10 Best Elbow Braces Tested In-Depth
Our bodies were made to run. Human beings have the unique capacity to be able to indulge in distance running that surpasses the stamina of almost anything else on earth. This is part of the reason why so many of us love running as a sport or hobby. It’s relaxing, beneficial, and releases all of those wonderful endorphins that leave us feeling so good when we finish. On top of all of that, it contributes to the type of body that we’ve always wanted. As many benefits as there are to running—there’s also a downside.
Running is a high-impact sport. This means that it places a lot of stress on your joints and your body to perform at a certain pace. Each time your foot hits the ground it sends a shock up your ankle, to your shin, to your knee, and throughout the rest of your body. These are some of the most common areas affected by years of high-impact physical activity, but many people forget about their upper extremities. As you run, you’re jostling your arms in a way that can eventually lead to pain.
Whether you swing your arms or attempt to move them as little as possible to maximize blood flow to your legs, you’re still engaging them in some way. Many runners also enjoy several different sports and activities. This is another thing that can contribute to injuries of major joints like the elbow. Just like with knee or ankle braces, your elbow needs to be protected. Elbow braces are great way to give your joint the extra support it needs no matter what sport you’re participating in.
We’ve reviewed some of the best elbow braces on the market for durability, flexibility, and performance. We considered these, and several other factors, to come up with a review list that brings the best elbow braces together in one convenient place.
- Zensah Elbow Sleeves
- Moisture Wicking + Anti-Odor
- Easy to use supportive design
- Bracoo Elbow Strap
- EVA Pad for Stabilization
12 Best Elbow Braces
1. Zensah Compression Sleeves
The lightweight design of the elbow sleeve provides a full range of motion unlike the hard elbow braces. It has a cuff that is able to be folded over to provide greater amount of compression to the upper forearm.
Cost or Value:
The cost is a little bit on the high side, considering its functions and quality. It is a guarantee for money well spent.
- breathable; ensuring you do not get hot while wearing it. This must be because is made of nylon and spandex blend.
- helps to prevent injuries by stabilizing the muscles in the elbow area.
- does not work too well with heavy duty due to the light nature of the fabrics made in producing this product.
2. Bracoo Strap
The EVA pad helps to reduce muscle inflammation during activities and provide stabilization to boost performance. One size fits elbows up to from 7.7” – 11.5”, fits both arms.
Cost or Value:
It is a great product to invest in. the price is relatively cheap and affordable.
- Best for those who extensively use their forearm during sporting events.
- Adjustable so it fits most users
- Gentle compression fights swelling and pain
- The fabric tends to become loose after a few days of heavy duty exercise, thus leading to a reduction in the support provided.
It is lightweight, durable and comfortable for all day wear or usage. There is also the presence of improved liner material with softer and comfortable feel.
Cost or Value:
It is very cheap and affordable. Doesn’t cost much and it has a great discount when purchasing it.
- Improved shape for more comfort when worn.
- Improved soft gel pad for more comfort
- comes in regular and large size options for people of different sizes.
- It helps to improve sore forearm problems and also tendonitis
- It is simply a Velcro strap that adjusts around the arm with no pressure plate present and does not support heavy duty exercises.
4. Kunto Fitness
The Kunto elbow sleeves were designed to provide support, comfort and relief without hindering the user's mobility. The sleeves are made of a breathable form fitting compression fabric in order to maintain joint stability, irrespective of activity.
Cost or Value:
This is a pocket-friendly product that guarantees excellent satisfaction and money well spent.
Generous manufacturer’s warranty- due to the manufacturer’s dedication to offering superior service
Irrespective of the size of your arm or elbow, Kunto is designed to fit any size of arm.
- It is a compression sleeve without copper and this could make users feel a little scratchy on the skin.
5. DashSport System
The copper compression makes this brace odor resistant, antibacterial and antimicrobial. Your health is safe when you choose this product.
Cost or Value:
The cost of this product is well above average, although it isn't considered too high given the benefits you get.
- works greatly in relieving pains, elbow tendinitis, and other injuries
- offer great support for athletes of different sports.
