Best tennis elbow brace


Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a pain syndrome that occurs along the outside of the elbow joint. It is caused by overloading of the extensor muscles of the forearm. In rare cases, the problem lies in the extensor muscles of the shoulder.

The cause of the pain is inflammation at the attachment point of the muscle tendon to the bone.

One popular way to reduce pain before going to the doctor is to use an elbow brace or brace. By creating pressure around the area of the injury, the brace reduces pain.

In the following, we will introduce the main brace groups. The groups differ in design and usage. Each group contains the top 3 products as ranked by Amazon.

These products are petite and versatile. They are easy to fit to your forearm size. Often, you will be able to use them for any localisation of pain (both external and internal). They are worth adding to your arsenal if you spend a lot of time at the computer or doing any monotonous hand work. A bonus is the affordable price.

The advantage of these braces is also their disadvantage. The small compression area does not allow you to relieve the muscles well and change their pulling angle. Also, you cannot use them if you have injured your shoulder triceps.

Perhaps these fixators will work for you with a small area of tendon inflammation. Yes, it is worth noting that they are short-lived. But it is compensated for by the pleasant price.

An interesting bonus. If you put the product in the freezer for a couple of hours, the gel pad cools down the injured area.

1. Braces in the form of strap buckles.

tennis elbow brace

tennis elbow brace

These products are petite and versatile. They are easy to fit to your forearm size. Often, you will be able to use them for any localisation of pain (both external and internal). They are worth adding to your arsenal if you spend a lot of time at the computer or doing any monotonous hand work. A bonus is the affordable price.

The advantage of these braces is also their disadvantage. The small compression area does not allow you to relieve the muscles well and change their pulling angle. Also, you cannot use them if you have injured your shoulder triceps.

Perhaps these fixators will work for you with a small area of tendon inflammation. Yes, it is worth noting that they are short-lived. But it is compensated for by the pleasant price.

An interesting bonus. If you put the product in the freezer for a couple of hours, the gel pad cools down the injured area.

3 most popular products on Amazon from this group (2021):

1. Senteq tennis elbow tendon bracelet for men and women

Strap-shaped brace with adjustable compression force and gel cushion for pressure on the epicondylitis area.

Pros:

  • Made of durable neoprene. This material retains the gel pad well when in motion and creates an even, constant compression. The Velcro fastening material imitates burlap hooks and gives a secure hold on the strap. The less often you fasten the strap, the longer it lasts
  • Probably one of the few options where the width of the product is well chosen. On the one hand, good pressure is created on the source of pain. On the other hand, the even compression of the forearm changes the angle of muscle traction, which also reduces pain. These proportions do not interfere with movement

Cons:

  • The Velcro material wears out with frequent use and the retention suffers
  • The design does not allow use in medial epicondylitis
  • Despite good air permeability, some users have reported misting of the locking area

2. Pacearth golf tennis elbow brace with metal buckle

Sleek strap with adjustable compression strength and wide gel padding. A good option for the initial stage of a tennis or golf player’s elbow.

Pros:

  • Made of neoprene and PVC. These materials are distinguished by their strength and durability, they allow good air passage and do not irritate the skin
  • Comfortable design. You will be able to place the strap at any pain point. Metal strap retention brackets are durable
  • Size adjustment. Two types of straps in different lengths allow adjustment to any forearm size
  • There are 2 pieces in the standard pack.

Cons:

  • Small buckle area. With great force, the buckle may not be able to withstand and the fixation may become loose. Repeated re-locking of the strap leads to wear and tear
  • Narrow strap. Its area is insufficient for sufficient pressure on the muscles, so it may not be suitable for chronic tennis elbow formations
  • The bright logo interferes with office use. It won’t go with classic clothing styles

3. Elbow brace 2 pack for tennis & golfer’s elbow pain relief

Something in between the first and second option. The manufacturer has relied on the materials of construction. The combination of ethylene vinyl acetate (somewhat reminiscent of rubber), spandex, synthetic rubber and nylon increases durability and gives the product good breathability. But, the buckle…It is the Achilles’ heel of this brace. A nice bonus is that it comes with 2 straps for a good price.

II. Compression sleeves.

tennis elbow support braceCompression Sleeves

Compression sleevs

A kind of cover for your elbow. They create a large compression area for the muscles of the forearm and lower third of the shoulder. They are most often made with a special knitting process. This technology distributes the pressure of the fabric evenly over the arm area, which is good for relieving pressure.

The first thing that sets compression sleeves apart from other braces is their spectacular appearance. It will make you look like an alpha athlete on the court or golf course.

Despite a fair number of admirers, the brace has certain inconveniences. The first is the difficulty of finding the right size. Yes, the manufacturers write how to measure the hand correctly, but the range offers only 3 to 6 sizes. This is inconvenient. The right size is the cornerstone of the effectiveness of these retainers. If there is insufficient compression, they are ineffective.

