Buying Guide: How to choose the best shoulder support & braces for all sports? List 2021

The shoulder brace originally consisted of a product made of special foam to give greater consistency to the shoulder. Over the years, many sports apparel manufacturers saw a huge potential in it and decided to include it in different disciplines as a product to protect athletes from shoulder injuries.

Today, there are many variations of sports shoulder braces, designed to serve specific purposes. This article will explain the most common shoulder injuries, which sports are most likely to cause trauma, the best compression shoulder braces sleeves, their features and much more content of interest.

What are the most common shoulder injuries in sport?

There are many shoulder injuries, and to know precisely about them, many variables must be taken into consideration, as some sports have injuries that are specific to the activity. You also need to know about the condition of the surface, whether the athlete did the warm-up exercises to strengthen the muscles and joints, whether the athlete is experienced or a novice, and so on.

In this section we will list the most common shoulder injuries in sport, what they are, what their symptoms are, how they occur, some examples and useful tips.

Dislocation or dislocation of the shoulder

This occurs when the upper ball of bone in the arm (the humerus) comes out of its socket. In most cases, the bone moves out in front of the joint and leaves the arm unstable. If the fracture is severe, it can tear or rupture the ligament, vessels and tendons. The first thing you will notice is the arm out of place, severe pain, swelling or bruising around the affected limb, instability, spasms, tingling, numbness and loss of mobility.

If you play sports such as weightlifting, rugby or any other high-risk sport, there is a chance of injuring your shoulder. It can happen from a bad movement, a violent fall, or any activity that exceeds the athlete’s physical capabilities. These events can occur unexpectedly and you may need to wear a neoprene shoulder brace with adjustable support.

Shoulder fracture

There can be two cases of fracture. The first is the cracking of the collarbone or its breakage and deformation under the skin, this type of injury can affect the ligament, it is common in sports such as rugby, wrestling, Crossfit, and especially weightlifting.

Weightlifting is perhaps one of the most demanding sports, so much so that some of its events can be far beyond the physical conditions of its participants. Imagine lifting a heavy barbell, your hands slip and the metal bar touches your right shoulder and fractures. Like this example, there may be other cases for different sports. The symptoms start with severe pain, followed by swelling of the shoulder, tenderness of the affected area, deformity and redness under the skin and immobilisation of the arm.

Shoulder bursitis

A painful condition that affects the bursa, a small sac between the moving parts of the bones in the shoulder, which fills with sinus fluid to prevent the bones from colliding, wearing down and injuring each other. Anyone can suffer from this condition but it is most common in sports such as wrestling, rugby, crossfit, basketball and others.

It occurs as a result of repetitive or poorly executed movements, poor posture, overhead lifting, leaning on the elbows for too long. If you are involved in wrestling or combat sports, you will make contact with your opponent and strain your shoulder for a considerable period of time and could lead to a bursa injury.

Symptoms start with pain and stiffness of the joint, especially when training or playing sports, inability to move, swelling and excessive redness of the shoulder and nearby area, bruising and, if severe, fever.

Rotator cuff injury

The rotator cuff consists of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder area and are responsible for keeping the arm (humerus) firm and stable in its socket. If injured, it can affect the tendons that make up the rotator cuff, and if you try to sleep on the affected side it can make the situation worse.

This affects athletes or workers who perform repetitive overhead movements. Examples include basketball players, when they repeatedly raise their arm to make a basket or block, these repetitive movements wear down the shoulder and affect the rotator cuff. The injury is suspected when you begin to have pain in the shoulder, spreading to the elbow, discomfort when sleeping and performing certain movements, loss of strength and mobility.

Shoulder tendonitis

This is swelling or irritation of a tendon in the shoulder that attaches the muscle to the bone. This type of condition is very common in this joint and affects many athletes. When the tendons become inflamed, they will be crushed against the structure of the shoulder.

Symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the injury. They usually appear gradually, the first thing you will feel is pain and tenderness in the shoulder, possibly extending to the hand, loss of mobility and weakness; if there is a complication, tearing may occur, accompanied by stabbing pain. An example in sporting disciplines is athletes who lift weights above the shoulder. When this movement is repeated or performed improperly, it affects the tendon, causing inflammation.

In which sports and physical activities is shoulder injury common?

In which sports and physical activities is shoulder injury common?

