The elbow moves in both flexion and extension and is also affected by movements of the forearm. It is supported by a medial ligament on the inside of the joint and a lateral ligament on the other side. Several sporting or other activities (throwing or pitching a baseball, for example) can subject the joint to unusual levels of stress and result in the need to wear an elbow brace. Elbow braces can be used to treat conditions like tennis or golfer’s elbow, contusions of the olecranon bursa situated at the bony point of the elbow and other injuries at or near the joint.
Elbow braces can be in the form of several alternative designs:
Adjustable elbow supports extend from a few inches above the elbow to a few inches below it. They also include straps that provide a customizable fit while allowing a full range of motion;
Elbow sleeves are similar to adjustable elbow supports except that they do not include straps.
Tennis elbow supports are straps that fit just below the elbow. They target the muscles of the forearm that connect to the medial and lateral ligaments of the elbow.
In addition, the more sophisticated elbow braces are made of breathable materials to maximize long term wearing comfort. Some are also treated with antimicrobial agents to eliminate the odor of perspiration and improve patient compliance.