The elbow is an essential part of your arm, allowing for bending and overhead movement. If you play tennis or golf, however, you know this type of repetitive movement can lead to elbow pain. If your elbow aches often, it may be time to consider a brace. Here are some of the best elbow braces on the market.
How can the best elbow braces help me?
Braces can stabilize any joint that is prone to inflammation and pain. In the case of your elbow, a protective brace can restrict movement and absorb the pain through compression. This promotes healing and helps you avoid making the injury even worse.
But before you rush out to purchase one, there are several different types of braces for elbow pain. Some wrap around the joint, while others circle below or above it. You’ll have to choose the most effective option for your specific injury or pain.
These are some of the different types of elbow braces and how they can help.
Adjustable elbow braces
Looking for a versatile elbow brace that gives you support where you need it at the moment you need it? Adjustable braces for elbow pain allow you to control the fit of your brace at all times. That means swelling and inflammation won’t make the brace uncomfortable.
Plus, you can adjust the tightness every day to accommodate for your pain level.
Hinged elbow braces
If you are recovering from a moderate to severe elbow injury, hinged braces for elbow pain may be the right option for you (and your doctor will likely prescribe you one if you’ve visited for your injury). These are fully supportive and fitted in order to limit your range of motion, especially after surgery.
While this type of elbow brace is generally larger and less affordable, it is one of the best elbow braces if you are dealing with chronic pain. It provides the protection necessary to prevent further joint damage.
Elbow counterforce brace
An elbow counterforce brace can reduce the tension on your tendons by moving the force down your arm.
They work by compressing the upper forearm to avoid stressing your elbow. By putting pressure elsewhere, your elbow joint has a chance to rest and heal. This is a common choice among athletes, which is why it is considered one of the most popular tennis elbow braces.
An elbow sleeve can provide a range of benefits in addition to pain relief. The compression of an elbow sleeve can reduce swelling, increase circulation, and keep your elbow warm.
All of these elements will promote healing if you’re suffering from elbow pain due to overuse or an injury. An elbow sleeve can give you the support you need to continue using your arm, whether it’s for everyday life or physical activities.
The best elbow braces to try in 2020
Before trying an elbow brace, it’s important to talk with your doctor about the cause of your pain. Once you’ve been cleared to give it a try, you may begin your search. From tennis elbow braces to elbow hyperextension braces, we’ve compiled a list of several of the best options. After you choose one, visit your doctor again to make sure you have the right fit and placement.
Note: PainDoctor.com does not endorse, nor do we make any money off the sale of these products. This information is provided for the benefit of patients based on patient reviews. Always ask your doctor if you have questions. Prices shown are at the date of the post’s publish date, and may differ.
3 of the best adjustable elbow braces
If you’re looking at our list of the best elbow braces, but feel overwhelmed, an adjustable elbow brace may be the answer.
All of these options offer the support you need in a way that can be customized with a few adjustments.
Features: Increased breathability and comfort through the Mueller HydraMesh® technology. The neoprene blend retains body heat to increase circulation for optimal healing and elbow flexibility. Convenient slip-on design allows for easy one-handed adjustments.
What users say: “…No itchy Velcro digging into my sensitive skin or brace folds pinching anywhere. Will probably be ordering one for the other arm.”
Features: This adjustable, reversible brace provides elbow support for both acute and chronic pain. Wide straps attach anywhere along the outer surface, allowing for broad range of motion while still providing support.
What users say: “This has been a great help to me since I dislocated my elbow. I use it when I have to stabilize the elbow at work.”
Features: Adjustable straps with soft edging to provide support and comfort. Ideal for conditions like tendonitis and arthritis to relieve pain and promote healing.
What users say: “My husband got this to help with his elbow tendonitis from his job. It worked right away helping the pain subside and eventually the pain went away. Fit well, easy to use and comfortable.”
3 of the best hinged elbow braces
Ideal for post-operation recovery or serious injuries, hinged elbow braces control your range of motion. They’re designed to protect the elbow joint and allow for healing after a surgery or injury.
Most often, a doctor will prescribe you one of these, but if not, these are our choices.
Features: Easy-to-adjust elbow brace with two removable hinges for limited range of motion. Includes an adjustable cross-strap to help prevent hyperextension.
What users say: “While wearing one of these is never fun, this one did finally provide the pain relief I needed from tendonitis/tennis elbow. I tried 4 different straps before this. But this finally helped.”
