gaming gear and equipment (e.g., headsets, controllers, ergonomic chairs) to performance wear that enhances the experience. A particular type of gaming wear that is quickly gaining momentum as an important commodity for professional gamers and esports enthusiasts is the compression garment

According to research, compression that applies about 15 mmHg of pressure can help boost blood flow and reduce the levels of lactic acid, also known as lactate [1]. Lactic acid is a substance produced by muscle tissue in response to exertion. Increased levels of lactic acid in the blood usually signal muscle fatigue due to exercise. Reduced levels of lactic acid help enhance muscle stamina by prolonging the amount of time it takes for muscles to become fatigued.

Wearing compression garments—including compression sleeves on both arms or the arm primarily used for gaming—during or after exercise supports optimal blood flow and muscle performance [1].

Additional Benefits of Compression Garments

In addition to promoting improved circulation, compression garments afford several other health benefits that include the following [2-5]:

  1. Increased recovery muscle blood flow – Increased blood circulation sends deoxygenated blood back to the heart faster, which helps oxygen-rich blood return to muscles more rapidly. This process lessens muscle fatigue.
  2. Heightened muscle warm-up – The use of compression garments gently raises skin temperature, which helps the muscles warm up.
  3. Improved muscle stability – Compression garments provide stability by reducing excess muscle vibration during vigorous activity. This type of enhanced stability helps prevent microscopic muscle tears—making recovery easier.
  4. Faster recovery times – By boosting the clearance of lactic acid in the blood and reducing the incidence of microscopic muscle tears, compression garments support a faster recovery. 
  5. Heightened muscle support – The combination of enhanced blood flow, reduced levels of lactic acid, and fewer muscle tears leads to an increase in overall performance—making compression garments beneficial both during or after gaming sessions.
  6. Reduced impact of delayed onset muscle soreness – Soreness following strenuous activity is linked to inflammation and swelling caused by microscopic muscle tears. While this is a normal part of the recovery process, soreness can reduce performance or disrupt gaming sessions (e.g., missed sessions). Compression garments help minimize soreness, inflammation, and swelling by lowering the risk of microscopic muscle tears.

Based on these findings, the use of compression garments in a wide variety of sports—including esports—is becoming increasing popular. As research regarding the influence of compression garments on muscle health continues, additional benefits may also be discovered. 

Compression Garments Enhance Proprioception

Proprioception refers to the way an individual perceives the position and movement of the body (e.g., balance, control, coordination). Compression garments appear to improve proprioception as demonstrated by improved accuracy and movement speed for athletes who regularly wear such clothing [6]. 

It is believed that compression garments (e.g., compression sleeves) enhance responses to proprioceptive cues, which are described as mental images and other sensory cues that cause individuals to modify their behavior or movements in ways that heighten performance [6]. This process also appears to improve comfort during physical activity.

Overall, research shows that compression is useful toward extending gaming sessions with less muscle fatigue and faster recovery times.


  1. Sperlich B, Born DP, Kaskinoro K, et al. Squeezing the muscle: compression clothing and muscle metabolism during recovery from high intensity exercise. PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e60923-e60943.
  2. Born DP, Sperlich B, Holmberg HC. Bringing light into the dark: effects of compression clothing on performance and recovery. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2013;8(1):4-18.
  3. Goto K, Morishima T. Compression garment promotes muscular strength recovery after resistance exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014;46(12):2265-2270. 
  4. Kraemer WJ, Flanagan SD, Comstock BA, et al. Effects of a whole-body compression garment on markers of recovery after a heavy resistance workout in men and women. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(3):804-814.
  5. Pearce AJ, Kidgell DJ, Grikepelis LA, et al. Wearing a sports compression garment on the performance of visuomotor tracking following eccentric exercise: a pilot study. J Sci Med Sport. 2009;12(4):500-502.
  6. Hooper DR, Dulkis LL, Secola PJ, et al. Roles of an Upper-Body Compression Garment on Athletic Performances. J Strength Cond Res. 2015;29(9):2655-2660.
Braces Help Reduce Injuries and Promote Recovery

