A tennis elbow brace or strap may be worn on your forearm while your tennis elbow is healing. Such an elbow brace serves two main functions: to provide relief and ensure that the pain does not worsen when you attempt to lift or grip something with the affected arm and hand. At the same time, it supports your affected arm and restrict movement which may worsen your injury when you are going about your normal activities.
Tennis elbow braces come in many variations. Some braces have gel packs that can be heated or cooled to soothe your painful elbow. There are magnetic braces. Some may even have air cell technology that puts pressure on the affected area without cutting the flow of blood to the damaged tendons. Many braces are available online, with prices ranging from $30 and higher.
While choosing the most appropriate brace is important, you will also need to learn how to wear it properly. Here are the steps on how to properly apply an arm band for tennis elbow, as recommended by physiotherapists:
While tennis elbow braces or straps will come in many variations, most will have a velco strap that goes around the forearm. The better ones will have firm padding on the inside of the strap. The firm padding is used to compress the affected area.
Before fitting the brace or strap, test your grip with an object in your hand before putting the strap on. You may choose to grip a small dumbell in your hand, or hold the item which you use most. Observe the sensation in your affected arm.
Next, put on your tennis elbow brace. Place the brace on your forearm with the velcro strap pointing down. Position it somewhere between 3 cm and 10 cm down from the point of the elbow Place the strap over slightly to the outside area of your arm, and more to the top of the forearm.
Now, wriggle your fingers. You should be able to see your muscles move under the skin. That area is where the rubber patch should be placed. Tighten the strap lightly and retest the same lift or movement which you had made earlier.
If you immediately feel less pain in your elbow, you have probably placed your brace over the right spot. If you are unsure, or if you hardly feel any improvement, reposition the band by rotating it, or by moving it slightly higher or lower on your forearm. Retest your grip or lift till your affected arm feels much more comfortable.
Be sure to keep your brace on if you engage in repetitive lifting or gripping movement, or strenuous activity. When you are resting, take the brace off to let the blood circulate more freely to your arm. If your fingers start to turn pale and blue, you probably have your brace on too tightly.