- It has a targeted compression band, with quality support and strong fasteners.
- The compression sleeve could limit blood circulation around the forearm if worn for too long.
6. Simien Sports
It can be used for many purposes and in various fields. It is good for runners and athletes in many other sports. It is a very versatile and useful product.
Cost or Value:
The price is above average, but with all the goodies that come with it, it could be well worth it.
- It is made up of 65% neoprene and 35% nylon. the strap does not wear or tear
- The straps of the brace offer great support and fits perfectly without limiting blood flow and circulation.
- The Velcro straps often curl up
7. Copper Joint Sleeve
It is produced from active copper materials which makes it very durable, and lined with silicon which makes it difficult to slip off the elbow.
Cost or Value:
The price is average when compared to other braces, given the many advantages this could well be worth it.
- prevents odors that might come from sweat since it does not absorb moisture.
- does not cause skin irritation or itches
- It may not work extremely well enough for people suffering from tendinitis
The strap is made of Velcro, neoprene and nylon. This provides great comfort around the elbow without causing irritations or itches.
Cost or Value:
The brace is affordable as it is not very expensive. The price can be considered to be a bit above average in comparison with similar brands.
- It comes with a money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the results.
The strap is adjustable; this makes it easy for all sizes of forearm. It takes only little time to adjust the strap.
- The straps are too narrow which makes the velcro edge exposed and might lead to contact with the skin, causing irritations.
These bands are comfortable to wear with little slippage issues and also contain a gel pad so that, once fixed into position, the elbow has extra padding as well as pressure.
Cost or Value:
The Playactive comes with a total of four bands, two meant for each arm, which means that the runner would get a tremendous amount of value out of purchasing these elbow brace bands.
- Well constructed
- Contains a gel pad
- Helps allieviate exercise pain
- Aids in the healing process
- Multiple straps for one or both arms
- easy to adjust band
- The Velcro may have some durability issues
- May have a chemical odor after opening
10. Vive Elbow Sleeve
The Vive Elbow Sleeve is both supportive to the joint and muscles and stays in place while you move, another reason that this particular brace is highly recommended for long term use.
Cost or Value:
This brace is praised for its lasting durability and its long term comfort, meaning any runner would get their moneys worth out of the Vive Elbow Sleeve
- Well constructed
- Comfortable thick material
- Stays in place
- Well ventilated
- Light weight
- Provide pain relief
- Good for extended wear
- Sizing issues
- May be itchy
The slip-on design allows you to manipulate the adjustments with only one hand.
Cost or Value:
This is a great deal. For one brace, you will need to pay around 15 dollars. Users said that the brace lasts for a long time and the quality is good so this price is really good.
Velcro stays in place and doesn't rub againts your skin
Very easy to apply
For some users, the fit was too tight
The sleeve stays in place thanks to the firm grip but it doesn't affects the flexibility in a negative way.
Cost or Value:
For those who don't want to spend a lot of moeny on brace, this product is perfect. It costs around 20 dollars, one of the least expensive products on the list.
Very attractive price
You get PDF guide with useful exercises
Some users complained that it's hard to find the size
The brace has a special massage effect whenever you move. There are 6 sizes to choose from so you can get more precise fit.
The material is knitted, it's very lightweight. You can easily wash it in the machine and for most users, the product was very breathable.
Cost or Value:
This product is one of the most expensive on our list. It costs around 85 dollars. The product is worth this price.
The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation Of Best Elbow Braces
An elbow brace needs to serve several different purposes. Not only does it act as a support system, it also compresses the area and increases circulation to the joint. This can prevent new injuries and help to heal old ones faster. The type of brace you choose is going to be dependent on your personal needs. Whether you just need something to keep your elbow from getting hyperextended or stressed out, or you need something to reinforce it from an old surgery, the braces we looked at can help.
We understand athletes and the lengths that they’ll go through to stay in the game. This is why we carefully consider a number of different factors when putting together our review lists. The criteria we used to evaluate the elbow braces falls in line with high-performing products that can help you enjoy the activities that you love.