In most sports, there are always reasons for shoulder injuries. But on this occasion, we will only focus on clarifying some disciplines and sporting lifestyle, where this incident occurs and the reasons for it.

Shoulder braces for football: It is a game dominated by aggressiveness, speed, hard knocks and falls. It is common to injure the muscles and joints of the body, but especially the shoulder with 40% of possibilities according to statistics, due to direct impacts and sharp falls in that area of the body.

Shoulder supports for wrestling and contact sports: These are very rough sports, it is common to receive blows and fall to the ground violently. Muscles and ligaments are subjected to constant strain, exceeding by far the contestants’ capabilities. In this case, the shoulder is the joint most affected by injuries.

Shoulder braces for basketball: The athlete must raise his arm to shoot, block and get the ball. This repeated movement is common in practice, damaging the shoulder as it wears down and weakens the muscle and tendon. If left unattended, the injury can affect other parts of the body.

Weightlifting and fitness shoulder braces: These disciplines have in common, movements with weights and heavy metal bars raised above the shoulder. It requires a lot of physical activity and sports techniques, so a poorly executed movement can cause an injury directly to the joint.

What types of compression shoulder supports are best for sports injuries?

Shoulder supports are made to serve a specific purpose, some help to reduce pain and tension while others function as an adjunct to treat injuries or protective equipment. But in general, they compress the affected muscle and help reduce healing time, this information can be the starting point for choosing the shoulder brace you need.

Shoulder compression brace sleeve

A shoulder brace made from a variation of lightweight, breathable neoprene that is pleasant to the touch, can be worn unnoticed under clothing, retains body heat while wicking all excess moisture away from the surface of your skin, is ideal for relaxing and strengthening muscles, decreasing tension, relieving pain, can also be used for rotator cuff problems, inflammation, treating injuries and more. It features a pressure pad system with space for ice packs for use in hot or cold therapy. As for the shoulder support, it is made of lightweight neoprene with Velcro fastening for added pressure, thanks to its therapeutic effect it will help improve blood circulation.

Neoprene shoulder brace

Made of breathable, durable and pleasant to the touch neoprene, it keeps the skin surface clean and dry by evaporating moisture through the fabric, produces a distributed pressure and helps to relax the muscles and reduce discomfort. It has hook-and-loop velcro straps, is a reliable and comfortable solution thanks to its soft, padded edges, can be retracted or stretched according to the case, this allows customised levels of compression to the affected muscle. It is ideal for treating, preventing or reducing rotator cuff injuries, tendonitis, fracture, dislocation and can also help reduce pain and strain.

Adjustable shoulder brace

This type of garment is mostly made of neoprene, an insulating material, pleasant to the touch and of excellent quality. In addition, they use other fastening materials such as Velcro, to help provide the pressure that is needed and that is customised, i.e., according to what the athlete requires or likes, providing the following benefits: providing extra support to the shoulder, improving blood circulation and relieving the joint of any discomfort. It is an ideal product to treat, prevent or reduce injuries in sports such as weightlifting, basketball and fitness.

What features should you consider before choosing the best sports shoulder support for men or women?

What features should you consider before choosing the best sports shoulder support for men or women?

Sports in general, require sports complements to comply with the activities to 100%, these equipments must help to improve the level of protection without reducing agility, it is almost mandatory to use them, they will help to prevent, treat or reduce the injuries and discomfort caused, being the shoulder supports of great utility for athletes in different disciplines.

Depending on the sport

  • Rugby: It is the sport with the second highest number of injuries after American football. It is characterised by being a tough sport full of violent movements and falls, with the shoulders being one of the most affected members. This requires a garment that protects and strengthens the muscles and ligaments without reducing mobility, and compression sportswear is the most suitable.
  • Fighting and contact sports: This is a sport full of movements, falls and violent contact with another person. The arms must be used to fight, causing the shoulder muscles to undergo constant tension, you can reduce this pressure and protect yourself against future injuries if you use a sports compression shoulder brace.
  • Basketball: One of the most popular contact sports in the world, you can injure yourself by repetitive strain causing tendonitis or when you jump and fall with your arm bent, which can dislocate or fracture your shoulder. To avoid these accidents, you should use adequate protection such as the compressive shoulder brace.
  • Weightlifting, powerlifting and fitness: This group of disciplines and lifestyle is considered by many to be extreme sports, due to the excessive weight and overhead repetitions. Some of the activities to be performed include lifting weights with barbells or as much weight as possible and working all the muscles of the body.

