Elbow support varies in type and purpose. It’s important that you get one that suits your condition; otherwise, it will aggravate your injuries or cause you one. The first response for this is to seek the opinion of a medical expert together with a prescription. It will also help if you have a quick guide with you just in case your doctor entertains some commercial options. The best elbow support reviews help a ton here, but it pays to know the following:
Types of elbow supports
A sleeve is a single-piece, pull-over type of elbow support used for compression and mild support. Although it doesn’t harness the joint as much as a brace does, it’s an excellent choice for someone who intends to wear it under his clothes or during activities that require full arm mobility. Sleeves are versatile elbow supports since it can be used with or without injuries as well as the lack of any activities. It’s also cheaper and can be bought over the counter. Doctor’s prescription may not be required in most cases.
Slings and immobilizers
For users with serious injuries and elbow conditions, slings and immobilizers are used to isolate the elbow area. Most of the time, these are used for those with fractures or injuries that need not be moved. Slings can be simple strapped pieces of cloth while immobilizers are thicker and can bear metal and hinged parts to stop the joint from moving. These types of supports can be bought over the counter but are usually prescribed by doctors.
Brace supports can be used for both injury recovery and protection when engaged in physically challenging activities. The best elbow support reviews would surely recommend this if you’re into basketball or weightlifting. These are thicker than sleeves and have metal springs embedded within the fabric material. Braces utilize Velcro straps and can either be opened or closed type depending on the comfort level the user wants to achieve. By far, braces give more compression and support to the joints and muscles more than the sleeves can provide. However, it’s crucial that a user seek a medical opinion before wearing one to diagnose any underlying injury.
Athletic vs. non-athletic
Most elbow supports are made for athletic purposes except for the slings and immobilizers. Sleeves and braces both have compression and support that can aid pain and other elbow issues. It’s important to remember that a person doesn’t have to be athletic to wear a brace or a sleeve. Habits like continuous computer work, overextension of the arm, and strenuous push-ups can cause elbow pain. Constant lifting is another culprit too. For sports activities, a thicker brace might be needed.
Choosing based on injuries
Of all the injuries a joint could experience, tendonitis is one of the most common. This is when a tendon becomes swollen and fluids are trapped on it which increases the elbow’s sensitivity to pain. Advanced cases of tendonitis can be excruciatingly painful and may need surgical operations for treatment. For mild cases, the Nordic Lifting sleeve is preferable according to the best elbow support reviews. But if a user is nursing a post-surgical tendonitis, an immobilizer might be needed.
Tennis or golfer’s elbow
Tennis elbow is medically known as lateral epicondylitis, a condition where the pain is felt on the outside of the arm where the elbow meets the forearm. It happens when you overuse your arms and your tendons experience tiny tears. Anyone, not just tennis players, can experience a tennis elbow. The name just stemmed from the strokes in the sport where the tendons experience the same stress due to the poor racquet hold. For this, the compression from Copper Compression Sleeve will help as part of the treatment.
Dislocation is a serious injury of the elbow that needs immediate medical attention. Some may need a sling or immobilizer once the treatment is finished. It takes time for this injury to heal and the doctors would likely recommend a full immobility of the affected arm. A person suffering from a bone dislocation in the elbow simply can’t purchase any support he wishes to use. The prescription of a medical expert is needed here to ensure that it will not worsen the injury. No matter what best elbow support reviews you read, you have to follow the doctor’s orders.
Sprains and ligament injury
Sprains are minor elbow injuries caused by too much use of the arms. Sometimes, it can be treated with the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method. It’s a self-care method of attending to minor injuries like sprain or ligament stress. When it comes to sprain, you can use a sleeve to keep the affected area warm. This support will promote better circulation and muscle flexibility to prevent further injuries. In terms of ligament injury, the seriousness would affect the choice of support. A doctor’s intervention might be needed.
The old folks experience arthritis, and as you know, it hurts really bad. Their joints become stiff and painful when they try to move. It’s a myriad of other joint diseases and the least that the affected individual can do is seek continuing treatment and use a sleeve or brace with the right compression. As you know, the heat helps increase blood flow in the area of the elbow that reduces the inflammation. Elbow supports like those from Venom Sports Fitness are helpful aids in the hot and cold treatment method.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Those who keep working on the computer or use their hands a lot may feel a tingling, numb, or weak sensation on their arms. It’s due to the excessive pressure in a major nerve where the fluids tend to get stored, thus producing a painful feeling that stretches up into the elbow area. Doctors (and the best elbow support reviews) recommend the use of compression sleeves like the Kunto support to keep the arm area warm. It will promote blood flow and better oxygen supply for the nerve can recover.
