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Buying Guide: How to choose the best elbow sleeves & braces for arthritis? List 2024 (UK)

The elbow is a complex structure composed of the humerus, ulna and radius. In order to support the absorption of the force that passes through it, it also has the presence of a cartilage that facilitates the elbow movements in terms of flexion and extension.

However, over time, the surface of the cartilage is likely to wear down between the ulna and radius bones (forearm) and the humerus bone (upper arm). As a result, it triggers elbow arthritis that generates severe pain in the patient. To treat it, it is recommended to wear compression elbow braces and here, we will explain the reason for this.

What is elbow arthritis and what are its symptoms?

What is elbow arthritis and what are its symptoms?

In general terms, arthritis is a pathology that refers to the inflammation of one or more joints that, as a consequence, causes pain and stiffness in the area. Thus, one of the most common types is arthritis or arthrosis of the elbow, which is based on a degenerative disease of the elbow joint due to the loss of cartilage covering the joint surfaces.

In this sense, it consists of a lesion that manifests itself when the cartilage surface deteriorates between the ulna, radius and humerus bones. This causes the hard, slippery tissue that protects the ends of the bones where the joint is formed to break down. Consequently, in addition to the loss of articular cartilage, there is also a hardening of the bone surfaces with bone growth at the periphery of the joint (this is known as "osteophyte formation").

Among the main causes for the externalisation of this pathology in the elbow area are the following

  • Loss of cartilage over the years (due to age).
  • Previous trauma to the joint.
  • Direct impacts that injure the area and lead to progressive deterioration.
  • Very excessive and repetitive exercise.
  • Rheumatological conditions.
  • Genetic inheritance.

Now, in order to diagnose elbow arthritis, in addition to a laboratory study and imaging tests (x-rays, for example), one of the most important aspects of all relates to the clinical picture manifested by the patient.

It is useful to know the most common signs and symptoms of elbow arthritis:

  • Pain and stiffness in the elbow. This worsens after a period of inactivity.
  • Inflammation or swelling in the area.
  • Tingling due to pressure on the ulnar nerve.
  • Locking of the joint
  • Difficulty in bending or straightening the elbow fully
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Gripping or grinding sensation in the elbow.


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What are the benefits of using a compression elbow brace to treat elbow arthritis?

In most cases, people with elbow arthritis undergo elbow arthroscopy to help restore the range of motion in the affected joint after injury. This involves performing an "arthroscopic debridement" in which a camera is placed in the joint area with small incisions and additional bisections are used to introduce a suction tool to remove loose cartilage and/or bony portions.

In the form of conservative treatment, apart from the prescription of analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs, the specialist doctor recommends making use of the advantages guaranteed by compression therapy to treat arthritis in the elbow. Medically, this is a treatment that uses a device or elastic element to exert a controlled force or pressure on a specific area in order to improve circulation and thus attenuate possible pain and/or an inflammatory disorder.

To improve the main symptoms of osteoarthritis of the elbow, it is suggested to use a compression elbow brace on the injured upper limb in order to regain mobility more quickly.

A compression elbow brace provides the following advantages:

  • Soothe elbow pain caused by osteoarthritis.
  • Decrease the inflammation or swelling that occurs.
  • Promote joint mobility in the shortest possible time after injury.
  • Minimise stress on the tendons, ligaments and muscles around the elbow and wrist.
  • Improve the blood supply to the elbow and forearm region.
  • To promote the autonomy of the elbow after the impact it has suffered.
  • Prevent the manifestation of other more severe pathologies that compromise the joint.
  • To guarantee safety in order to carry out activities after the pathology has healed.
  • To provide the greatest possible comfort for the user.

What type of sports elbow braces are best for elbow arthritis?

While it is true that when it comes to choosing a sports elbow brace to improve elbow arthritis, it is essential to know that there are several types available on the market, in order to be able to distinguish which one is appropriate to treat this kind of injury effectively. Consequently, it is worth detailing each and every one of the most important characteristics that a compression elbow brace should have in order to provide a quick solution and avoid producing adverse effects on the patient.

In this regard, the first parameter to evaluate is based on the function of the textile garment. This means that, as not all elbow braces are designed to fulfil the same purpose, it is vital to check that it has been designed to treat the pathologies that are triggered in the elbow area, especially osteoarthritis. In addition to this, it is essential to choose the right size so that it fits the joint perfectly, without causing discomfort or hindering the flow of blood.

We suggest you try one of the following compression elbow braces available which have the most effective features:

Sports compression elbow brace

It is designed to minimise the effects of arthritis in the elbow (or other similar injuries). For this reason, many athletes choose to wear them during their activities (especially weightlifting, tennis and basketball) and especially when they suffer injuries to the elbow joint. They are textile accessories that are distinguished by their ability to improve and prevent various injuries, because they provide the appropriate level of support to optimise blood flow, relieve pain and eliminate swelling.

Now then, one of the most important particularities to value with respect to a compression sports elbow brace, is based on its resistance to wear and tear (so that it can guarantee greater durability). Another suggestion to take into account is the size of the elbow brace so that it performs a correct compression (without presenting any deficiency).

Tennis elbow epicondylitis strap

Also known as "epicondylitis strap", it refers to a textile garment that is used to alleviate the condition called "tennis elbow" (or epicondylitis) which causes inflammation of the tendon of the muscles that are part of the functioning of the elbow. This is due to the fact that it is ideal for eliminating symptoms such as pain, inflammation and difficulty of movement. In fact, it is recommended to treat elbow arthritis and other similar injuries in the area.

Thus, in general terms, the epicondylitis band is suitable for relieving pain, promoting the process of inflammation and maintaining heat in the affected area in order to accelerate the recovery process of the affected elbow. Considering that, thanks to the controlled force it exerts on it, it helps the fibres of the joint to return to their regular state to restore mobility.

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