Material of manufacture

The articles mentioned in this article use Velcro, breathable neoprene, non-slip silicone, plastic, nylon, among others, being these synthetic materials very advanced, resistant and easy to work with.

  • Kevlar: It is used because it is resistant to knocks and falls. It is the most recommended at the moment of the execution of garments and protection products. Athletes like the use of sports accessories with this material, and over the years has taken more interest in this market.
  • Anti-slip silicone: In the textile industry, it is already common to see products with anti-slip silicone, as it offers advantages with an anatomical design. For athletes it has been a relief to use, as it prevents falls on wet surfaces while offering comfort and warmth in the shoulder area.
  • Absorbent fabric: Much of sports require exertion and fast movements so they are often exposed to liquids, such as perspiration. The use of absorbent fabrics, in sports garments, are ideal for perspiration while maintaining their condition.
  • Neoprene: It is a durable material and preferred by many in the sports environment.  Widely used in the manufacture of shoulder pads, they are effective in preventing or treating injuries and other conditions by providing protection, blocking heat or other temperatures and keeping the area clean from bacteria and germs.
  • Polyester: Polyester can be easily combined with other materials for the development of sportswear. It is a favourite because it does not warp or shrink, as well as being lightweight, easy to handle and durable.

Type of support

The support is an important decision to be taken for the execution of sports shoulder sleeves, because it can keep the garment fixed and exert adjustable pressure in the direction you need, it is a considerable improvement in the design of these products as it ensures greater protection and security for the realization of each movement, no matter how sudden they are.

  • Bi-directional Velcro straps: Athletes have preferred it for being a quality fastener, resistant to any movement and easy to use. It can be adjusted to your liking, making the right pressure, while not mistreating or discomforting the shoulder.
  • Elastic hook strap: They offer the athlete to apply pressure and immobilise the area without damaging the skin. When there are cases of mild or severe dislocations or fractures, shoulder straps with hook straps are recommended to be used to avoid or use during these complications.
  • Nylon straps: This type of material is easily adaptable to the shoulder. They can be stretched as far as the person wishes, distributing the pressure better. With the use of these straps, you will be able to heal more easily and quickly the discomfort and pain in the area.
  • Adjustable Velcro strap and loop: This is a light and pleasant to the touch fastening system that combines an adjustable loop made of nylon, anchored to a light and resistant plastic hook with large Velcro straps for better grip. They allow distributed and adjustable pressure levels for use in different cases.
  • Support system for shoulder dislocation: It is made of breathable fabric with edge pads for comfort, its ergonomic design adapts perfectly to the build of your shoulder, it has a pouch that will help you fix the affected limb in a comfortable position and for more security, it has three adjustable straps to keep the limb fixed and comfortable.

Sizing

One of the most common mistakes people make is buying without knowing exactly the right size for their body build. In the case of compression shoulder straps, if the size is too big, it will not compress the muscle; otherwise, the blood would not circulate normally and other health complications would be created.

To avoid these incidents, you should know which one is right for you, just have a tape measure at hand and measure the distance from one shoulder to the other in a straight line taking as a reference the height of the armpits and the result in inches, is the one you should consider to buy the shoulder brace you need.

Design

Originally, sporting goods were simply products made to serve a purpose. However, this has evolved into a lifestyle today, with different views on fashion. Consumers buy a sports compression shoulder sleeve on the recommendation of a friend, a specialist, for its benefits, but also for the designs. They want to look good and attract attention around them.

Athletes need garments with unique and exclusive designs, full of colours and textures, able to bring back memories due to their retro theme or to surprise with futuristic models without neglecting quality and functionality, is something you can see in the products mentioned here.

Price

To make the following list of costs, the current market prices were taken into consideration but, there may be price variations according to all the characteristics mentioned throughout the article, also the country where you are and its local currency. It should be remembered that every material has its value, so you will not be able to have a variety of fastener types or colours and styles, with a minimum price that could not cover its manufacturing value. Therefore, you have to evaluate in detail the needs you have for the use of the garment, and make an investment thinking mainly in the welfare of your health and protection in the different sports disciplines.

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