Braces Help Reduce Injuries and Promote Recovery

 For spectators, esports may seem like a sedentary activity, but professional gamers actually perform hundreds of micromovements every minute. These include rapid keystrokes and mouse clicks that can strain the wrist, fingers, lower arms, neck, and back. Over time, this constant physical load may lead to numerous problems such as muscle weakness, nerve compression, lower back pain, and tendinopathy—the latter of which refers to damaged tendon tissue [1-3].

Due to the nature of esports, professional gamers who don’t take extra precautions may gradually begin to suffer from lingering injuries that make it difficult to enjoy their career due to missed matches. If the pain and discomfort persists, worsens over time, or requires surgery, an avid gamer may even face early retirement.

Esports engage fine motor skills that can gradually and unsuspectingly affect the musculoskeletal system—causing injuries an esports professional is often unaware of until it becomes chronic or burdensome [2, 3]. Taking preventative measures such as using a brace (e.g., wrist brace) before or after a long gaming session can help prevent injuries or promote recovery if an unexpected injury occurs [1, 4-6].

Braces Offer Added Support

A wrist brace —also called a wrist-hand orthosis—can help minimize the risk of injury by reducing pressure on the median nerve in the wrist and preventing awkward wrist movements. The median nerve extends from the forearm through a narrow passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel and continues into the hand. Compression of the median nerve is linked to carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a common issue for professional gamers [3].

A wrist brace also helps relieve pain and supports recovery by immobilizing the wrist, while allowing the thumb and fingers to move in an unobstructed manner. More specifically, a brace holds the wrist in a straight position—preventing pain that may develop when bending the wrist squeezes the median nerve. Using a brace after a gaming session, as well as during sleep, further improves symptoms of carpal tunnel and other repetitive strain injuries (RSI) linked to esports by keeping excess pressure off of the median nerve [3, 4].

In addition to hand or wrist injuries, avid gamers often report experiencing neck as well as upper and lower back pain due to poor posture while sitting during long sessions [5]. Similar to a wrist brace, a back brace can help relieve pressure on the spine for gamers suffering from mild to moderate back pain. Back braces—also known as lumbar orthoses—afford additional benefits that include [6]:

  • Accelerating recovery by stabilizing or immobilizing the back  
  • Offering spinal support for weakened spinal discs
  • Promoting more controlled back movement
  • Helping to correct existing deformities
  • Minimizing the progression of spinal bone or muscle damage

Furthermore, research shows that when back braces are used for short periods of time, they target common back issues (e.g., pain, stiffness, spasms) and evenly distribute weight to lower the risk of future back injuries [6].

Overall, braces offer exceptional support for esports professionals. Using braces regularly is a beneficial preventative measure that can help gamers participate in gaming leagues and tournaments for years to come.

  1. Andres BM, et al. Treatment of Tendinopathy: What Works, What Does Not, and What is on the Horizon. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2008;466(7):1539-1554. 
  2. Helliwell PS, Taylor WJ. Repetitive strain injury. Postgrad Med J. 2004;80(946):438-43.
  3. van Tulder M, Malmivaara A, Koes B. Repetitive strain injury. Lancet. 2007; 369(9575):1815-22.
  4. Bhanderi DJ, et al. Computer Use and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Case-control Study. Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2017;21(3):109-114.
  5. Fernandez-de-Las-Penas C, Alonso-Blanco C, Cuadrado ML, Pareja JA. Forward head posture and neck mobility in chronic tension-type headache: A blinded, controlled study. Cephalalgia. 2006;26(3):314-319.
  6. Schott C, Zirke S, et al. Effectiveness of lumbar orthoses in low back pain: Review of the literature and our results. Orthop Rev (Pavia). 2018;10(4): 7791.