What is an Elbow Support?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2019
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An elbow support can refer to a variety of devices that may help reduce pain of slight elbow injuries, especially ones like tennis or golf elbow. These supports are sometimes recommended for pain in the forearm, wrist, and/or hand, too. There’s not a great deal of agreement on exactly what defines the components of the term elbow support and there can be variation in appearance and function of products given this name.

Many elbow support types wrap around the elbow and are attached with material like Velcro®. They provide some stability and may slightly restrict joint movement. Though outer material is occasionally stretchy, a number of these supports have soft lining to promote greater comfort.

A lot of people choose this kind of elbow support to wear during daily activities that might stress an already painful elbow joint. People should be aware support is usually not adequate if conditions like golf or tennis elbow are still flaring. This is especially the case when the person is doing things that really stress the joint, such as significant physical activity, or the activity that potentially caused the condition.


It could be said that this form of support may give a little help to a recovering joint, but it will not prevent more damage to the joint. It also doesn’t act as a license for people to resume all activities without worrying. Instead, people should check with doctors on safe activity guidelines and they should also limit activities, whether or not they are wearing an elbow support, if the joint becomes painful.

Another device that is given the name elbow support, is also worn around the arm. It does not cover the elbow and instead is approximately two inches (5.08 cm), or slightly narrower or wider. This support may place compression on the nerves below the elbow joint, and some people find this useful for treating conditions that affect the lower arm, like carpal tunnel. Other people use this support for common elbow conditions.

Unlike the wrap around the elbow type, the thinner, below the elbow fit, fails to provide much stability for the elbow joint. It doesn’t keep it in place, and doesn’t help the upper part of the joint in remaining still. The stretchiness of a wider elbow support won’t immobilize the joint either. To get greater stability for the joint, people usually need to select elbow braces, which may contain metal or other stiff materials that will really keep the elbow from moving. Some braces are available in stores, or doctors may prescribe ones that people could obtain from medical supply locations.

In determining type of elbow support, folks should definitely consider discussing this matter with a doctor. Doctors may have definite opinions on which supports are most effective or appropriate, given underlying conditions. Once a type of support is chosen, people may still have lots of choice in brands and styles at places like local pharmacies or online.



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