Best tennis elbow brace


1Injuries on the court or sports field are not uncommon. To quickly relieve pain, braces or elbow braces are used. There are now many on the market that boast excellent quality, stylish performance and durability in use. See below for the most popular braces on Amazon.

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 a brace. By creating pressure around the area of the injury, the brace reduces pain.

Below we will introduce the main brace groups. The groups differ in design and use. The top 3 products ranked by Amazon are shown in each group.

I. Braces in the form of clasp straps.

tennis elbow braceThese products are miniature and versatile. They are easy to adjust to your forearm size. Often, you will be able to use them for any localisation of pain (both outer and inner). 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 straps is also their disadvantage. The small compression area doesn’t allow you to relieve your muscles well and change their traction angle. Also, you cannot use them if you have injured your shoulder triceps.

Perhaps these fixators will suit you if you have a small area of tendon inflammation. Yes, it’s worth noting their short duration. But it’s offset by the nice 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.

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

1.Senteq tennis elbow brace tendonitis for men and women
Strap-shaped brace with adjustable compression strength and gel cushion to apply pressure to the epicondylitis area.

Advantages:

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

Cons:

  • With frequent use, the Velcro material wears out and the fixation reliability suffers.
  • Design does not allow use in epicondylitis medialis.
  • Although good air permeability, some users reported misting over the locking area

2. Pacearth golf tennis elbow brace with metal buckle

Elegant strap with adjustable compression force and wide gel padding. Good option for the initial elbow of a tennis or golf player.

Pros:

  • Made of neoprene and PVC. These materials are distinguished by their strength and durability, good air permeability and do not irritate the skin.
  • Comfortable Design. You will be able to place the strap at any pain point. Metal clips for strap fixation are durable.
  • Adjustable size. Two different strap lengths allow you to adjust to any forearm size.
  • Standard package includes 2 pieces.

Cons:

  • Small buckle area. With a lot of force, the clasp may fail and the hold-down will be loose. Constant re-locking of the strap leads to wear and tear.
  • A narrow strap. Its area is insufficient for sufficient pressure on the muscles, so it may not be suitable for chronic tennis elbow form.
  • Design. The bright logo interferes with office use. It will not fit a classic dress style.

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

A cross between the first and the second version. The manufacturer has relied on the fabrication materials. The combination of ethylene vinyl acetate (somewhat similar to rubber), spandex, synthetic rubber and nylon increases resistance to wear 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.

A kind of pouch for your elbow. They create a large compression area for the muscles of the forearm and lower third of the shoulder. Most often made with a special knitting process. This technology distributes the pressure of the fabric evenly over the area of the arm, which relieves it quite well.

The first thing that distinguishes compression sleeves from other braces is their spectacular appearance. Such a thing will turn you into an alpha athlete on the court or golf course.

In spite of a fair number of fans, the brace does have some drawbacks. The first is the difficulty of finding the right size. Yes, the manufacturers write how to measure your hand correctly, but the model 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 problem is maintenance. These retainers need to be hand-washed, in cool water and without the addition of harsh chemicals. Your powder can ruin it. Of course, it all depends on the material the retainer is made of, but this disadvantage spoils the reputation of compression sleeves.

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

1. Kunto fitness elbow brace compression support sleeve
A compression sleeve made of nylon, spandex and rubber. In our opinion, this construction has more disadvantages compared to the narrow closure. Its quality depends on the right size. If you manage to find the perfect size, you’ll 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. Relieved muscle strain does not irritate the sore area.
  • The product will not stretch or unbuckle during play, as there are no locking straps on it.

Cons:

  •  If sized incorrectly, 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 washing detergents
    Only dry in a warm, dry place to avoid damaging the material. If you dedicate a lot of time to exercising, the brace will not have enough time to dry.
  • In chronic forms of lateral epicondylitis, compression is insufficient. Pain worsens or remains unchanged.

2. PowerLix elbow brace compression support

This product is made of spandex and nylon and has a slightly different appearance. However, it maintains all its advantages and disadvantages. Moreover, this product has a 100% money-back guarantee.