Durability is something you’ll find on almost all of our review lists. Anything that’s involved in athletic activity takes a lot of abuse. This is especially true for any item that’s charged with supporting a part of your body. It’s constantly expected to support and move with your joints. Just like with any other product, not all elbow braces are created equal. The type you buy at a discount drugstore probably won’t give you the same type of performance as the ones on our list. We’ve looked at models that maintain elasticity in spite of extended wear and washings.
The material that the brace is made out of will ultimately determine just how durable it is. You can look up a number of different combinations online and see which ones fit your needs, or you can go directly into a store and try them on. In order to maximize durability, it also helps to pay close attention to the instructions that come with the product. If it says not to machine wash or dry, then get used to handwashing. When you take good care of your athletic gear, it takes good care of you.
Construction and material
The size and shape of your elbow combined with joint sensitivity will dictate what type of elbow brace you need. Different braces come in different lengths and have a variety of different support systems. If you have issues with mobility in your arms, you may want a model that slides on easily as opposed to one that fastens with hooks, loops, and Velcro. If you need additional support due to an old injury or arthritis, look at models that have an additional compression pad. These are areas within the brace that are reinforced with more material. They provide pressure in certain areas of the elbow to increase support and circulation.
Neoprene is probably the most popular material currently used for elbow braces. There are also models that use mixtures of spandex and nylon. When breathability is a factor, you want to choose your materials carefully. You can also find an elbow brace that’s constructed with areas of mesh or with open areas that increase airflow. It can also help to look for a moisture wicking material. The less moisture you have building up underneath the brace, the less likely you are to end up with bacterial growth or injuries due to chafing.
Effectiveness is a key to success. An elbow brace can have a very big impact on your running performance as it can relieve the pain of the elbow. The most important function of the brace is to stabilization of the muscles and joints. This will help to treat tennis elbow, tendonitis, and many more unpleasant conditions. Brace is also a good way of preventing injuries. With the brace, you should feel it hurts you less and you should be able to do normal activities, for example, shaking hands. While wearing the brace, your muscles and joints will have more time for recovery and if you want to protect your muscles from overuse, it will be also perfect.
Running with brace shouldn’t be very uncomfortable however it won’t be the same feeling as without it. From our experience, we know that lightweight design is a perfect option for runners. When you run, the wind resistance makes you feel like your body is very heavy and it’s harder to run. Wearing additional burden may be a challenge for some runners. This is why you should check the weight of the product before the purchase and make sure it won’t be too heavy for you. Your brace shouldn’t have a bad impact on your performance.
What does it mean? Well, you should have a full range of motion and the pain should be much weaker. The very annoying thing about the elbow braces is that sometimes they slip. It’s very uncomfortable when you run so better check if you adjusted enough tightness. Breathability is the next thing that makes product worth money. When you wear your brace, you shouldn’t feel hot in it. Many manufacturers create straps like Velcro in order to adjust the tightness. This is excellent for those who have swollen arms or they need more compression. Remember also that if you sweat a lot, materials like neoprene may not be appropriate for you. The brace should be also easy to put on and put off.
Other Important Factors Worth Considering
If you have already read the list above, it’s time for more points. Demanding customers need to personalize their product and that’s why we have also created the list of points that help you to personalize the product. If you think that these points are less important, it’s not true. Enjoy the reading!
Style & Fit
The appearance may be important for some reasons. Firstly, the color can be sometimes a decisive factor. This may sound crazy but it’s true. We know that many of you prefer dark/ black colors rather than the white ones. Creamy and white colors are very easy to get dirty. If you are planning to run off the road, we would recommend buying the dark one. While searching for the best product, we discovered that there are two types of elbow braces which dominated the market. There are straps which are very small and cover only the area of the elbow and bigger compression sleeves that cover big part of the arm. Nevertheless, both are useful and you just need to decide which one works better for you.
