In golfer’s elbow, tiny tears occur in the forearm tendon, which can lead to pain, a dull ache, stiffness, numbness, tingling down to the fingers and a weakened grip. Symptoms may start as mild and worsen over time – both during movement as well as at rest.
One common treatment for both golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow is wearing a brace, strap or sleeve, which provides additional support to the joint and thereby reduces the stress on the forearm muscles and tendons. Braces also disperse forces where the tendon attaches to the elbow joint, which can decrease irritation to allow recovery.
Golfer's Elbow Braces, Sleeves and StrapsBraces, straps and sleeves function similarly and are sold over the counter at a range of price points. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, and you’ll likely find different opinions about which type is the most effective. Here’s a brief overview of each type of external support.
- Strap – This minimalist option provides freedom of movement. Worn around the forearm just below the elbow to change the angle at which the forearm tendon works, some have a pressure pad that is placed on the forearm muscle just below the pain point.
- Epicondylitis clasp – Like straps, these plastic clasps fit around the arm, with a pressure point over the muscle under the pain point to absorb forces and change the angle at which the tendon works to help relieve symptoms. They restrict movement more than a strap, need to be fitted correctly and typically are priced higher.
- Sleeve – Available with or without a strap, sleeves are designed to support the entire elbow, as well as above and below it, so they may feel more cumbersome and affect movement. They can compress and warm the area to reduce swelling and minimize muscle soreness, especially after activity. Some also have an ice pack or can be placed in the freezer for cold therapy after activity.
- Compression pad – Smaller than a full brace but larger than a strap, the compression pad offers stabilization, helps keep muscles relaxed and allows for a lot of movement.
Golfer's Elbow Brace ConsiderationsWhen researching golfer’s elbow braces, consider the following:
- Ease of use – Some tight compression braces may be difficult to put on yourself, and you may need assistance. Note how easy it is to clean as well.
- Comfort – While the brace is intended to foster joint stability, it shouldn’t cause additional pain, throbbing or numbness. It should come in different sizes and/or be adjustable for a custom fit. And the brace must be comfortable so you can maintain your golf swing and everyday activities.
- Material – Many braces are made with neoprene or nylon spandex for breathability and to wick away moisture, as well as resistance to becoming stretched out.
- Effectiveness – How well does it work? Seek professional and personal recommendations and read reviews. Is there a fair return policy or satisfaction guarantee?
- Durability – Is the product sturdy and well-made, or does it look like it might fall apart or stretch out after a few rounds in the washing machine?
- Warranty – Is the product supported by a good warranty so that you can test it and return it if it doesn’t help? A minimum 30-day warranty is recommended.
- Cost – Although you tend to get what you pay for, you don’t need to spend $100+ for a good golfer’s elbow brace. Prices range considerably, so choose what fits your budget, but keep in mind that if it doesn’t help or falls apart, you’ll have to buy an alternative.
Have a physical therapist or healthcare professional show you how to wear the brace, or review online videos to guide you.
Best Golfer's Elbow BracesWhen it comes to the best golfer’s elbow braces, opinions vary, and there aren’t necessarily right or wrong choices. Ultimately, the best golfer’s elbow brace is the one that you prefer and that helps you feel better.
Keep in mind that all braces, straps and sleeves should be used as a supplement to a more comprehensive treatment that addresses the root cause of golfer’s elbow. By themselves, they can provide short-term relief but typically aren’t capable of healing the injured tendon and totally eradicating golfer’s elbow.
The Fiix Elbow Program has a proven track record to relieve golfer's elbow pain and the best part is you're able to treat the injury at home. The Fiix Elbow Program is a combination of using the Fiix Elbow device for 10 minutes, 3x a week and specific stretching and strength exercises that make the tendon more pliable and strong.