Basketball is a discipline that naturally requires constant physical effort. Therefore, all the extremities of the body are exposed to multiple injuries, especially the elbows, which are the engine of the throws that the player must perform to play the sport.
Therefore, you should know which are the sports elbow sleeves to use to prevent blows or a bad movement of the joint, as well as the types of elbow injuries, and the function of these compressive garments based on each type of treatment or injury. Anyone who plays basketball should bear in mind that taking care of the body is essential for healthy sports practice.
What are the most common elbow injuries when playing basketball?
Elbow injuries are common in basketball due to the frequency of flexibility and movement of the arm. In addition, the sudden movements made with the hand and the ball can have long term compromising consequences. Every injury has its complications and limitations, but the elbow is so delicate that an injury to any part of the ligaments, cartilage or muscle in general can affect the wrist or hand to such an extent that it can cause complete immobility.
Here are the most common types of elbow injuries in basketball:
This consists of inflammation of the tendons, which are responsible for joining the bones and muscles to give perfect movements. This type of injury causes pain on the outside of the elbow and when moving the arm. In basketball, the use of the elbows is present throughout the game because the arms are responsible for maintaining the rhythm and movement of the ball.
Therefore, it is the elbow that directly receives all the physical force due to turns, changes of direction, passes, and sudden movements. This causes tendonitis in the elbow joint, due to the accumulation of frequency, force, and tension generated by so much flexibility and stretching.
This refers to injury to the ligaments, also causing joint rupture, which are located around the elbow to perform a flexion and movement function throughout the limb. They occur in basketball when the player makes movements with too much force or uncontrolled, either by a sudden pull that causes injury to one or more ligaments. Basically, the elbow can be so badly affected that it requires the player to temporarily retire.
Even after recovery, it limits shooting in basketball practice. It should be noted that the elbow sprain requires a strict recovery period of a long time, because when stretching the arm in a normal way, the previous condition can be generated again, bringing greater consequences in the near future, detrimental to the athlete.
Also called “tennis elbow”, this occurs when the forearm muscle is specifically injured, which causes instability of the elbow causing tears in the tendon where the lateral epicondyle is located. Its main cause is due to overuse of the elbow, arm or wrists. This can lead to inflammation and pain of great intensity, but in the long term it can leave sequelae and prevent us from playing sport in a normal way.
In basketball it is very common to see this type of injury because positions and movements of flexing and extending the arm are practised continuously, which causes the muscle to rub against the bony parts causing gradual wear and tear on the athlete. Recovery may take time depending on the severity of the injury, i.e. whether or not it is treated in time.
Radial-humeral joint injury
This injury occurs in the elbow due to damage to the ligaments and joints that are affected by intense bending, twisting or throwing. The joint can break down due to a lack of strength in the elbow area, which decreases as the bones wear down when the repetition of movements in basketball practice is excessive and frequent.
The radial-humeral joint is the centre of function of all joints and ligaments as it is through this joint that they connect and make the elbow maintain its natural flexion and glide. Therefore, injury can greatly affect athletic development and even your long-term flexion ability.
Median or sweet bone neuritis
This refers to inflammation of the median nerve located in the arm, directly affecting the elbow on the inside, causing inflammation to reach the joint and throw it out of control. Its main cause is centred on repeated movements with the elbow, awkward postures, as well as the sudden movements that any sport requires.
Moreover, this injury can lead to bone deformities and long-term trauma, which can affect physical activity. Basketball requires specific passing, stretching, and elbow flexion at all times, so accidents of this type are to be expected. Symptoms include tenderness, pain, tingling, numbness, swelling and immobility of the arm extremity.
What types of sports elbow braces are best for basketball injuries?
The type of elbow brace you choose will work around the purpose for which you purchase it, so it is important that you research and evaluate the best types for your sporting performance. Taking into account aspects such as function and characteristics, as well as injury or prevention. Among the most relevant types are:
Elbow compression sleeves
This type of elbow brace is suitable for sports that require constant bending and use of force, as it will give the athlete a feeling of warmth and resistance, which helps to strengthen the elbow joints and keep the ligaments in good working order. In addition, its elastic fit will make it easy to place the garment with the adjustable pressure you want, moulding to your demands and comfort. On the other hand, its excellent compressive design provides pressure in the area to isolate any type of injury. For basketball practice it is highly recommended, as it is perfect to facilitate flexion and stretching without causing damage to the elbow area.
They are designed to help the tendon to relax and decrease the tension and inflammation of the tendon. This elbow brace has quick and lightweight benefits because of its general compression ability to the entire elbow, speeding up the recovery process from tendon trauma. However, it is important to recognise that this type of elbow brace is mostly used for recovering injuries. In basketball, this type of trauma is very common, so the epicondylitis elbow brace is often used as recovery therapy, or to keep tendons at optimal function.
Elbow braces for sprains
The best elbow braces to treat sprains are those that provide compression to the elbow area, because the tendons and joints in that area are prone to overload and break, so this type of garment provides heat and pressure to the ligaments and joints, thus helping them to take their course and the sprain disappears. In basketball, this type of injury is common, so athletes need an elbow brace to ensure the necessary protection of their limbs. It has been concluded that compression elbow sleeves are essential to treat and prevent injuries because they have the ability to exert heat pressure and stability at the same time.
