Supports and braces are used in injuries to the joints, ligaments or bones. They help in faster healing by stabilizing the joint. Depending on the location and type of injury, there are many types of supports and braces for the elbow joint available which are discussed below.
Tennis Elbow Brace or Epicondylitis Clasp
As the name itself suggests, they are made for treating Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylitis) and Golfer's Elbow (medial epicondylitis). The clasps are commonly made of plastic and are 'U' shaped, so they can fit nicely around the upper forearm. If the patient is suffering from tennis elbow, then it applies pressure to the extensor tendons and in case of golfer's elbow, it applies pressure to the flexor tendons. It provides protection to the tendon and helps in decreasing the strain and force placed on them when the wrist is used. It also applies pressure to the muscles which in turn helps in absorbing any shocks to the tendons.
The brace can be modified to treat either tennis or golfer's elbow by changing the technique of wearing it. It helps in treatment of the tennis elbow when it is put on beneath the forearm with the bigger side applying pressure to the outer elbow. It helps in treatment of golfer's elbow if it is rotated so that it is over the front of elbow with the bigger side covering the inner elbow.
Epicondylitis brace is another substitute, which can be used in treatment of elbow injuries. It is commonly a neoprene support comprising of a strap surrounding the upper forearm. It helps in treatment of both the conditions by applying pressure. Epicondylitis brace is more comfortable and easier to wear for prolonged periods of time.
Neoprene Elbow Supports
Neoprene Elbow Supports help in supporting the overall joint. They also keep the tendons, muscles, and joint warm by retaining body heat. The joints and muscles work more competently if they are warm as opposed to when they are cold. This additional warmth promotes blood circulation to the area and leads to faster healing.
There are 2 types of neoprene elbow supports available; wrap-around as well as pull-on. The wrap-around type of support commonly comes in one size that can fit everyone. It attaches around the elbow with the use of Velcro. This helps in those injuries which cause swelling of the elbow and can be continued to use even after the swelling has receded as it adapts to the size it is worn on. The pull-on supports give a feeling of stability around the joint. Usually, the measurement of the elbow is taken for the right size and fit.
Padded Elbow Supports
Padded elbow supports are like simple neoprene elbow supports with the exception of additional padding in order to protect the tip of the elbow. Padded elbow supports are useful when there is additional pressure applied on the elbow. It also helps in bursitis, as the padding gives extra protection to the irritated elbows. It is also helpful for athletes when playing contact sports or those sports where there is a possibility of falling and landing on the elbow, e.g. basketball and volleyball.