Tennis elbow is caused by the continual stress on a person's tendons. When these tissues become weakened and inflamed, it can lead to pain in your wrist or arm that makes normal movements difficult. Many people use either Tennis elbow braces or compression sleeves to improve their muscles movements for treating this condition.
Tennis elbow sleeves or compression sleeves are often used to treat arm discomfort associated with lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) and medial epicondylalgia (golfer's elbow). Tennis elbow brace and compression sleeve treatment can be very effective for those suffering from tennis-related pain. When is the right time to use one? How do they work exactly, anyway?! Let's explore these important questions in more detail here.
How Do Braces Work? They keep your arms stable by limiting movement at times when you'd rather not extend it fully outwards (like while playing). It may take some getting used to, but after a while, this helps prevent further damage done by overuse or stress on certain muscles.
Tennis Elbow Pain: What Causes It?
Tennis elbow is caused by repeated forearm and wrist movements that produce microscopic rips and inflammation in the two forearm tendons. Inflammation results in discomfort and decreased function in the wrist and forearm. Its symptoms include:
- A dull ache to a burning sensation to severe pain
- Elbow stiffness
- Poor grip strength
- Numbness or tingling in the fingers.
Tendons are composed of thick collagen bands with a restricted blood supply and poor circulation, which results in sluggish or incomplete healing. Tendons need improved circulation to aid recovery, which increases oxygen and healing characteristics necessary to repair and form new collagen fibers.
Tennis Elbow Bracing
Many studies have been conducted about the treatment of tennis elbow. Tennis elbow and similar disorders are often treated with bracing (like golf elbow) or compression sleeves. Braces exert pressure on the muscles just behind the elbow. The purpose of bracing or compression sleeves is to alleviate discomfort and restore a person's ability to move their arm and elbow freely.
However, bracing alone may not always achieve this goal. Elbow tendonitis is a chronic condition that takes a long time to cure. While bracing or compression sleeve alone may give temporary relief, the discomfort usually returns after removing the brace. As a consequence, a multidisciplinary approach to therapy often produces the most significant long-term effects.
Braces and Compression Sleeves: How Do They Work?
Braces and compression sleeves reinforce the elbow and forearm, limiting mobility and allowing the tendons, muscles, and joints to rest. Additionally, a brace may assist in dispersing stresses that are affecting the elbow and forearm.
One must keep in mind that braces and compression sleeves may help ease tennis elbow discomfort in the short term. However, soreness returns when the brace or compression sleeve is removed, and normal mobility is resumed. Because braces and compression sleeves do not cure the injury, they should not be worn for extended periods or as the only form of therapy. Hence, other treatment methods are important to adopt to cure tennis elbow permanently.
Braces and Compression Sleeves Have Limitations
Tendons must repair to recover from the tennis elbow. However, this procedure needs increased blood flow to the tendons, which braces and compression sleeves cannot provide. Indeed, immobilizing the region with these external supports inhibits blood flow and oxygen delivery to the tendons.
Additionally, compression sleeves that are too tight compress the blood vessels around the tendon, further restricting circulation. Additionally, immobility and compression may result in scar tissue and adhesions, resulting in further tendon weakness. So, it is better to use them after proper guidance from a physiotherapist.
Additional Treatment Methods
In certain instances, bracing alone is insufficient to alleviate tennis elbow discomfort. Because bracing is a less invasive procedure, it is considered conservative therapy. If a patient continues to feel discomfort and limited elbow mobility after using a brace, it is better to seek other therapies. Tennis elbow discomfort may be effectively treated with different types of injections.
Corticosteroid and nerve block injections may significantly relieve pain and enable patients to continue their favorite hobbies. PRP injections may potentially be effective in regenerating damaged tissue in the elbow while alleviating discomfort. The most effective therapies are customized for each patient and often include several of these alternatives.
For assistance in addressing your tennis elbow issues, contact your doctor to get insight into your situation and also the treatment options that you can use. So, make an appointment now to discuss your issue and develop a treatment plan.
Physical therapy, exercises, stretching, and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization are effective therapeutic alternatives (IASTM).
IASTM is a well-established therapeutic therapy that physical therapists have used for over a decade. IASTM uses controlled microtrauma to the tendon to induce a local inflammatory response that enhances circulation, provides healing cells and oxygen to the spot, breaks down adhesions and scar tissue, and eliminates fascial limitations in the tennis elbow.
Together, these factors encourage cellular and tissue regeneration and collagen formation, which relieves pain, aids the tendon in regaining normal tensile strength, and improves functional restoration over time.
Frequent asking questions
- Are tennis elbow braces beneficial?
Tennis elbow and other comparable conditions are often treated with bracing (like golf elbow). Braces provide tension on the muscles just below the elbow. Bracing is used to relieve pain and restore a person's ability to move their arm and elbow freely.
- Will a compression sleeve help with tennis elbow treatment?
Compression sleeves often help alleviate arm pain caused by lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) and medial epicondylalgia (golfer's elbow).
- Is it feasible to wear a tennis elbow brace continuously throughout the day?
Throughout the day, while doing routine tasks, the elbow brace is worn. Use it for a few weeks to see if your symptoms improve. If it helps, it may be all that is required, maybe with the addition of an anti-inflammatory.
The Bottom Line:
Tennis elbow patients need to apply proper treatment plans for better solutions. They must encourage blood flow to the tendons and strengthen and extend the region to properly recover, which cannot be achieved using braces or compression sleeves.
Braces or compression sleeves may restrict blood flow to tendons in the arms or elbows. Therefore, remember that braces and compression sleeves might temporarily relieve the tennis elbow, but they are not the only solution to this problem.