Sometimes, sporting activities far exceed the physical and mental preparation of athletes, causing various injuries, many of which are directed at the elbow. However, the use of extra accessories such as elbow braces can prevent, treat or reduce the risk of trauma.
This article is a guide to the best compression sports elbow sleeves for all sports, features, materials, type of support, size, price and much more. This material can help you choose the right item depending on your situation.
What are the most common elbow injuries in sport?
Elbow injuries occur for many reasons, mainly associated with poor physical condition, poor movement, lack of warm-up exercise, unevenness of the surface or unauthorised modification of the sports instrument.
They can affect the bones, muscles and other soft tissues, and depending on the level of damage, cause shooting pain, strain, deformity, tenderness and instability. If left untreated in time, they can lead to health complications. When it comes to the most common elbow injuries, there is a wide variety, many of which are specific to each sporting discipline.
This is the inflammation or injury of the elbow tendons that connect the muscle to the bone. Anyone can get injured, but it occurs most often in athletes who play tennis, golf, volleyball, rugby and climbing. It occurs as a result of repetitive movements, mostly associated with poor posture, muscle weakness, poor surface condition or loss of muscle elasticity.
The symptoms can be explained in 4 phases. The first 2 phases can cause intense, throbbing pain during and after sporting activity; in phase 3, problems with movement and in phase 4, total loss of mobility in the affected limb. It is advisable to treat before rupturing the tendon or affecting nearby muscles.
You can prevent or reduce elbow tendinitis by warming up and doing physical activities with rest and recovery periods to strengthen the muscles and ligaments of the arm equally. It is also advisable to use compression sports elbow sleeves with non-slip silicone to compress the joint and protect it.
Bursae are small sacs located between the bones and muscles of the elbow, which help the free movement of the joints without causing wear and tear on the bones. Some athletes may have complications known as bursitis, which is inflammation or irritation of the bursae.
It occurs from overuse of the elbow in activities such as volleyball, tennis, climbing and basketball, repeating the same movement for long periods of time, excessive muscle and joint activity, or after injury. A clear example is basketball players, because they constantly use their arms to shoot the basket, block, pass the ball and other movements, then as time goes by, you will notice stiffness and discomfort, the end result will be bursitis and you will have to stop your activities.
Symptoms begin with pain and tenderness in the affected area, difficulty with movements during sports, stiffness and swelling. The condition can vary according to the person’s organism, becoming chronic if not treated by a professional. During the injury it is important not to rest the elbows on surfaces or force it, it is recommended to use neoprene elbow braces.
This is the dislocation of the bones near the elbow. They slip out of place, which can detach pieces of cartilage and cause problems in the future. Symptoms include severe pain, distortion, swelling, deformity of the joint, tingling and loss of sensation and mobility of the arm.
It is one of the most common injuries in sporting disciplines, and many athletes have experienced it. An example could be that of a volleyball player, who often has to jump to block or spike but if he falls backwards, resting his hand with his arm extended, he can dislocate his elbow.
It is a situation that cannot be prevented and should be dealt with as quickly as possible before creating other serious health complications. The first step is to bring the bone back to its place of origin and immobilise the arm with the help of an elbow brace. To proceed with rehabilitation, gentle physical exercises are performed to restore mobility, muscle strength and sensation. But above all, it is necessary to follow the instructions of the doctor and orthopaedic surgeon. Some cases require ligament reconstruction.
This consists of the breakage of the bones that make up the elbow joint, as a result of an impact against the limb. It can be a simple crack or a complete break of the bone through to the skin. This type of situation can be considered an extreme case in sport and, depending on the situation, may require emergency surgery.
It is common in volleyball, rugby, basketball, climbing, hiking and mountain sports. They occur due to a sudden blow, fall on the limb due to poor surface condition or poorly executed movement. Symptoms begin with intense pain, loss of sensitivity and mobility, swelling, bruising and weakness of the arm and hand, and even deformity. In case of doing any mountain sport, hiking or climbing, it is advisable to be accompanied to receive first aid.
Fractures happen unexpectedly, but with the right protection and equipment, you can try to avoid them. If it does happen, there is the possibility of needing surgery with rehabilitation, which can be supplemented by the use of elbow braces to immobilise the area. The affected muscle can heal quickly and you can return to your usual sporting activities.
The ligament is a long, fibrous and very tough strap that facilitates natural, anatomical movement of the joints, but restricts abnormal movement by holding the joints together and in place, aids stabilisation and can prevent dislocation or fracture of the limb.