When it comes to size, it’s essential to choose the appropriate for you. If you brace is too loose, you won’t have enough support and there’s a higher risk of injury. Too small brace is also a bad idea however if the product has straps to loosen it, there’s a chance that when you adjust the tightness, you’ll be able to wear the brace. While reading customer’s comments, there were much information that even with the measuring table, people got bad sizes. This is why you should measure your elbow carefully. There are also braces which are in one size- this may be good if they have for example Velcro straps to adjust the tightness.
When people search for the products, they don’t usually read all the information on the package. This is a mistake as there are much information that can help us to decide whether the product is worth buying or not. Let’s start with the way of washing. Many buyers are really happy when they purchase their first brace, they take care of it but then comes the moment of washing. There’s always an instruction on how to wash the brace. Many of our readers complained about the products being not usable after washing. In most cases braces are hand washed and put in the washing machine may result in destroying the product. You must also know that some braces were made for the particular season. We encounter the product that was made for the spring-summer season. We guess that it won’t work very well in the winter.
This is a question that everybody needs to answer. Our generation is becoming more and more into online shopping. Well, there are many advantages of shopping online. If you want to purchase elbow brace but you don’t want to leave your home or the store is far away, all you need to do is to click,, buy”. We love this possibility that the Internet gives us. And what about the sales? Everybody likes to buy something for lower price and save some money. Online, you can search much more sales than in the store. The market is full of running braces and there are many brands that sell their products only online. The bigger competition there is, the cheaper product you can get.
Although shopping online is cool, we see also disadvantages. The biggest one is delivery and its cost. Delivery time can be very long and it’s useless especially if you need the product immediately. Then comes the price for the delivery. There were cases that the brace cost 5 dollars and the delivery 6 dollars- that’s really annoying. You can’t also see the product in reality. Many producers use special techniques to make the product look more attractive to us. It’s the other story when it comes to shopping in the store. You can touch the product, check the material and decide whether it is durable or not. In stores, there are less sales than online. You may also think that delivery price may be high when it comes to online shipping but remember that if the store is far away from your home, you need to also spend money to get there.
Promises from the brands
It may be very useful for a lot of us to purchase the product with the guarantee. Producers offer even guarantee for 12 months. However, you must know that it may not be so easy to give back your material. Many brands don’t allow to give back the product because of tearing. If you want your money back, this also won’t be very simple. There are usually many documents to fill and that’s why many customers resign. Searching for the product with the possibility of returning it works really well for you if you have problems with choosing the best size. If your product seems to be damaged before the first usage, you should inform customer service immediately. Al in all, we hope that with our list you won’t have to worry about returning the product.
We’re trying really hard to provide for you the most useful information. However, we’re not able to answer all your questions in the comments. That’s why we have created FAQ section. Here are questions that many users ask while searching for the best product and we answer them. Read all the questions and make sure you know all the answers.
Q. What’s an elbow brace?
A. This is a device that will help you to treat many diseases and conditions connected with an elbow. Tendinitis, bursitis, tennis elbow can be cured with a brace. Of course, in many cases brace is not enough, sometimes medication or other treatment is needed. In more severe cases like fractures or dislocations, the surgery is the best option. However, elbow brace will help you to recover faster and you will be able to enjoy the running without any pain. Elbow braces are usually used by tennis players, golfers or anyone who loves extreme sports. But it’s also good for runners, the most common reason why we buy the brace is that we want to avoid elbow injuries.
Q. What are the causes of elbow pain?
A. This is a good question. There are many reasons why you feel pain in your elbow. There are many names if issues that may cause elbow pain, we can split it up into 3 sections;
– First group is when you overuse of the elbow- the most common injury in this group is tendonitis
– Second group are chronic conditions- osteoarthritis is the most popular illness in this group
– Third group are all the type of injuries- fractures or dislocations are very common
Q. Why should I use elbow braces?
A. There are many reasons why you should do it. Firstly, the brace will help to relieve pain. Running with an elbow that hurts really bad isn’t something pleasant. Compression given by the brace will make your elbow more stable and it will reduce the stress. Unwanted movement of your elbow will also disappear and it will let your elbow to recover faster. The other reason to wear it is to prevent Chronic injuries. We know that running isn’t maybe the most extreme sport In the world but serious accidents also happened here.