Another major issue is care. These retainers need to be washed by hand, in cool water and without the addition of harsh chemicals. Your powder can ruin it. Of course, it all depends on the material from which the retainer is sewn, but this disadvantage spoils the reputation of compression sleeves.

Here’s what people buy most often on Amazon from this group:

1. Kunto fitness elbow brace compression support sleeve

A compression sleeve made of nylon, spandex and rubber (a polymer resistant material). In our opinion, this construction has more disadvantages compared to a narrow clasp. The quality of its performance depends on the right size. If you manage to find the perfect size, you will be satisfied.

Pros:

  • The elbow pad has a knitted structure. This construction distributes the pressure evenly over the forearm and lower third of the shoulder and relieves the muscles well. The relieved muscles do not irritate the inflamed area
  • The product will not stretch or unbuckle during play as there are no locking straps

Cons:

  • If the wrong size is selected, the compression may be strong or insufficient. In the first case, the elbow pad restricts movement. In the second case, it does not perform its function. Also, if the elbow pads are too small, they compress the intradermal lymph vessels and veins. Microcirculation is impaired, resulting in swelling of the hand or forearm
  • Uncomfortable to wash. Only in cool water and not with all detergents
  • Only dry in a warm, dry place to avoid damaging the material. If you spend a lot of time exercising, the brace will not have time to dry

In chronic forms of lateral epicondylitis, compression is insufficient. Pain is increased or unchanged

2. PowerLix elbow brace compression support

Made from spandex and nylon, this product is slightly different in appearance from the previous product. However, it retains all its pluses and Cons. Separately, it is worth noting that the retailer guarantees a 100% refund if required.

3. Bauerfeind — epitrain — elbow support

We’ve stepped back a little from Amazon’s rankings to give this type of brace a chance. In our opinion, the idea of elbow sleeves is good in theory. In practice, the German company Bauerfeind has best implemented this idea. Their EpiTrain Elbow Support — it is Mike Tyson among braces, because it works for sure. Once you put it on, you won’t be able to refuse. And, of course, its price is an order of magnitude higher than its counterparts.

This brace is our recommendation for a chronic form of epicondylitis.

Pros:

  • The expertise of the manufacturers. Bauerfeind was founded in 1929 and specialises in orthopaedic products
  • Unique knitting technology. The elbow pad is knitted from a knitted material that fits around your arm as if it were its own skin. Unlike its counterparts, the material holds firmly and does not roll away
  • The fabric is perfectly permeable to air and moisture. You won’t experience irritation even after hours of play
  • Silicone insert with stiffening ribs. This part perfectly relieves the area of the inflamed tendon. This makes pain management easier and more reliable

Cons:

  • Almost $80 on amazon. This is one case where a quality item will last a long time. You will be able to pass it on to your children. The price is justified.
  • Despite its excellent properties, washing and drying this bracelet requires special care

Size selection. Yes, champions have problems too. Despite the 6 standard sizes, sometimes it’s difficult to find the right size

III. Combinations of options I and II

Some manufacturers try to take the best from the competition and make a combination of I and II options. Sometimes effective solutions are obtained.

Here’s what the customer ratings on amazon have to say about it:

1. Yavoun adjustable tennis elbow support brace.

This neoprene brace is the top three most popular on Amazon in this group. It has a large surface area and two straps to adjust the size around the biceps and forearm. You adjust the strength of the compression yourself, depending on the intensity of your symptoms.

This product is suitable for you if your elbow pain occurs during domestic physical activity. It is not comfortable for sports.

Pros:

  • Wearing a brace fixes the most problematic areas — the upper forearm and lower arm. The pressure in these areas relieves the muscles in the attachment points to the bones
  • Large locking area creates support for the elbow joint, which reduces pain when bending the arm
  • The low price makes the product affordable.

Cons:

  • Restricts bending at the elbow. You will not be able to fully push the bar up from the chest or take a good swing to hit a tennis ball
  • Velcro fasteners. We have already written that this type of fastener is not durable

2. Vive elbow brace

Vive Elbow Brace is sewn of nylon. It has a soft padding in the elbow area and alleviates pressure in case of elbow bursitis. The straps are secured with additional loops, providing excellent retention.

We recommend this brace for domestic use. For sports, this design is uncomfortable.

Pros:

  • Versatile design. This brace is suitable for both right and left elbows
  • Large locking area creates support for the elbow joint, which reduces pain when bending the arm
  • Helps with elbow bursitis — inflammation at the top of the elbow.