One of the main conditions of the ligament is known as a sprain. This has different levels of severity, the mildest will only stretch the ligament, if it is severe it will break, but in an extreme case, it could create other complications such as detachment of the cartilage or others. It occurs when you make a violent and involuntary movement, fall on the limb, when you stretch the arm and hit it with force or excessive use of the elbow, it is common in sports such as volleyball, basketball, tennis, rugby, hiking, climbing, mountain sports, badminton and other racquet sports.
After the ligament snaps, you will notice intense pain in the elbow followed by swelling, the affected area will become red and hot, instability even when trying to move the arm. In addition to specialist treatment, you can include a sports compression elbow brace to speed up the healing process.
Cartilage is found at the end of bones, it also forms part of some limbs of the body such as the ear, nose, rachilla and others, due to its elastic structure and lack of blood vessels, it helps to protect the bones against friction, wear and tear and injury, it can also help the free movement of joints.
This condition is known as chondropathy, which is the degeneration of the cartilage, which softens and decreases its strength. It can be hereditary in origin, but it also affects athletes who do high impact and repetitive activities such as Crossfit, volleyball, climbing, badminton, racket sports and mountain sports. You know you suffer from this condition if you have muscle pain, muscle inflammation, joint pain, stiffness and depending on the degree of damage, it can affect tendons and ligaments.
In which sports and physical activities is it common to wear sports elbow sleeves?
Elbow braces are a great support in many sporting disciplines, as they provide stability, protection and can help increase performance. They are used on-court for sporting activities or off-court as part of fitness, warm-up or rehabilitation.
Each discipline has unique characteristics that differentiate it from the rest, some require speed and agility, others need strength, endurance and intelligence, but the vast majority require protective accessories, adapted to the type of game and training.
The elbow brace is one of them, and to this day it has fulfilled its function, these are some of the sports that use it most:
Volleyball elbow braces: Volleyball is considered to be one of the safest sports. However, it is advisable to use sports elbow sleeves to prevent any injury, it is common that its participants perform jumps to block, spike and then fall hard to the sand, this can seriously affect the joints if you do not use protective equipment such as elbow braces.
Basketball elbow braces: Basketball is a sport in which you run up and down the court from one end of the court to the other, bouncing the ball and jumping to block and slam dunk into your opponent’s backboard. These are repetitive movements that can push the elbow and other joints to their limits, which is why many players use neoprene compression elbow braces.
Elbow braces for Crossfit: If you are just starting out in this discipline, it is essential to warm up and include protective equipment such as elbow sleeves, as your muscles and joints will be prone to injury due to the intensity of the activities. You will have to advance step by step to find your limit point, but if you want to go further and demand more from your body, you can do it, but first you must take all the necessary precautions to avoid hurting yourself.
Golf elbow braces: They are specially designed to prevent and treat injuries during sports activities related to golfer’s elbow or epicondylitis. Golfers often have injuries related to hitting hard with the golf club to reach the greatest possible distance, triggering conditions that affect the elbow joints.
Elbow braces for weightlifting and strength sports: Especially compression garments are of almost indispensable use when we practice a high performance sport with high physical demands, such as weightlifting; because, by the very nature of lifting heavy weights and repeated bending, our muscles, tendons and elbow joints tend to suffer and are prone to injury.
Rugby elbow braces: Rugby is a sport that has similarities to American football. You run back and forth with a ball in your arms, and when you catch the ball, your elbow is exposed, and if you don’t have an elbow support in that area, you can get hit and suffer a very serious fracture. Your participants use sports accessories for added protection and comfort.
Tennis, badminton and racquet sports elbow braces: This small group of sports have one thing in common, they all hit a ball, projectile or guide with the support of a racquet, making repetitive and somewhat forceful movements with the arm that can affect the elbow. Most players use an elbow support to protect themselves from injury and other damage.
What types of elbow compression sleeves are best for sports injuries?
The best compression elbow brace is one that fulfils its function and is to the person’s liking, if you wish to purchase one you should take into consideration the product information, physical condition and your requirement. To clarify further, imagine you suffer a minor injury that you can treat in the comfort of your home, then purchase a somewhat stiff elbow brace for volleyball, but which offers extra protection. This product does its job, and although it is not as common to use it in the game, it is to your liking, so you can say that it is the ideal elbow brace for your choice.