This type of elbow brace is ideal for recovery and protection while playing sports, or for day-to-day activities. Its function is based on giving stability and support to the elbow, also its material is adjustable and non-slip, which will give the athlete greater comfort and safety when entering the game. In a sport as active as basketball, this function is vital because various limbs are in constant physical overload, which without stability in the elbow area, can present cases of tendinitis and dislocation.
What features should you consider before choosing the best sports elbow brace for basketball?
For basketball, it is ideal to purchase sports elbow sleeves that maintain their benefits even when in motion, in passing and shooting movements. To make the right choice, you need to research and compare characteristics such as manufacturing material, types of fastening, design, among other aspects that are relevant to the functioning of the product, whether for recovery processes, protection or injury prevention, which we will explain in detail below.
According to their function
- Elbow braces for pain: An injury can cause intense pain both in the elbow and in the arm in general. Because of this, compression elbow sleeves are the best to treat any kind of pain, because they allow relief sensations thanks to their pressure and heat contribution.
- Elbow supports for stabilisation: It is recognised that this type of elbow support helps to immobilise the joints, as well as being the most recommended for recovery processes. In basketball, they are used for problems with previous injuries, or to prevent them on the playing field, both from physical activity and from collisions or falls.
- Protective elbow braces: These are vital for basketball players, due to the fact that the elbow is at constant risk of trauma from overloaded activity, and this type of elbow brace, especially elastic ones, provide strength and stability so that no joint or ligaments suffer any damage.
- Recovery elbow braces: Compression elbow braces are designed to ensure an athlete’s recovery from Grade I or II sprains, or other mild to moderate sprains. It is important to use these garments on the elbow after suffering an injury in order to fully restore its function, together with the arm, without leaving sequelae. For this reason, there are elbow supports with hinges or other materials, which are recommended by specialists for unique cases that occur in basketball.
The type of material we use is 80% of the functioning of a compression sports garment, because its effectiveness and durability will depend on its manufacture. Everything in our life has evolved progressively, and the elbow braces for basketball are no exception, because today you can buy them in different presentations, variety of colours, sizes, and even with different functions that will contribute to a better sports performance.
- Neoprene: This type of material is the most used thanks to its durability and protection, as it fits perfectly on the skin without damage or rashes. 100% recommended by physiotherapists and sports specialists due to its stabilisation capacity.
- Elastic fabric: Recognised for its function of giving pressure, strength and stability to the area, but above all for its elasticity, as it can be stretched without affecting its natural state. It is used in many types of elbow braces, and can also be combined with different materials, including neoprene.
Type of support
This point is also of utmost importance because, if the garment slips or moves from its place due to training or matches where sudden movements are made, it can cause the mobility of the garment, which can cause discomfort, accidents due to improper use or it may not perform its function.
To avoid this type of discomfort, it is best to use types of fasteners that provide adequate support, such as:
- Velcro: For basketball you need a simple support that you can mould to your liking.
Velcro is the most commonly used in recent times due to its ease of opening and closing, as well as guaranteeing strength and stability in the elbow area throughout the sporting process.
- Hinges: This is normally recommended for post-operative and orthopaedic use. However, athletes use them to provide balance support to the elbow during training.
Buying a sports garment is exciting, but when it comes to sizing there will always be those insecurities about size and fit. You should be aware that ordering a size smaller or larger than the correct size could lead to contraindications. If you still don’t know your exact elbow size, you can get it with a simple tape measure, passing it four fingers above the joint, as well as above and below the arm (depending on whether the elbow brace is long or short).
The design of the garment could represent you on the court, and it also does its job according to the purpose for which you bought it. In relation to this, it is important that you consult the design you need with a specialist or coach, and customise it. In this way, you will look comfortable and confident in your sportswear.
On the other hand, nowadays there is a variety of colours, styles and materials. The design not only refers to the type of model, but also to the construction from which it is made and what benefits it can bring to basketball athletes. For this reason, it is important that it is studied from its manufacture, to its creative process of fashion and style, without damaging the therapeutic and protective lines of the product.
The costs vary depending on the function and material of each of the sports compression elbow sleeves, it is worth noting that the prices are fluctuating, being those excessively cheap elbow straps inadvisable because they will not have the minimum quality necessary to offer good results and in the long run, this can be detrimental to your health. The most important thing is to choose a model that has all the quality standards.
Do compression elbow sleeves really work for basketball?
70% of the physiotherapy community say that compression therapy is the most effective therapy to prevent injuries, while protecting joints, ligaments and improving blood circulation. This means that compression basketball elbow braces work in every way, for protection on the court, for preventative use in training and exercises, as well as for injury recovery processes.
Compression therapy is able to generate heat sensations, giving pressure to the elbow in a simple and comfortable way, at the same time this temperature helps the blood to disperse without being affected by the pressure, and in this way the athlete can do his physical performance without any problem.
Elbow compression sleeves are highly special for their functions, as no other garment will be able to generate the benefits that they provide to the elbow. So, every basketball player should have it as part of his protective and safety equipment, if he wants to preserve his health and increase his performance.