We take our elbows for granted – that is, until this hinged joint between the upper and lower arm does not work as it should and worse, hurts. If you have an elbow injury from repetitive motion, a fall or the wear and tear of osteoarthritis, a brace or support can help your elbow feel and function better. In this blog, you will learn what elbow braces and supports can do.
What an Elbow Support or Brace Can Do
If you have tennis or golfer’s elbow, you are all too familiar with the soreness and inflammation affecting the inner and outer aspects of your elbow. Plus, bending and straightening your wrist and flexing and extending your fingers can become progressively difficult as well.
Instead of surgery or invasive treatments, such as cortisone injections, your sports medicine physician may advise you wear an elbow support or brace. The reasoning behind her recommendation is that these devices provide:
- Support for the bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons and ligaments which make up this hinge-like joint
- Stabilization of movement (limiting painful and damaging hyperextension of the elbow)
- Protection from bumps and bruises
- Prevention of re-injury if the elbow is in the process of healing from a particular therapy, including surgery
- Quicker healing through compression
- Improved circulation
Often, braces and supports are combined with cold or heat therapy as part of a program of physical therapy instead of or after surgery on the elbow joint.
Your Elbow Support Options
There are several choices available. Each may be customized by your physical therapist or orthopedic physician to achieve the desired therapeutic effect for your injured elbow. Options include the following.
This elasticized support covers the upper arm, elbow and lower arm, delivering a degree of compression and support. The pressure exerted by the sleeve is spread over the entire arm, not concentrated just on the elbow. This makes the compression sleeve a great choice for people who wish to prevent painful injury through hyperextension and to keep muscles and connective tissues warmer and more supple during a series of sports or work-related motions.
Golfer’s Elbow Brace
Braces equipped with Velcro closures, golfer’s elbow braces put gentle pressure on the forearm muscles. Working effectively to relieve pain and swelling, this kind of elbow brace is used in conjunction with an active program of physical therapy. Besides helping golfers, this type of brace relieves elbow pain for tennis players and workers who repetitively swing their forearms and hands.
Post-surgical Elbow Brace
A hinged brace which limits range of motion in the elbow joint, this type of orthopedic support is made of rigid materials and has a hinge at the elbow. It alleviates pain and allows for healing. Your orthopedic specialist or therapist can adjust its range of flexion and extension to suit your pain reduction and support needs.
Other Things to Know About Elbow Braces
After you put on your elbow brace, be sure to adjust the straps to ensure a snug, but not constrictive, fit. Your fingers should move freely and never feel numb or tingly.
Also, avoid any friction or excessive compression on the sorest parts or your elbow. Finally, wear your brace as your doctor advises–usually when engaging in more strenuous work or sports related activities. Be proactive about treating symptoms. Do not wait until pain and swelling are at their worst before using a brace.
Elbow Injury Treatment Near Me in Walnut Creek, CA
Laura Timmerman, MD is the board-certified orthopedic surgeon with specialty training in all areas of sports medicine. Whether you have a torn elbow ligament, strain from repetitive motions, osteoarthritis or other acute or chronic elbow condition, she can help you regain the pain-free motion, strength and flexibility you need.
To learn more about how elbow supports and braces could assist your movement and reduce pain and inflammation, call our office at (925) 952-4080 for an in-depth consultation with Dr. Timmerman or request your visit here. Every day we strive to deliver the finest in musculoskeletal care to residents of the Walnut Creek area. Come see us soon.