Tennis elbow, the occurrence of tendonitis in the elbow joint or lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition that affects as much as 3% of population at any given time. While it is more common in tennis players, the vast majority of sufferers never step onto the court.
Treating inflammatory conditions like tennis elbow can be a challenge. There is a strong temptation to just stop using the elbow to eliminate pain, but true healing comes from proper and supported movement.
To allow for pain-free movement and healing, you can turn to supportive garments. But how do you know which product to choose -- a tennis elbow brace vs compression sleeve?
Both items have their benefits and drawbacks depending on your goals, lifestyle, and severity of your joint condition. We have broken the details down here for you so you can make an educated purchase.
Pros and Cons of a Tennis Elbow Brace
- Provides stability to the joint.
- Supports proper movement to prevent further injury and train muscles.
- Prevents over extension of the joint.
- Can potentially restrict movement too much and slow down healing.
- Muscle atrophy can occur if brace is overly restrictive.
- Stiffness of braces are often uncomfortable to wear, particularly during activity.
Pros and Cons of a Compression Sleeve for Tennis Elbow
- Increases blood flow to the injured area to speed up healing and recovery.
- Flexible fabric allows for greater movement and range of motion.
- Provides comfortable support to the elbow joint during rest and movement.
- If injury is severe, compression sleeves may not restrict the joint enough to prevent further irritation.
- Compression sleeve will not correct improper motion or use of the joint.
Overall, the choice of tennis elbow brace vs compression sleeve is a close race. Braces are great in the short term to allow the joint to rest, but could slow down recovery in the long run with muscle atrophy and restrictive movement.
A compression sleeve is preferable in the long term to reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation in the joint. Generally, compression sleeves will not restrict movement or hold you back from any exercise. Getting back to a regular exercise routine will strengthen muscles and aid in pain relief in the long term.