Bursitis-bursa is a condition where the fluid sacs called bursae are swollen. This is caused by repetitive and excessive joint movement. It can affect any joint in the body just like how it will make your elbows ache. Some cases need to have the arm immobilized with the use of a sling or an immobilizer together with the treatment. Minor cases will go away after a few weeks if the blood flow in the joint is enhanced through wearing a sleeve or brace. If you keep using your elbow as support, get a brace like LiveUp Sports Brace to keep it padded.
Features you should look for
Dual-strapped braces offer more support than a single-strapped design. Look for one that doesn’t just have two finger pulls in it, but a piece with a strong Velcro lock. According to the best elbow support reviews, this aspect is something many brands fail to address. The last piece you want to get is a brace whose straps are popping when you move your hand. Those with industrial-grade Velcro locks are gems but always keep an eye on the fabric material. Neoprene is the usual material but there are also blended ones. Avoid latex if you have a sensitive skin.
Due to the compression and heat retention purpose of elbow supports, you’ll experience sweating. It pays to have one that can wick sweat or has liners that can absorb the moisture. This will prevent the sticky feeling when wearing the support as well as the bad odor of trapped sweat. Sleeves and braces usually have this feature but there are some that don’t. Neoprene or spandex paired with polyester will be a good purchase. One good example is the LiveUp Elbow Support.
A wide range of sizes
The most common issue of users when buying an elbow support is the inaccurate sizing charts. To admit, it’s quite difficult to find a support that can promise an accurate sizing. Your best bet here is a product seller that will allow replacements in case your purchase the wrong one. The best elbow support reviews would surely help you find one. It’s important that you consider products with a wide range of sizes especially if you have “bat wings” or meaty arms. This will give you bigger fits that don’t choke the limbs.
Air and gel cell
Air cells are excellent features as it targets a certain part of your elbow with more pressure. Getting a support with air cells is a matter of choice but it definitely makes a difference in the compression department. The pneumatic pressure it produces adds up to the soothing effect of the compression. You can also opt for a gel pad that is less likely to flatten even if used frequently. This is just an added feature and is optional depending on what you need.
If you can’t nail the exact size of your choice of elbow support, you might as well get one that’s highly adjustable. Braces that have long straps are good choices in case you plan to tone your arm muscles. This way, you no longer have to buy another brace in the future. The adjustable feature of an elbow sleeve will also be beneficial if you want different levels of compression. Such thing works best when you’re nursing an injury.
The best elbow support reviews will tell you that mobility is necessary for athletic activities. Sleeves are typically one of the best options for this feature but there are also braces that will allow full arm mobility. This could be used for games like golf, tennis, badminton, and more. Elbow supports that allow full range of motion without sacrificing the soothing effect of compression is the best choice. Still, you should heed the advice of your doctor if you’re a competitive athlete.
Like what I said earlier, it’s quite difficult to purchase an elbow support because of the poor sizing chart. When this happens, your saving grace would be the warranty the seller has to offer. Some have a full money-back guarantee or replacement terms in case you’re not satisfied with your purchase. Warranties vary per seller and some can only be limited. Most of the time, extended warranty terms are the catch of many sellers to stand out in the market.
Things to consider
An elbow support can be affordable but that doesn’t mean it’s always low in quality. There are supports that can last for years even in regular use. It depends on the material and the construction. Those with double stitching and four-way stretch material are the best as it can endure more battering and pulling.
However, the durability of the elbow support also depends on how you wash it. Most of the pieces available nowadays are best washed by hand and hung to dry. The rubber material may wrinkle if you toss it into the washing machine. This is exactly what the best elbow support reviews have to say.
Above all, it’s important that you’re comfortable wearing the elbow support you purchased. Its purpose is to protect you from pain and help you ease injuries. If these intentions are defeated by itchy fabric, very tight fit, and popping Velcro locks, the elbow support isn’t a wise buy.
Level of support
Make sure that you know well what you’re looking for. If you want a mild support, get yourself a sleeve. For a higher level of joint protection and compression, a brace is the one for you. Slings and immobilizers would be best for those with serious elbow conditions as long as it’s prescribed by a physician.
The aesthetic of the elbow support is the cherry on top. You may or may not have it, but the design surely adds more value. If there’s one elbow support that’s known for its stylish look, it would be the Kunto Fitness Support Sleeve.
This is just a simple guide for getting your new joint support. The best elbow support reviews surely help, but it pays to have a specific checklist of what to look for.