Inherently, the elbow is distinguished as a complex structure, because it is formed by three different joints (humerus-radial, humeral-ulnar and radius-ulnar) that are encompassed by the same joint capsule and therefore operate in conjunction with the ligaments. Ligaments are bands of tissue that bind one bone to another.
However, these portions of tissue are prone to rupture if stretched beyond their maximum capacity limit, resulting in a sprain. As a result, elbow sprains are a common occurrence in emergency rooms and here, we will highlight what this injury is and how to mitigate it with a compression elbow brace.
What is an elbow sprain and what are its symptoms?
Also known as a tear, an elbow sprain is defined as a sudden strain or elongation of the ligamentous tissue that connects the humerus bone to the radius and ulna. Thus, it is a condition that negatively influences the ligaments responsible for stabilising the elbow, holding the elbow joint together.
Depending on its level of severity, an elbow sprain can be classified and diagnosed according to three degrees:
- Grade 1: This is a mild strain that only causes a micro-tearing of the ligament, generating minimal pain and inflammation.
- Grade 2: This is a moderate sprain in which the ligamentous portion suffers a partial tear and therefore, in addition to pain and inflammation, causes deformity and instability in the joint.
- Grade 3: This is the most serious case, because it manifests the total rupture of the ligament and therefore, its instability is more accentuated, as well as the pain, inflammation and instability.
The following signs and symptoms are the most common:
- Pain and stiffness. They tend to worsen with movement of the arm.
- Swelling, tenderness and discomfort in the impacted elbow and adjacent areas.
- Bruising or changes in skin colour of the elbow.
- Decreased range of motion of the affected arm.
- Perception of warmth, both in the joint and adjacent areas.
- Numbness or coldness below the injury (in the hands or fingers, for example), in some severe cases.
What are the benefits of using a compression elbow brace to treat an elbow sprain?
When treating a sprained elbow, it is valuable for the patient to receive heat and cold therapy to take advantage of the properties of both, which naturally help to soothe pain and reduce inflammation. It is also recommended to take medication and nutritional supplements prescribed by a medical specialist, as well as to take advantage of the benefits of compression therapy.
In this sense, compression therapy is that which, based on an elastic element, focuses on exerting controlled pressure on the area that has suffered the sprain in order to optimise blood flow, thanks to the fact that it regulates the function of the vascular wall and reduces venous pressure in the impacted area. For this reason, in the case of elbow sprains, it is recommended to use a compression elbow brace that keeps the joint tight (without constricting the blood flow there).
The use of a compression elbow brace guarantees the following advantages:
- Soothe pain in the elbow.
- Promote optimal anti-inflammatory process.
- Improve blood flow irrigation.
- Generate a sedative effect or a feeling of well-being.
- Mitigate the tension present in the tendons, ligaments and all the muscles around the elbow.
- Prevent other chronic injuries to the area.
- Provide safety when performing physical activities that may endanger the joint area.
- Conserve body heat in the region, so as to weaken existing discomfort.
What kind of sports elbow braces are best for elbow sprains?
For many people, buying a compression elbow brace to improve the main symptoms that caused their elbow sprain can present a number of difficulties if they do not know the most important details about this type of garment. Consequently, as elbow sleeves can serve a variety of functions, it is appropriate to choose one that is designed to treat elbow sprains and similar injuries.
Compression sports elbow brace
These are the compression elbow braces that, by default, are used by athletes involved in weightlifting, basketball and tennis, for example. Whereas, they are noted for their ability to improve and prevent injuries such as: elbow bursitis, arthritis, tendonitis and sprains, for example. Whereas, they provide the appropriate level of support that allows the elbow part to obtain ideal pressure to optimise blood flow, relieve pain and eliminate swelling.
For its part, one of the most important particularities to assess with respect to a compression sports elbow brace, is to verify that this compressive garment is designed to comply with wear resistance and thus, will provide durability. Another recommendation to take into account is the size of the textile device in order to ensure that it provides the correct compression (without causing poor support or strangling blood flow).
Tennis elbow epicondylitis strap
An epicondylitis strap is a garment used to soothe tennis elbow (or epicondylitis), which is an inflammation of the tendon of the extensor muscles of the hand and fingers. Thanks to its own characteristics to attenuate this pathology, it is also indicated to treat the symptoms produced by a sprained elbow, improving the damaged area.
In general terms, the epicondylitis band or strap is recommended to relieve pain, obtain a sedative effect and maintain heat in the affected area in order to accelerate the recovery process of elbow injuries. Considering that, thanks to the controlled force it exerts on the elbow, the fibres of the joint return to their normal state.