The following post will really open your eyes as to why you’ve been battling tennis elbow so long and will most likely go against everything you thought you knew about your tennis elbow injury.
But you really need to hear and understand it if you want your elbow to get better.
Keep pulling on a tennis elbow brace for your tennis elbow injury or simply throw them in the bin?
If so, which one works best and how do you choose one?
What about straps, supports, braces and physio tape?
How do you distinguish between them and is one more effective than another?
You should not wear an elbow brace for tennis elbow unless you are in the small minority.
The exception is that you should only pull one on for short durations when you are playing tennis, golf or any other sport or activity that involves using your affected arm for repetitive movements.
For the most obvious reason, you should not be using your arm so often if you are suffering from tennis elbow and should really cut back on sport activities and actions that only make your elbow pain worse.
And wearing a brace when walking around, sleeping, sitting at home or at work is most definitely out of the question.
Just because a medical website said that you should wear a tennis elbow brace for a weeks to help with your recovery, should you really take them for their word?
Are they wrong?
It is not uncommon to see people playing sports wearing them, so this would suggest that wearing one makes total sense.
The Best Tennis Elbow Brace Is No Brace At All
Just to be perfectly clear about the advantages and disadvantages of wearing these devices, the bottom line is that they are not for the majority of sufferers.
When you wear a brace your affected arm is totally immobilized and restricted for days or weeks on end.
Talk to anyone who has been using these supports of their tennis elbow injury and they will tell you that there is no change in their condition.
I make no apologies in saying that wearing one will most definitely not help improve your recovery time.
You may be wondering why your elbow feels better when you wear your strap, support, brace or band?
But does “feeling good” really mean that your injury is actually healing and getting better?
Again normal thinking is that if your arm feels better then the brace must be doing it’s job right?
You already know that there are various interventions and ways to make your elbow feel better and have less pain.
For example getting shot up with cortisone, taking anti-inflammatory pills, applying topical anti-inflammatory creams, icing your arm, resting your arm are all ways to help alleviate pain in the short term.
But what is really happening is that they are providing symptomatic relief and not doing anything whatsoever to address the damage that has been done to your forearm extensor muscles and tendons.
If they don’t work and are not recommended then why are they so popular?
Of course if you suffered a broken arm, you would be put in a cast so the bone could heal.
If you suffered a sprain to your ankle, you would most likely have it wrapped or taped.
Popular Types of Braces for Tennis Elbow
What makes tennis elbow unique and so different from other conditions?
A broken bone or even a sprain has nothing to do with tennis elbow and are not related at all.
Tennis elbow is almost never considered a strain or sprain to your elbow.
For most people who suffer from tennis elbow, the tear to your extensor muscle or tendon is rarely ever severe.
But what if you have a tiny tear to your muscle or tendon at your elbow?
You may be thinking that you have a tear because your pain is so sharp and numbing that you automatically think the worst case scenario.
Just because you have been battling tennis elbow for sometime doesn’t necessarily mean or indicate that you have torn your extensor muscles or tendon.
Small tears in your extensor tendon can develop overtime but not to all tennis elbow sufferers.
Extensor tendon tears never develop over a 24 hour period or are caused by blunt force trauma to your elbow.
Tennis elbow takes quite a bit of time to develop and it happens gradually.
You should know that because you have a tendon injury, it can take some time to heal and when it does start to heal, it will do so very slowly.
For the simple fact that tendons don’t get a good supply of blood.
Strangely for the larger percentage of sufferers, it is not that your injury is getting worse, it’s that your tendon is not healing at all.
In plain english, your extensor tendon is breaking down.
This process is called tendinosis.
We’ve already learned that your tendon does not get a good supply of blood and if you are suffering from tendinosis, then the last thing you want to do is restrict the blood flow or circulation to your elbow with an elbow brace, strap, support or tape.
Job done! They’ve done what they are supposed to do, right?
Restrict and immobilize your affected arm and elbow altogether!
Wearing a tennis elbow brace restricts the movement of the muscles and tendon in your forearm and around your elbow.
As you wear them, they put pressure on the tissues and blood vessels around your elbow.
And it doesn’t even have to be that tight to cause these sort of problems.
Obviously the tighter the strap, brace, support or tape is, the more restriction there will be.
In order to start healing, your muscles and tendons need to be able to move freely without limitations or restrictions.
To make matters worse, you probably are not even aware that wearing the compression generated around your elbow by these supports, promotes the build up of sticky scar tissue.
The more scar tissue that develops in your elbow, the less you will be able to move your arm freely because this scar tissue impedes the free movement of your muscles and tissues.
To sum up, there are only 2 reasons why you should really use an elbow brace for tennis elbow: 1) when you are playing tennis, golf or other activities where you will be using your affected arm for repetitive movements and 2) for severe cases where your tendon is torn.
One to two hours is the amount of time you should wear your elbow support and no longer!
Never, ever wear one while you are out and about doing daily chores or tasks.
This will absolutely affect your recovery and healing time and only make your tennis elbow worse!
The treatment of tennis elbow like other repetitive strain injuries, is not as simple as throwing on an elbow brace and sitting around waiting for your elbow to get better.
If your goal is to heal and recover as slowly as possible, then taking this route is the way to go.
The question remains, why do so many Doctors and medical professionals recommend you run out and purchase one for tennis elbow?
Doctors “think” these medical gadgets will give you a quick fix and some peace of mind.
The best way to show others that you have an injury is to wear a bandage or support around your injured area, encouraging other not to bump into you.
For pain relief, pain medication will do the trick, but pulling on an elbow brace gives you immediate gratification and “hope” that your elbow will get better.
As mentioned earlier in the post, when you pull one on for the first time, your elbow feels all nice and warm and supported.
Here lies the danger!
Have you wondered why your elbow feels like a wet noodle when you pull your elbow brace off?
The reason for this is because of the shortage of blood and circulation to your forearm muscles and tendons.
Blood in your torn extensor tendon is all good – the more the merrier!
In summary, you should only wear an elbow brace for tennis elbow:
- For short durations when exercising or participating in sports. Never longer than 2 hours.
- If your extensor tendon is really torn – only an MRI can signify this.
What steps should you take to really help your tennis elbow get better for good? What works best as far as treatment goes?
Instead of wasting your time and money on supports, braces, splints and tape for tennis elbow, what you really should be focusing on is how to build the strength up in your forearm extensors and tendons.
Check out these proven 5 simple steps you can do this very minute!
Takes 3 minutes every other day.