Elbow sleeves help manage pain and aid recovery by improving blood circulation and preventing muscle soreness. The increased blood flow supports faster injury recovery, while the sleeve also provides greater skin protection and temperature regulation than other support band options.
Support sleeves are intended to help with stiff joints and reduce elbow pain. Some sleeves include a brace or strap for muscle relief and more versatile, adjustable daily use. This can also allow you to target additional compression to specific areas, increasing circulation while reducing inflammation.
Standalone straps and braces differ from compression sleeves, and serve a different purpose. A strap wraps around a specific part of the arm, typically just below the elbow, to compress the forearm and absorb soft tissue shock in the wrist, elbow, and forearm.
By combining a strap with a sleeve, you cannot only stay active during recovery, but the sleeve + strap combination can also change the angle from which your muscle tendons work, which allows inflamed tendons to relax and recover without further discomfort.
Compression sleeves can be worn every day, or as recommended by a doctor or physical therapist. Sleeves, bands, and other elbow support options, however, are only designed to offer temporary comfort, and will not cure a diagnosis of tennis elbow. They can offer invaluable comfort and support as you follow a larger recovery plan developed by your doctor or physical therapist.
Keep in mind that compression sleeves come in many different materials, and each one may have a slightly different fit.
The standard elbow sleeve is designed to put direct pressure on the outer side of your elbow—where the skin is thickest on your forearm. By putting pressure on your extensor muscles, tension is reduced, helping them attach to the lateral epicondyle.
Dual support sleeves cover more skin than just straps, so they may not feel as comfortable to some people. However, dual support braces provide elbow joint support in addition to targeting the usual symptoms of tennis elbow. Dual support sleeves/braces are ideal for people who experience tennis elbow pain in more than just one location (the wrist and forearm, for example).
Some sleeves include a gel insert or pad inside the sleeve to push down on both tennis and golfer’s elbow problem areas, allowing for more therapeutic effects and serving as a preventative measure against further injuries. This gel insert feature allows you to continue playing or working out at your hardest in increased comfort and without fear of worsening existing injuries.
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overloaded, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm.
Despite its name, athletes aren't the only people who develop tennis elbow. People whose jobs feature the types of motions that can lead to tennis elbow include plumbers, painters, carpenters and butchers.
The pain of tennis elbow occurs primarily where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to a bony bump on the outside of your elbow. Pain can also spread into your forearm and wrist.
The pain associated with tennis elbow may radiate from the outside of your elbow into your forearm and wrist. Pain and weakness may make it difficult to:
Tennis elbow is an overuse and muscle strain injury. The cause is repeated contraction of the forearm muscles that you use to straighten and raise your hand and wrist. The repeated motions and stress to the tissue may result in a series of tiny tears in the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the bony prominence at the outside of your elbow.
As the name suggests, playing tennis — especially repeated use of the backhand stroke with poor technique — is one possible cause of tennis elbow. However, many other common arm motions can cause tennis elbow, including: