The Five Best Elbow Braces for Support and Pain Relief
What do you do when you are experiencing debilitating elbow pain, when no medications seem to help, and when you are on the verge of giving up a sport that has given you life through good health and many friends?
Do you ask your doctor to schedule surgery, give up all physical activity exacerbating the pain, or do you look for a last pain relief option?
Like most people we speak to, the elbow brace is the last and often then best alternative. Why? Most elbow braces prevent and heal injuries to the elbows or reduce pain that results from hyperextension.
The elbow is the joint that connects the upper arm with the forearm by bringing together three bones – the ulna, the radius, and the humerus. This joint plays an important role not just for texting and typing but, if you are into basketball, tennis, golf, baseball, cross fit, or weightlifting, then you need this joint to be in perfect shape. Protection to the elbow joint often comes in the form of an elbow brace.
What is an elbow brace?
It is the protective piece of equipment that keeps the three-bone junction safe. It reduces the risk of injury during sports by providing compression and comfort. When taking part in sports that require muscle strength from your arms, this brace comes in handy. The level of compression determines the support offered as well as pain relief. It is advisable that you get a doctor’s advice first.
Is physical exercise the only reason why you’d require the elbow brace?
No. Doctors recommend the use of elbow braces for conditions and diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and reactive arthritis, also known as Reiter’s disease.
Which are the main types of elbow braces?
- The efficient elbow brace
This is the preferable kind of elbow brace for prevention of elbow injuries. It has strong compression and tightening systems in the form of compression inserts for extra support.
- Preventive braces (proprioceptive)
These braces are preventive in the sense that they stimulate your brain to be aware of movement and the spatial position of the elbow joint. By being more alert, the risk of another injury reduces once you resume sporting.
Reasons why we love elbow braces
1. Pain relief
Many studies and our experiences show that excruciating elbow joint pain and pain from tight muscle tension go down after wearing the brace for a few days or weeks. The compression from the brace and the heat generated around the elbow relaxes muscles, reducing pain. This also means that you get to sleep much better.
2. Cheaper alternative
After extensive research and even experience by some of the members of our team, it is clear that elbow braces are considerably cheap in comparison to doctor treatments. At the physician’s, one pays for the visits, diagnosis, checkups, and medication. With the multiple visits expected before full recovery, not everyone can afford that. So, we agree with these patients who ask, ‘why worry about the high doctor bills when you can use an elbow brace saving money and feel better?’
3. Prevention of chronic injuries (proactive injury prevention)
While there is a school of thought that insists on pain management and injury prevention after injuries, we stand with the group that insists on prevention before the injury. This is especially important when you engage in exerting activities. By wearing the braces every time you play your favorite sport or whenever you work out, your brain is more aware and prevents injuries.
4. Alleviating symptoms
The elbow braces are useful in the management of symptoms including, but not limited to:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – issues with the wrist
- Arthritis - joint inflammation, pain, and stiffness
- Tennis elbow - inside elbow injury
- Golfer’s elbow - outside elbow injury
- Strains - muscle or tendon injury
- Bursitis - bursa inflammation. Bursitis - bursa are the pads between tendons and bones inflammation
- Sprains - ligament injury
- Olecranon fracture - elbow joint bone fracture
5. To promote healing
Do you know that not all elbow injuries result from sporting activities? And, do you know that your daily chores can affect your elbow joint as well? If you start experiencing pain around the elbow whenever you move your elbow, then it is time for an elbow brace.
This is how it will work – the compression by the elbow brace will increase blood flow, relaxing muscles and alleviating pain.
5 Best Elbow Brace Reviews 2017
Excellent protection, compression
Instant pain relief
Excellent support, adjustable
Versatile, 100% money-back
Effective in pain relief
1. Kunto Fitness - Elbow Brace Compression Support Sleeve for Tendonitis, Tennis Elbow, & Golf Elbow Treatment
It's okay to get injuries during physical activity but what we don’t condone is neglecting the injury by way of using substandard treatment braces. This is why we recommend Kunto Fitness Compression Tendonitis Treatment Elbow Braces.
They offer a high level of protection by applying even pressure across your elbow. This superior protection results from Kunto Fitness’s functional design of elbow braces using fabric blends that offer 4-way stretch capabilities.
The fabric is breathable and comfortable keeping your arm warm and safe. The colors on these Kunto Fitness brace are appealing, and you’ll feel great wearing them.
The construction of these braces features the use of tight and form-fitting breathable compression materials which maintain your elbows’ stability while avoiding itchiness that is common with neoprene elbow supports.
- Pain relief
These braces offer strong but safe support throughout the day via compression. The compression on the elbow relieves pain from arthritis or any other cause of joint pain.
- Versatile range of utility
Kunto Fitness understands that it is uneconomical to buy different braces for every sporting activity. So, they got around this by using an incredible design offering a perfect fit for you to enjoy every sport – be it tennis, CrossFit, powerlifting, basketball, golf, weightlifting, and baseball. These elbow braces support the full range of arm movements.
- How do the elbow braces stay on?
The Kunto Fitness Elbow Brace Compression Support Sleeve for Tendonitis, Tennis Elbow, & Golf Elbow Treatment has a weaving design that allows the brace to fit a slender or a meaty arm. The no-slip feature isn’t constricting, and yes, it will neither slide off (slender arms) nor give you the “muffin” look we all dread. They are available in large, medium, small, and x-small.
If dissatisfied by the braces, Kunto Fitness guarantees replacement, repairs, or 100 percent money-back.
- It offers pain relief for acute and chronic tendonitis, and it doesn’t pinch or bind.
- It is comfortable and provides excellent protection even after multiple uses and washes.
- Offers a decent level of compression yet lightweight and it doesn’t slip off or lose elasticity with use.
- It is lightweight.
- Some users may have problem with the sizing.
2. Copper Compression - Recovery Elbow Sleeve
If you are a golfer, a tennis player, or generally an active individual, you may consider getting and wearing the copper infused Copper Compression Recovery Elbow Sleeve by Copper Compression. Why?
These sleeves have a high copper content. Copper ions (Cu+ and Cu++) and NOT copper oxide (Cu2O) alleviate pain in elbow joints and arthritis because of their analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, therefore, by buying genuine copper compression sleeves with the highest quality copper, the pain in the joints reduces.
The sleeves will support sore and stiff muscles while allowing flexibility in motion. You won’t experience restrictiveness, and you’ll be able to use your muscles for everything you’d wish to.
While exercising is important, your ability to work out or play a sport as effectively reduces with age. You also take longer to heal and this may make you think of quitting. However, with these copper compression sleeves, you’ll stay active and lead a continuous healthy lifestyle.
Note that we aren’t implying that these elbow braces/ sleeves are only suitable for the old, NO – we recommend use of these sleeves by people of all ages.
Pro tip: machine wash it – COLD and in delicate cycle then tumble dry. You shouldn’t use bleach.
- Effective for pain management of elbow tendonitis and arthritis – the pain relief is almost instant.
- It fits comfortably, and it is not constricting.
- It is appealing.
- It loses its elasticity too fast meaning frequent replacements.
- It doesn’t yield uniform results because some users report that it doesn’t offer as much support.
3. Mueller - Adjustable Elbow Support – Black, One Size
This elbow brace by Mueller has a soft neoprene blend that retains heat enhancing blood circulation and gradual pain relief while promoting healing.
To keep the elbow brace in place throughout the day or when using it, the black brace has adjustable straps. The straps are also great for custom fitting because this Mueller Adjustable Elbow Support comes in one size.
Wondering if the heat will get to extremes at some point? Well, that won’t happen thanks to the Hydramesh panel that makes the brace breathable.
You can wear it all-day-long, and besides comfort, you will get the needed support and stability. There is no motion restriction with this Mueller brace.
If you have sore, wear or injured elbows, then you may need these braces. They weigh a mere 5 ounces and measure 3.5 x 1.2 x 6.5 inches.
- It offers excellent support and fits every arm size thanks to the adjustable straps
- Comfortable thanks to the breathable Hydra mesh and the light weight. It doesn’t restrict motion.
- It offers pain relief and support to elbow soreness.
- It is reasonably priced.
- The Velcro loosens after wearing it a few times
- The inner seams dig into the skin and leave marks if worn for prolonged durations. It isn’t the best brace if you have sensitive skin.
- Some users report that it traps moisture
4. CopperJoint - Compression Elbow Sleeve #1 Copper Fit Support
This elbow sleeve guarantees recovery from soreness and muscle stiffness. It also offers very rejuvenating pain relief from arthritis bursitis, tennis or golfer’s elbow pain, osteoporosis and tendonitis thanks to the 88% high-quality copper infused nylon fabric.
Why copper infusion? The element has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. CopperJoint’s braces have a high copper content for higher effectiveness.
Copper ions pull electricity from your body relieving pain because damaged nerves trap electricity off your body causing pain, insomnia, redness, loss of appetite among others.
The brace features an anti-odor feature, active copper that is efficient in odor elimination. This also means that the brace remains germ free because of the anti-biofouling effect.
It features a moisture wicking design making the brace comfortable and easy to wear. In addition, it keeps it light and dry. In addition to anti-odor and moisture wicking capabilities, the braces feature a thermal stabilizer that is breathable and keeps the sleeve within the optimal joint temperature.
Here is an additional feature that you’ve been looking for – the anti-itch UPF 50+ material, no more uncomfortable rashes and itchiness. With all these features, the brace still allows for full range of motion with its ergonomic design which features a 4-way compression design. No more chaffing and you can wear it all day and night.
- The manufacture gives a 100% money-back guarantee if dissatisfied.
- It is comfortable thanks to its moisture wicking, anti-odor, anti-itch, thermal stability, and the comfortable compression levels.
- It relieves joint and muscle pain that to the copper infused into the brace’s nylon fabric. Copper has healing properties – not copper oxide.
- It is versatile and you can wear it anywhere. It looks good too.
- Some people find it uncomfortable.
- It could have been better if it came as a pair.
5. SIMIEN - Tennis Elbow Brace
This elbow brace is effective for pain relief, and you’ll get two for a much lower price. It also features a compression pad which offers relief for tennis and golfer's elbow pain. In addition to the pad, this brace by Simien comes with a wrist sweatband and E-book – amazing, right?
Since they come in twos, you can have one to use when exerting your muscles in the golf course or the tennis court and leave the other at home or work.
It is versatile and you can use it for computer or mouse elbow, golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, pool or billiard elbow, rower’s elbow, or fishing elbow. You are also free to use it in basketball, weightlifting, or any other activity that causes hyperextension. It complements or replaces compression sleeves.
What makes up this SIMIEN Tennis Elbow Brace?
65% neoprene and 35% nylon makes it up. For your safety, the logo is 100% natural rubber and NOT latex. So, yes, it is latex-free.
The braces fit almost all sizes thanks to the adjustable hook and loop straps. Circulation isn’t cut off when wearing the brace. It is a good choice for relief of muscle and joint pain from carpal tunnel syndrome, lateral epicondylitis, elbow tendonitis, or arthritis pain. If you are a construction worker who engages in repetitive arm motions, this 0.8-ounce brace will work perfectly on your elbow.
- Affordable for two braces.
- Effective in pain relief at the elbow caused by different activities and joint/ muscle conditions.
- Comfortable to wear when working and when off work thanks to the lightweight of the construction materials. It doesn’t restrict movement.
- Comes with an e-book on how to use.
- It is slightly big for petite ladies.
- It could have been even better if it were thicker.
- Some users complain about Velcro’s poor structural integrity.
Factors to consider when buying an elbow brace
The market has elbow braces as well as sleeves, and we know just how frustrating the confusion can get. So, we have prepared a list of all the factors that you should consider when getting an elbow brace.
1. Elbow brace styles
To avoid getting the wrong elbow brace this time around, you'll have to determine the most appropriate brace style.
The main styles include the tennis elbows strap, the elbow compression sleeve, and the adjustable elbow brace with straps. How do you differentiate them?
The elbow compression sleeve
These are the most versatile elbow compression options that come with a nice balance of compression, heat retention, support, and protection. The compression sleeves reduce inflammation through compression and heat retention, both of which increase blood flow. The sleeves are moderately lightweight with bamboo, nylon, or neoprene construction materials.
Pro tip: The comfort and the ability to wear the sleeve 24/7 depend on the sleeve’s material. Bamboo is very comfortable, lightweight and breathable. The usual sports compression materials offer little support. The copper-infused sleeves are good for prevention of a second injury, though they provide mild support.
We can conclude with the following about the styles:
- Reasons for compression sleeves
- Perfect for prevention of injuries
- Made of breathable material to regulate temperature – can be worn all day and night
- They keep your muscles warm through a workout session.
- Reasons against compression sleeves
- They aren’t adjustable, and the sizing may be off
- They offer mild support
- You have to be keen about the materials you purchase
The Tennis Elbow Strap
There are far too many of these on the market, and they are preferable to many individuals because of the adjustable straps which allow for a custom fit. The sizing and compression are variable meaning that you choose the amount of pressure you need to put on the elbow.
How does it work? It applies a counter-force bracing force to the forearm which reduces the tension on the muscles which attach to the elbow joint.
These braces feature an air pocket that aligns with your forearm muscles concentrating pressure on desirable points. There are braces with plastic squares rather than air pockets but they feel uncomfortable.
Expert tip: use the adjustable strap to regulate the pressure applicable.
Here are the things we disliked – lack of heat retention capabilities and inhibition of motion.
The good features include: Customizable levels of compression, the compression air pad that contours to your arm’s shape, and the high-quality Velcro straps.
The adjustable elbow brace with straps
Though these can hinder a small range of motion, it offers higher levels of support. Straps on the forearm and the upper arm mean that almost everyone can wear these braces. The straps allow for customization of the braces.
Regarding heat retention, these adjustable elbow braces with straps retain just enough heat to allow for maximum blood circulation reducing inflammation. You don’t feel the braces overheat because of the breathable neoprene construction. This makes them the most comfortable braces.
Since the brace extends to the middle bicep it the upper forearm, you cannot tighten the straps – the brace extension improves stability and stops sudden motion.
What we like
- Excellent support from comfortable material
- Heat retention to reduce inflammation
- Variable customizable levels with high-quality Velcro straps
What we didn't like
- Loss of breathability if worn for too long – it will overheat with time
- It may inhibit motion
Bonus elbow brace style
The Epicondylitis Clasp
These are by far the most expensive and also the braces/ clasps that offer the highest level of support. They are made of plastic and have a strap to secure them in place.
Tip: you have to apply it on the right spot for it to absorb the pressure directly from the tendon or muscle directly below it.
But, having listed the styles, we feel like there is, even more, confusion. Here is a more detailed guide on the factors under consideration:
The material used in the design of the elbow brace determines the braces’ comfort, the breathability, durability, and the support of the elbow brace. The material mainly determines the wearing feel meaning that you should choose wisely. The most common materials include neoprene, polyester, spandex, and nylon. In most braces, the fabric remains secure thanks to the tight Velcro straps.
There also are elbow braces made with nylon and infused with copper ions. Copper ions have healing properties while serving as an analgesic and as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Pro tip: The material used must be comfortable and it shouldn’t cause itching, extreme moisture retention, odors, and restrictive movements. You must also take into consideration the durability of the elbow brace’s material especially if you must wear the brace every single day and night.
