Tennis elbow is the more commonly used name for lateral epicondylitis, which is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overloaded. Overloaded tendons are usually a result of repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. One example of this is when a baseball pitcher throws inning after inning of fastballs. Another could be a factory worker stationed on the assembly line hour after hour. A common approach to treatment of this injury is the use of a elbow brace for tennis elbow that can alleviate the pain and speed recovery.
Tennis elbow pain occurs primarily where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to a bony bump on the outside of your elbow. Pain can also spread into your forearm and wrist. This can range from a mild, but constant annoyance to a debilitating condition that will sideline you indefinitely.
We outline below the most common forms for tennis elbow brace and provide a description of how they work to alleviate pain and speed recovery. At the end of this post, you will be able to better identify the type of tennis elbow brace that should be used by individuals with different lifestyles and/or activity levels.
Epicondylitis clasps consist of a plastic clasp or clip which fits around the arm. The patient secures the clasp using a strap with a pressure point over the muscle and below the point of pain on the elbow.
The pressure on the tendon or muscle absorbs some of the forces that transmit through the tissues causing the injury. It will also change the angle at which the tendon works. This in turn alters the impact of different forces on your elbow and relieves the symptoms.
There are many advantages to the use of an epicondylitis clasp as an elbow brace for tennis elbow. They can be applied precisely to the site of the pain as they are specifically fitted to the individual. These braces are recommended for skilled athletes requiring precision support for high impact forces.
Tennis Elbow Strap
These are simple strap-type elbow braces for tennis elbow that come in different varieties. The patient will usually wrap the strap around the forearm just below the elbow. Some tennis elbow straps have additional pressure pads which sit on the muscle, just below the point of pain.
Tennis elbow straps work by compressing the upper forearm and absorbing the forces transmitted through the soft tissues to the point of pain on the outside of the elbow. They also modify the angle at which the tendon works with the elbow. This reduces the forces applied to the point at which the tendon attaches to the joint. This allows the injured area time to recover without undue stress.
Advantages of a tennis elbow strap include their inexpensive price tag and the ability to adjust the fit and level of compression applied to the elbow. However, they can be less precise than an epicondylitis clasp. They also can’t be used for heat therapy like a tennis elbow sleeve. This type of elbow brace for tennis elbow is ideal for casual athletes or those in careers with repetitive motions/strains. It is also suited to other individuals who do not experience high impact or stress on the elbow, but still experience symptoms of tennis elbow.
Tennis Elbow Sleeve
Tennis elbow sleeves combine a simple elbow sleeve with a strap. The sleeve provides compression, support and warmth for the entire elbow. The strap is tightened around the upper forearm to provide additional compression. It will also absorb stress and irregular movement that may affect the soft tissues. This in turn relieves pain and further trauma.
One advantage of this kind of elbow brace for tennis elbow is that it provides light and regular heat therapy to the area of pain. This aids the healing process by reducing swelling and regulating blood flow.
The sleeve supports the whole joint, which is helpful for those individuals with more than one injury to the area. However, it is more cumbersome to wear, and tightening the forearm strap is less accurate than using a separate strap. This variation of elbow brace for tennis elbow is effective for most people with tennis elbow symptoms. It is also suitable for those with more serious, all-encompassing arm or elbow injuries besides tennis elbow.