Some people use braces to treatment after severe injuries but you can use it as a protection between any kind of those injuries. Wearing the braces can also let you to save money. Of course, you will have to purchase the brace but it will be the only cost. Going to the doctor, all the check-ups may be very expensive. What’s more, the medication that may be prescribed are often rather expensive so if suitable, braces are a good supplement to include. However, you should know that if the pain doesn’t stop, you should see the doctor immediately. Untreated elbow pain may lead to more severe diseases.
Q. I have really wide elbow and I’m afraid I purchase too small brace? How can I avoid it?
A. Well, the best choice for you will be the brand that offers a detailed table of sizes. Take a measuring tape and follow producer’s instruction. This will definitely help you to find the best size. There may be also a problem when you will be between sizes. This is a very common situation. You’ve got two options- you can choose smaller one for better compression or you can choose the larger one but the compression may be not firm enough.
Your brace should be tight to give you compression but at the same time, it can’t make it harder for blood to circulate. It would be good if your brace had Velcro straps- this would enable to adjust the tightness. Remember also that your elbow may swell so the best option is bigger size with Velcro straps or anything that will help you to adjust.
Q. I’m not really sure about washing. On the instruction, there is written,, wash in the washing machine”. How should I wash it?
A. Your brace is made from machine washable material. However, we would recommend removing Velcro straps if possible. The gentle cycle will be the best option for your brace and you should wash it in the cold water. Laundry detergent shouldn’t have any additives. It’s also not recommended to put the brace in the dryer- let it dry on air. Remember that washing your brace is very important as it helps to keep the original shape.
Q. I want to purchase a product that will last more than 5 years? Is it possible?
A. We don’t think that using the same brace for 5 years would be good for you. Even the most durable braces may not last for 5 years. Well, many of them won’t tear apart but they will lose the elasticity. The shape will definitely change after 3 or 4 years of usage. It’s better to invest in a new brace that keeping the one that doesn’t give you enough support.
Q. What is tennis elbow?
A. Lateral epicondylitis, more commonly known as tennis elbow, is a condition caused by inflammation due to repetitive or strenuous arm use. While its name comes from it being a common malady of tennis players, anyone who uses their arms or wrists in a strenuous fashion can develop it.
There are a variety of symptoms related to tennis elbow. Most common is a pain in the elbow when you are holding or using something in your hand. Icing and wearing a brace are common effective treatments but if pain persists beyond this we recommend seeing a doctor.
Q. What’s golfer’s elbow, and how would that apply to me, a runner?
A. Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is a very similar injury to tennis elbow. Both are caused by repetition of movement or strain on the arm, Golfer’s elbow a condition from stress on the inside of your elbow rather than the outside of the arm, resulting in inflammation and pain. The same type of treatment one would use for tennis elbow is effective for golfer’s elbow. Icing, elevation, and wearing a brace should alleviate the pain and eventually reverse the symptoms.
Q. Can you explain to me what is elbow dislocation and how it can be treated?
A. In the most simple words, elbow dislocation is a situation when particular bones move from the place in your elbow. There may be also a situation when the joint is dislocated. Elbow dislocation is a really serious problem. The most common cause of this condition are accidents on the roads or while more extreme sport. It’s very rare for runners to have it but it’s still possible. In this condition, you should go to the hospital immediately. The doctor will pull your elbow in the place but it’s very painful. You shouldn’t overuse your elbow for many weeks and you should listen to the advice of the doctor. Dislocation is a very severe condition and it will take much more time to treat it.
Choosing an elbow brace isn’t an easy task. There are many excellent products on the market but there are also products that are totally not worth your money. The most important thing when buying the brace is to give yourself firm compression in order to prevent injuries. We know that runners are very demanding when it comes to the health of the joints and muscles and we hope that our list helped you with choosing the product of your dreams. Or maybe you used only our criteria and you were searching for the product on your own? How did it work for you? Let us know in the comments below!
Here are a few sources that we used:
We’re working really hard to provide true and useful information for our readers. Here comes the list of sources that we’ve used during the research.