3. Level of protection needed
This depends on where protection is necessary. Most braces work for injuries on the elbow where the bones join the muscles. For impact when you have your brace on, the tendon usually tenses up, but that pressure goes to the brace instead keeping the elbow tendons and muscles safe.
Expert tip: secure the brace on the exact area that needs support, compression, and protection for maximum benefits.
If looking for support, look at the strapping on the braces. You can either use compression braces and sleeves or reasonably with Velcro straps. The braces with velcro straps target the tendons and forearm muscles.
Pro tip: if you don’t think you can handle the heat from a compression sleeve choose the smaller elbow brace which has Velcro straps and is easily adjustable.
5. Ease of cleaning
Most braces come in single, and if worn every day, it should be easy to clean. Look for machine-friendly braces.
Expert tip: Machine-wash in cold water delicately. Also, tumble dry it gently. Avoid use of harsh detergents for the brace to last long and protection of its elasticity.
6. The price
The prices depend on the design, the style, and the material used in the design. The cheapest options consist of the braces made of nylon and polyester. Unfortunately, they are not durable or breathable. The most expensive elbow braces are hybrids made of materials like neoprene. Copper-infusion and use of bamboo lead to higher rigidity and strength - they are relatively expensive too.
Pro tip: skip the cheap braces and strive for a balance of value and comfort, even if that means buying an expensive piece. The pain relieving abilities, durability and comfort should come before the cost.
The elbow brace must be lightweight since you get to wear the brace daily and work or play with it. The other reason for the light-weightedness is that the brace shouldn’t cause unnecessary pressure on the hurting elbow. Even when using an elbow brace for prevention, you should wear one that won’t strain your arms and elbows.
Pro tip: the brace shouldn’t just be light, it should be airy too. Breathability is the result of a light fabric with air pads or mesh panels.
8. Ergonomic design
The best elbow braces have designs that automatically take in or follow your arm’s shape. This contouring is right for a secure fitting as well as the freedom of movement
Pro tip: look at the fabric used and the construction design to determine if the design is ergonomic and comfortable or not.
For comfort, you have to look at the breathability, lightweight, absence of irritants, and it must have a moisture-wicking system.
Expert tip: an elbow brace cannot offer comfort minus support. There should be a balance of the two.
In summary, get an elbow strap with a liner that will absorb moisture, a dual strap to stay in place, air cells with targeted pressure, adjustable straps, various sizes, lightweight, contouring and the one available in a warm color.
There you have it, the list of factors you have to consider when buying elbow braces. Our review captures elbow braces and some sleeves that meet the above requirements, and they are useful in pain management.
The market has an ever-increasing number of elbow braces and accessories which can be confusing. However, this is our guide to direct you on the best elbow braces. You need elbow braces for healing, pain relief and normalcy. The braces must have the right features to offer these benefits. These features include soft, comfortable, and supporting fabric with or without adjustable straps. Lightweight and durability count as well.
These five elbow brace models are elegantly fashionable but, Kunto Fitness Elbow Brace Compression Support Sleeve is our Editor’s choice and takes the day!
The main reasons why we highly recommend this Kunto Fitness Elbow Brace Compression Support Sleeve is that it is versatile and offers superior protection for the elbow. It is versatile and relieves pain that results from joint inflammation, tendonitis, golf elbow, tennis elbow, and other elbow pain.
The brace is ideal for use in any activity that requires strength from the arms. Therefore, you can use it when lifting weights, playing basketball, baseball, tennis, badminton, golf, or when powerlifting.
Since this brace looks good, you can comfortably wear it everywhere. The comfort comes from the four-way construction design that makes the elbow brace non-restrictive to movements. And, it doesn’t slip off regardless of the size or the shape of the brace because of its ergonomic weaving. So, if you feel stuck, just go with this one. You won’t regret it.
With that said, feel free to get any of our reviewed elbow braces for superior support and effective pain relief.