3. Bauerfeind — epitrain — elbow support

We have gone a bit away from the Amazon rankings to give this type of brace a chance. In our opinion, the idea of elbow sleeves is a good one in theory. In practice, this idea was best implemented by the German company Bauerfeind. 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 that of its counterparts.
This brace is our recommendation for chronic epicondylitis.

Pros:

  •  Manufacturer’s expertise. Bauerfeind was founded in 1929 and specialises in orthopaedic products.
  • Unique knitting technology. The elbow pads are knitted as if they were made of knitted material, which feels as if it were its own skin. Unlike similar products, the material holds firmly and does not roll away.
  •  The fabric is perfectly air- and moisture-permeable. You won’t feel any irritation even after several hours of play.
  • Silicone inlay with reinforcing ribs. This part perfectly relieves the sore tendon area. This makes pain management easier and more reliable.

Cons:

  • Price. 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 as an inheritance. The price is justified.
  • Care. Despite the excellent properties, washing and drying this brace requires special attention.
  •  Size selection. Yes, even champions have problems. Despite the 6 standard sizes, sometimes it is difficult to find the right one.

III. Combinations of variants I and II

Some manufacturers try to take the best from their competitors and make a combination of options I and II. Sometimes they turn out to be effective solutions.

Here is what the customer ratings on amazon say about it:

1. Yavoun adjustable tennis elbow support brace.

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

This product will suit you if your elbow pain occurs during everyday physical activity. It is not suitable for sports.

Pros:

  • Wearing a brace fixes the most problematic areas — the upper forearm and lower arm. Pressure in these areas relieves muscle tension in the points of attachment to the bones.
  •  Large fixation area creates support for the elbow joint which reduces pain on bending the arm.
  • Low price makes the product affordable

Cons:

  • Restricts bending at the elbow. You won’t be able to fully bench press a barbell from the chest or take a good swing to hit a tennis ball.
  • Velcro straps. We have already written that this type of fastener is not durable.

2. Vive elbow brace

Vive Elbow Brace is sewn from nylon. It is padded at the elbow and cushions the elbow bursitis. The straps are fixed with additional loops, providing excellent fixation.
We recommend this harness for domestic use. For sports, this design is uncomfortable.

Advantages:

  • Versatile design. Suitable for right and left elbows.
  • Large fixation 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 bench press a barbell from the chest or have a good swing for hitting a tennis ball.
  • Velcro straps. As we said before, this type of closure is not durable.

3. Corpower elbow brace

The main feature of this brace is the presence of metal inserts (ribs). With this brace, you will loosen your elbow tightly as the inserts produce a significant amount of stiffness. This brace is suitable if your elbow pain persists even without strain. These are probably the most important benefits.

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

Causes 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 transferred to the bone via the tendon.

With frequent, violent contractions (throwing, hitting with a racket, active finger work) or prolonged contraction (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 leads to pain and limitation of movement.

The pain varies in nature. It ranges from localized and mild to diffuse and severe. Initially, it only bothers you when you are physically working (doing sports or working with your 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

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 fixation 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 his 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 breaks down2. She has described how they are repaired.

Medicine now 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 cases of acute trauma (first-time pain), collagen type 1 is converted to collagen type 2. This transition is considered reversible, as collagen type two is able to return to collagen type one.

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

Depending on the severity of the pain, different treatments may be prescribed. It is worth seeing a doctor to find the right treatment.

Tennis elbowWhat should I do before seeing a doctor?

First of all, the intensity of the strain should be reduced. This will create the conditions for the damaged tissue to heal. Ideally, you should change your sport. If you cannot imagine your life without tennis or baseball, you should work with your physiotherapist. Your physiotherapist will be able to help you adjust your hitting or throwing technique, as well as to train your tendon, and strengthen the extensor muscles of the forearm.

When talking to the doctor, ask for an anti-inflammatory medication (NSAId). 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 resorted to. Its purpose is to change the load vector of the muscle. After surgery, the muscles will pull the bone at a different angle, which will significantly reduce the 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 have told you about the most popular braces on amazon in the first half of 2021. It might seem that an inexpensive brace 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 disease.

Only a doctor, together with a physiotherapist, can cure you. Before making a purchase, consult an orthopaedic surgeon and undergo the necessary examinations. Don’t forget that elbow pain is a symptom of a whole group of diseases of the upper extremity.

Most importantly, don’t 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
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