The following items are recommended by specialists and consumers, due to their excellent price-performance ratio, quality and functionality:
Elbow compression sleeve
This is an elbow brace with primary support and braces to relieve tension, pain and any other discomfort, it also works to treat injuries. It is made of high quality elastic materials, has a pleasant texture to the touch, use it on your elbow and you will feel a massage effect that will help with blood circulation and maintain body temperature thanks to the dosed compression, thus avoiding unwanted pressures. It is ideal for treating tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, tendonitis, and also offers extra protection during sporting activities.
Immobilising elbow support
In this case an elbow brace with removable inner padding system, elbow splint and light plastic reinforcements with metal for fractures and dislocations with custom fit to limit or block the movement of the joint is offered. Thanks to its non-slip silicone in combination with 4 bi-directional Velcro straps, hook-and-loop straps on the arm and forearm, the device will stay in place. The breathable, non-breathable fabric absorbs nearby liquid, keeping the skin clean, dry and germ-free. You can use it to treat minor fractures, severe fractures and dislocations after therapy or surgery.
Sports elbow brace
One of the most remarkable features of this elbow brace are the neoprene foam pads with internal anti-slip silicone band, it is flexible and works as a thermal insulator. They have the ability to absorb shocks without reducing mobility to the arm, its anatomical shape exerts constant pressure and distributed throughout the elbow and for added security, has two bidirectional Velcro straps to prevent slippage of the device. It is perfect to protect the joint against blows and violent movements, you can use it on and off the field in sports such as volleyball, basketball and rugby, to reduce pain, strengthen muscles and joints.
Neoprene orthopaedic elbow support
The orthopaedic neoprene elbow brace has an anatomical and lightweight design that fits snugly to the elbow, thanks to the neoprene produces a thermal effect that improves blood circulation and acts as a therapy to the muscles and ligament strengthening. It is easy to put on, has a mechanism for greater stability and protection to the joint, has seams and edges reinforced with nylon for greater durability. If you are into hiking, climbing, trekking or any other mountain sport that requires extra protection without compromising mobility, then this is the elbow brace for you.
Tendonitis elbow brace
This is an elbow brace that exerts distributed compression thanks to the help of nylon combined with two Velcro straps at the top and bottom for a custom fit. The inner area has an anti-slip silicone band at the top and bottom to prevent undue mobilisation of the device. This way, the affected tendons are relaxed and the pain is reduced, it is a good solution that can help you to improve your sports performance, you can also use it as a complement in rehabilitation.
Adjustable elbow brace
As the name suggests, it can be adjusted according to your requirements. It is made of neoprene covered by absorbent fabric with micro fibres to reduce moisture and odour, inside it has elastic bands of anti-slip silicone and for greater support and pressure it has two bi-directional straps in the upper and lower area. It is also worth noting the pressure it exerts on the muscle or tendon, thus relaxing and preventing it from receiving the full force of the muscle, helping to prevent, treat or reduce the risk of injury. It adapts easily to both elbows.
What features should you consider before choosing the best sports elbow brace for men or women?
The earliest known elbow braces were simple pieces made of fabric and pads, and their main function in sport was protection. As the years progressed, other materials and alloys were added to the manufacturing process. Today elbow supports are used on and off the court to treat, prevent or reduce injuries, and also help to increase sporting performance.
Depending on the sport
- Volleyball: It is a discipline that requires a great deal of physical and mental preparation. Due to the amount of jumping to spike, blocking and sudden falls, elbow braces are required to compress the muscles and joints evenly. This will help prevent or reduce the rate of fractures, dislocations and sprains, for which you can purchase an adjustable elbow brace.
- Golf: Although it seems that this sport does not lead to many injuries, golfers tend to have different types of ailments related to playing sports. A very common injury is that of the so-called golfer’s elbow, which is caused by the power exerted when the ball is hit with the golf club.
- Basketball: It is a sport of speed, jumps and many sudden blows, you need an elbow brace that does not limit the movements but that protects the muscles, joints and helps to reduce pain and tension. The sports elbow brace is the right one in this case, it meets all the requirements demanded in this sport.
- Crossfit: This is a high-impact sporting activity, and injuries are common, especially in beginners. The solution is strengthening with exercises adapted to your needs, in conjunction with a sports elbow brace and in a short time you will be able to exercise more safely.
- Rugby: For these power sports, a flexible ankle brace that provides pressure and stability is essential. This is due to the fact that in this sport, running at speed is required, which can lead to injuries or fractures due to sprains, which
- can cause the athlete to retire either in the short or long term.
