For the majority of people, the elbow is vital to almost every movement we make; whether it's at work or playing sports. So when elbow issues arise, they greatly interfere with day-to-day activities. If you're managing any kind of discomfort, here are some tips on how to choose the right elbow support for your injury.
Managing elbow injuries
Physiotherapy, remedial treatment and targeted stretching or exercise, are all great options when looking at treating and managing an elbow injury.
However, often the effects of these treatments are increased by wearing the right support or brace. High-quality elbow supports can provide excellent pain and swelling relief to increase mobility and get you back in action sooner.
To cut through the confusion of what type of support is right for you, we have pulled together a simple guide to elbow supports. Below is an outline of the main types of supports, the kind of conditions they treat, and what features to look out for.
Learn more: Elbow Pain: why can't I straighten my arm?
Below is an example of a strength-building exercise for the elbow.
How to choose the right elbow support for your injury:
Support Type: elbow strap
Elbow straps are a simple support, usually consisting of a single strap that sits at the top of the forearm just beneath the elbow.
An elbow strap usually has a pad which provides extra pressure on the tendon. Designed to target the medial (inside) or lateral (outside) tendons in the elbow, straps are best suited to milder conditions like golfers elbow, tennis elbow, mild tendonitis and mild epicondylitis.
When selecting an elbow strap, there are a few key things to keep an eye out for:
- Easily adjustable tension. Look for a tension system or Velcro strap that is easily adjustable and holds tension over time.
- A comfortable fit that doesn’t move up and down your arm as you move and flex your arm is essential.
- A breathable material that doesn’t get sweaty or uncomfortable after use. Avoid neoprene where possible.
Try the Bauerfeind Epipoint Elbow Strap.
Support Type: elbow sleeve
Elbow sleeves are supports that wrap around your elbow, usually covering the joint itself, the upper part of the forearm and the lower bicep. Some will have gel inserts or strapping attached.
Elbow sleeves are designed to provide compression to assist the healing process by getting the blood flowing to the joint, as well as stabilising the muscles during movement.
Elbow sleeves are ideal for swelling in the elbow, arthritis, Epicondylitis at any stage, chronic tendinitis and recovery from more severe issues or any fractures.
Things to look for in an elbow sleeve are:
- A firm compression that lasts and is comfortable, not being too tight or too loose. A good fit shouldn’t restrict your movement but stays in place if you move your arm a lot.
- Made from a material that is comfortable to wear all day without overheating or becoming irritating.
- Gel pads which specifically target the medial and lateral tendons. Anything that provides a massaging effect will help a lot.
Try the Bauerfeind EpiTrain Elbow Brace
Support Type: restrictive brace
Sometimes, chronic issues which affect the elbow require rigid support, something that prevents too much movement of the elbow.
Restrictive braces are ideal as they’re designed to prevent hyperextension, dislocation or overstraining of the elbow joint. They’re best used for injuries like fracture recovery, dislocation, hyperextension and tendon/nerve impingement as well as conditions like osteoarthritis, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and other connective tissue disorders.
When looking for a restrictive brace, some ideal features are:
- Adjustability, whether it’s a tension cord or strap system, as long as it allows you to control how much stability the elbow itself is getting.
- Firm fit. The most important thing with a support like this is making sure that it won’t move along your arm or shift at all. Anything that has an anatomical fit or uses interior grip is good.
Try the Bauerfeind Sports Elbow Brace.
For assistance selecting the right product for your needs, book a video consultation with a Bauerfeind expert: Book Video Call, or call us on 1300 668 466.
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Bauerfeind products are developed at our innovation and manufacturing facility in Zeulenroda, Germany. Based on years of scientific research, our award-winning braces and support garments are highly recommended by medical professionals and athletes worldwide.