Features: Locks in at most positions using an adjustable dial on the hinge. This allows for control of how much movement you want to allow at the elbow.
What users say: “This device kept my broken elbow stable from twisting, thus save me from having surgery. It is healing well on its own…”
Features: Ideal for those recovering from surgery, this brace immobilizes your elbow and limits the amount of movement possible. The hinge is designed to limit the elbow joint from extending further once it has reached a certain degree.
What users say: “…The adjustment system is easy to use and the brace can actually be bent for improved fitment. The first night I went to bed with it on I woke up with my arm feeling like it is 100%…”
3 of the best counterforce elbow braces
Counterforce elbow braces are very popular, especially among athletes.
If you need elbow support to continue enjoying the activities you love, a counterforce elbow brace may be the answer.
Features: This brace is designed to relieve pain caused by repetitive stress injuries, such as lateral epicondylitis, elbow tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and arthritis. It features a compression gel pad, which provides better support than air pads.
What users say: “Not only did it feel better as soon as I put it on, but after a couple of weeks of regular use, the injury itself is much improved, and I believe it’s on its way to fully healing.”
Features: Equipped with two adjustable and improved Velcro straps, the Tomight elbow brace can be tightened or loosened until you find the perfect fit. It’s also reinforced with wider neoprene in order to prevent skin irritation.
What users say: “I was skeptical when my doctor recommended these. After adjusting them a few times, they were well worth it! Amazing, the excruciating pain gone!”
Features: Latex-free brace designed to enhance blood circulation and stimulate oxygen airflow to the muscles for healing. Helps to prevent new injuries while also promoting recovery.
What users say: “…I have been using it 4-5 days every week, the gel pad on the inside makes wearing it for long periods of time much easier. The pad also puts pressure on the ligaments and tendons giving them support so the inflammation can subside…”
3 of the best elbow sleeves
Elbow sleeves provide more opportunity for movement and flexibility, making them ideal for physical activity and sports.
If you’re in need of warmth to help reduce stiffness and swelling, elbow sleeves are a great option.
Features: Designed to increase blood flow, reduce muscle swelling, and alleviate pain and discomfort. The lightweight fabric of this sleeve eliminates bunching and irritation for unrestricted movement.
What users say: “…With this brace my swelling was gone in a month. If you have any elbow issues this is an excellent choice.”
Features: Kunto elbow braces are created to apply even pressure across your elbow joint for superior comfort and support. This sleeve can help you maintain full range of motion during physical activities.
What users say: “It allows full movement. It has perfect compression (not too tight, not loose). And it appears to use good material and have an excellent design. I even wear them at night.”
Features: The Nordic design reinforces your weaker joints, helping you avoid injury. They retain heat to reduce stiffness and provide compression to alleviate joint and muscle pain.
What users say: “I have golfers elbow. Wore them to play golf in 50 degree weather. Had good mobility to swing club, kept my arms warm, but mostly had great compression.”
Other elbow pain treatments
If the best elbow braces aren’t providing the pain relief you need, it may be time to try another form of treatment. Here is a brief overview of some of the most effective ways to beat elbow pain.
- Rest: When elbow pain is the result of repetitive strain or stress, rest is critical. Generally, you must take a break from the sports or activities that can lead to further injury and increase your pain level.
- Over-the-counter medications: Before turning to more serious forms of pain medication, your doctor will most likely recommend a routine of NSAIDs for pain flare-ups. These non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include name brands, such as Aleve and Advil.
- Physical therapy: Many cases of elbow pain due to injury can be improved through physical therapy. By working with an experienced physical therapist, you can improve your elbow’s range of motion and strengthen the surrounding muscles.
- Injections: Injections can often provide relief from both pain and inflammation. Steroid injections use an anesthetic like lidocaine in addition to a steroid. While the procedure is minimally invasive, it is still reserved for serious cases of joint pain. PRP (platelet rich plasma) therapy is another injection option that continues to gain popularity, especially among athletes.
- Surgery: While it is always considered a last resort, some cases of severe pain can signal a need for surgery. Your doctor may remove affected tissue or repair tears in the ligaments and tendons. However, it’s important to note that the recovery period after surgery can be tedious.
Living with pain can lead to poor sleep, reduced activity, and even depression. Don’t let elbow pain get in the way of the activities you enjoy.
While this article is a great place to start, pain isn’t one-size-fits-all. In many cases, a doctor must evaluate your condition to determine the right treatment for your elbow pain. This is often a combination of different treatments in order to help you find the relief you need.
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