Tennis, badminton and racket sports: The compression sports elbow brace is suitable for tennis, badminton and other racket sports. This product stands out for the silicone pads in combination with neoprene, they have the ability to absorb shocks without reducing the mobility of the arm, so you can perform at 100% in these disciplines.
- Weightlifting and fitness: In sports practices where we perform repetitive movements and also add high weights, the use of protective elements in the weakest and most exposed joints, such as the elbow or knee, becomes more important.
Research into new materials and alloys for the manufacture of sports products for different disciplines has been going on for many years. For example, anti-slip silicone, neoprene, nylon, absorbent fabrics can be used for the production of compression elbow sleeves with their respective fasteners.
- Anti-slip silicone elbow brace: Its compressive and anti-slip properties facilitate a better anatomical fit producing a massage effect, thermo heat on the elbow and prevents the movement of the joint regardless of the amount of liquid present in the skin, it is the ideal material for use in tendinitis, muscle pain, tension and sprains.
- Neoprene elbow brace: Neoprene can insulate against heat, water and other elements present in the environment. It is clean, free of germs and bacteria, its strength can exceed that of ordinary rubber, and it is widely used in elbow braces to treat injuries and other types of conditions.
- Nylon elbow sleeve: Nylon is thin, flexible, lightweight and very strong. Its use is focused on the textile industry, but it is gradually gaining ground in the sports area for the manufacture of sports equipment. When combined with other materials, the result can be incredible, a good example being the combination of nylon with Velcro in elbow support straps.
- Absorbent fabric elbow support: This is a network of very resistant micro fibres that can absorb large quantities of liquids without losing their shape or tearing, a feature that is highly valued in the industry. It is for this reason that it is included as a material for the construction of elbow braces and other sports accessories.
- Polyester elbow sleeve: It is a synthetic product obtained from petroleum, it does not stretch or shrink, it can be combined with other materials, it is light and germ-free. These are some of the most outstanding advantages, so there are plenty of reasons to include it in the manufacturing process of sports products.
Type of support
For the manufacture of support products, lightweight, resistant materials are required, with the ability to stretch, bend, adapt to the surface of the skin, without damage and tearing. These characteristics can only be offered by nylon, velcro, plastic, polyester and non-slip silicone. Their combination in the manufacturing process results in high quality support products that are perfect for the sport of your choice.
- Bidirectional velcro straps: This is one of the most widely used fastening systems in sports clothing due to its quality, resistance, low cost and simple mechanism. It is the ideal friend of every athlete, avoids undue mobilization of the device, exerts a customizable pressure on the joint and does not mistreat or irritate the skin.
- Nylon straps: They adapt quickly to the shape of the elbow and exert distributed pressure to relieve pain and other discomfort caused to the affected muscle. They will help the injury heal faster, have the advantage of stretching to cover more distance and provide distributed pressure on the muscles, and once you use them you will be amazed at their elasticity.
- Strap with hooks: Most commonly used for immobilising elbow braces and tendonitis. It allows customised levels of compression, is very light, resistant, it does not seat in its pressure, it does not mistreat or irritate the skin as well as it adapts to its surface, it can be stretched or reduced, it is highly recommended for use in tennis elbow, dislocations and fractures.
Many people are not aware of the importance of choosing an elbow brace according to the anatomy of the elbow, they should not be loose or too tight, in either of the two cases mentioned above can adversely affect the joint.
When you choose the right size in length and width, the product will work without any inconvenience, and the best thing is that you will be able to perform the movements naturally and you will feel comfortable while doing the sport activity and you will perform at 100%.
If you want to know the measurement of your elbow, you should have a tape measure at hand, pass it around the joint and you will get the result, which you should take into account when you want to buy the sportswear, some of these products are universal size.
The products mentioned in this article, in addition to fulfilling their functions, stand out for the beauty of their designs, multiple shades and varied textures in the fibre of the materials used, it is just a matter of choosing the one that best suits your needs.
If you have the opportunity to go to a volleyball, tennis, basketball or other sports match, you will notice that many of the participants use some of the compression sportswear mentioned here, due to the quality of the product and details in the design. In addition to their function, they are fashion forward garments. Athletes, apart from wanting to feel comfortable and protected, also want to be stylish and pleasing to the eye.
Being an athlete, and even more so if you are a professional, requires proper elbow protection so that you can continue to perform your career safely and comfortably. The only way to guarantee the effectiveness of the garment, is with the use of compression sports elbow pads, which are made with highly qualified, flexible and breathable materials that can perform in the joint, the benefits you expect so much, being its price a little higher than the rest, for its guaranteed protection and durability.