Cons:

  • Restricts bending at the elbow. You will not be able to fully push the bar up from the chest or take a good swing to hit a tennis ball
  • Velcro fasteners. We have already written that this type of fastener is not durable

3. Corpower elbow brace

The main feature of this brace is the presence of metal inserts (stiffening ribs). In this brace, you will give your elbow a great deal of relief because the inserts create considerable rigidity. This brace is suitable if your elbow pain persists even without strain. These are probably all the essential benefits.

The Corpower elbow brace has disadvantages similar to its bandmates. It is uncomfortable to use for sports and restricts elbow flexion.

Cause and symptoms of epicondylitis

Tendons have a low threshold of elasticity. They are an intermediate link between bone and muscle. To move a part of the body, the muscle contracts and the energy of contraction is given to the bone through the tendon.

With frequent, sharp contractions (throwing, hitting with a racket, active finger work) or with prolonged compression (working with power tools), the tendon does not have time to recover and becomes inflamed. Prolonged inflammation changes the structure of the tendon and it becomes weaker. The inflammation causes pain and limitation of movement.

The pain varies in nature. It varies from localised and mild to diffuse and severe. Initially, the pain is only caused by physical activity (sports or working with the hands). Gradually, the entire tendon and some part of the muscle becomes inflamed. This leads to an increase in symptoms. The discomfort is felt in everyday life and when moving the arm normally.

Treatment

Doctor's appointment

Peter AA Struijs and all in their study of Orthotic devices for the treatment of tennis elbow analysed articles on the treatment of epicondylitis from 1966-1999 and concluded that braces and fixators do not help to treat the condition1. Only a combination of NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory drugs) physiotherapy (exercise) and exercise management can eliminate or significantly reduce pain. Any fixator is used as a prevention of re-injury.

Doctors see epicondylitis as a mechanical injury to the tissue. They base their treatment on this belief.

The mechanism of the disease suggests that the tennis elbow is a tendinopathy (a change in the structure of the tendon due to long-term inflammation) rather than a partial rupture of the tendon.

Jill Cook, in her article — Is tendon pathology a continuum? A pathology model to explain the clinical presentation of load-induced tendinopathy, showed how the collagen structure of ligaments and tendons is affected.  She described how they are repaired.

Medicine today knows that the severity of the disease is directly related to the percentage of different types of collagen in the injured tendon. Such an assessment helps to develop treatment tactics and give a prognosis for recovery.

For example, in the case of an acute injury (pain first appeared), type one collagen changes into type two collagen. This transition is considered reversible, as collagen type 2 is able to return to collagen type 1.

Chronic pain syndrome (pain persists for more than 6 months) indicates prolonged inflammation. It leads to pronounced wear and tear of the tendon. Its structure becomes saturated with type 3 rough collagen. Unfortunately, this situation has a poor prognosis. The physician and physiotherapist only fight for the part of the tendon that remains healthy.

Depending on the severity of the pain, different treatments may be prescribed. You should see your doctor to find the right treatment.

What should I do before my doctor’s appointment?

The first thing to do is to reduce the intensity of the load. This will create conditions for the damaged tissue to heal. The ideal option is to change your sport. If you can’t imagine your life without tennis or baseball, you should work with your physiotherapist. Your physiotherapist can help you adjust your hitting or throwing technique and work with your tendon and forearm extensor muscles.

When talking to your doctor, ask for anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAId) to be prescribed. They have been shown to be effective3. Taking these medicines reduces the severity of inflammation and pain. But it is worth remembering that without correcting the strain, the pain will return.

In advanced cases, surgical treatment is used. Its purpose is to change the load vector on the muscles. After surgery, the muscles will pull the bone at a different angle, which will greatly reduce pain.  Unfortunately, statistics show the low effectiveness of this method because scars appear at the surgical site. They interfere with the normal functioning of the muscles.

In conclusion

We’ve told you about the most popular braces on amazon in the first half of 2021. It might seem that an inexpensive retainer will solve many problems, but this is not the case. Braces are not a panacea for epicondylitis. They significantly alleviate the symptoms but do not eliminate the cause of the condition.

Only a doctor, together with a physiotherapist, will be able to cure you. Before making a purchase, consult an orthopaedic surgeon and have the necessary examinations carried out. Remember that elbow pain is a symptom of a whole group of disorders of the upper extremity.

Most importantly, do not despair. Even Thanos, with his philosophy of inevitability, was defeated. Needless to say, victory over an inflamed tendon? You will get over it. That is the way!

List of references:

  1. Struijs PAA, Smidt N, Arola H, van Dijk CN, Buchbinder R, Assendelft WJJ.
    Orthotic devices for the treatment of tennis elbow
  2. J L Cook, C R Purdam. Is tendon pathology a continuum? A pathology model to explain the clinical presentation of load-induced tendinopathy
  3. Pattanittum P, Turner T, Green S, Buchbinder R. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for treating lateral elbow