One of the most enjoyable activities for tennis lovers is the feeling you get from stepping out onto the court, unpacking your racket and bouncing the ball as you prepare to serve it to your partner on the other side of the net.
As you toss the ball into the air and your racket makes contact with it, the gentle vibration of the impact runs down the racket and through your arm.
Most of the time this is a very satisfying sensation and you’re ready to continue the rally along as your partner returns the ball to you and you prepare to hit it back.
A lot of tennis players know, however, that after years of playing their favorite sport, an occasional twinge happens when you hit the ball. It could be in the wrist or your shoulder but most often it is your elbow.
This occurs because, at the time of impact, your elbow is at an angle and tensed as your prepare to convey the optimum energy into the ball by way of your racket.
Over time, this can develop into a repetitive strain injury known as tennis elbow, in which case the twinge turns into a dull ache, even when not playing.
As with any sports, the risk of injury is there every time you put your body under stress. If you’re a basketballer, your knees and ankles tend to bear the brunt.
If climbing is your desired activity, then you’ll be familiar with the pain your hands, wrists, and knees can experience. With tennis, your ankles and elbows are at their limit in terms of bodily stress.
Just as in many sports, there are products available that will lessen the risk or alleviate the pain during your time on the court.
This article will review tennis elbow braces and help to determine what brace will be most practical for you, should you decide to use one.
Tennis Elbow Brace Buying Guide
TYPES OF ELBOW BRACES
If your elbow is giving you grief and even prevents you from playing the game you love, then seeking out professional advice from a medical practitioner is the best first step.
This will ensure correct diagnosis and subsequent treatment in the event of a serious injury.
If you’re at the point where you’re looking for a brace for support or to alleviate pain, then determining the best type of brace will be an important decision in terms of your enjoyment of the game.
The highest level of elbow support, these clasps are the more expensive as well being the most advanced as to how they apply the protection for your elbow. They are generally made of plastic with a strap to secure it on the arm.
When applied on the correct spot, they absorb pressure from the muscle or tendon directly beneath, alleviating some of the forces that present problems for the elbow joint.
They need to be fitted well in order to produce the desired results and they are very effective in doing so. Because of their expense, they are ideal for professional tennis players.
Tennis Elbow Strap
These are fairly common, simple to use and inexpensive.
For the casual player with pain in specific areas, these are ideal because just like the epicondylitis clasps, they are applied to apply pressure on certain tendons and muscles to absorb some of the forces that travel through your arm as you strike the ball.
They are generally constructed of comfortable materials with a Velcro strap for securing them to the arm. Some also have pressure pads which are designed to sit just below the elbow where the pain is most felt.
Tennis Elbow Sleeve
The third main type of brace for tennis players is the full-size elbow sleeve. Also relatively inexpensive, they are designed for more general support of the elbow and thus more aimed at preventative injuries and those that feel some discomfort during play.
They are simple to apply and cover the whole joint, secured with a strap or by their elastic nature. One of the advantages is that they tend to keep the area quite warm, which further assists in muscle protection.
Choosing the Right Tennis Elbow Brace for You
You experience the ache as you play and feel it afterward and you’ve decided to delve further into protecting your elbow from further damage.
As discussed earlier, it would be wise to consult a medical professional to know exactly how serious the injury is and what you can so about it. They may also advise on a recommended brace that will serve your needs perfectly.
This advice should be followed and will result in you getting better results in the long run.
If you wish to select your own brace or you simply want to prevent further injury in the future, then reading this review will assist you in this decision.
Firstly, you will have to determine the extent of protection you want and how comfortable you would feel in wearing particular products.
For the most part, these braces are made of various soft materials such as polyester, nylon, spandex for stretching, and neoprene, among others.
Usually, the brace is secured to the arm tightly by way of a Velcro strap or is designed with extra spandex to become more of a compression band. Either material is fine, and really comes down to personal choice.
When it comes to protection, then it also depends on where you need that protection. The majority of elbow injuries from sports occur where the tendon joins the muscles to the bony structure on the side of the elbow.
A lot of braces, therefore, are quite small in order to target this particular area. Epicondylitis clasps introduced earlier are specially designed to place pressure on this area.
When the impact occurs, the tendon will tense up, however much of that energy will be transferred to the clasp instead, relieving the worst of the joint impact.
They tend to be more expensive because they are designed as a medical aid rather than preventative support. Also, they are made of a slimline polyester ‘cup’, secured by a strap, providing more direct protection to the affected areas.
On the other end of the scale is the brace that you would use for support. Just think about the many other sports that utilize strapping, either as a tape or a manufactured brace to aid in support of joints.
When it comes to selecting a tennis elbow brace, you have similar choices. You could select one that is secured with a Velcro strap and that targets those tendons, or go for a compression brace that slips over your arm.
Both are quite effective but the larger compression ones will provide more warmth for your elbow. This can be positive and negative.
Having warmth over your elbow will aid in muscle protection but on a hot day, that large brace might make things a bit sweaty.
The cheaper braces tend to be made from polyester and nylon that are less breathable and not as durable. More expensive ones go for hybrid fabrics such as neoprene.
Then there are some that contain materials like bamboo and copper to give it extra strength and extra rigidity. This added firmness will decrease the feeling of free movement but will aid in keeping that joint sturdy.
Most tennis players will simply be looking for a balance of value and comfort, both in terms of the feel on the arm, but also the comfort that comes from reducing pain.
The following list will help you to pick out the brace you feel to be the best for your personal situation.
Best Elbow Brace Reviews
1. Venom Strapped Elbow Brace Compression Sleeve
Want the benefits of a compression sleeve as well as a targeted elbow brace without purchasing both of them separately?
This product comes with an excellent quality compression sleeve that is stylish, ergonomic and most importantly provides good support for the entire elbow. It’s made from a sweat-resistant fabric that stretches four ways.
As for the brace, it is padded to assist in the relief of tendon pain. You can’t wear the compression sleeve separately from the elbow brace, but as long as you wear the unit as intended, it feels like 2 products in one.
The adjustable strap is wider than others adding to its beneficial qualities.
- Quality at a good price
- Like two products in one
- Sweat-resistant fabric
- Wide strap
2. Kunto Fitness Elbow Brace Compression Support Sleeve
The reason this sleeve is in our number two position is that it is one of the best quality compression sleeves on the market.
Instead of the usual neoprene or nylon materials, Kunto has engineered a special fabric blend to provide a comfortable, breathable and natural feeling material.
The tight weave gives it a stretchy, yet firm support for your elbow and provides extra warmth over the joint.
Extra warmth though, generally means if you feel the heat or live in a hot climate, then it might be something to keep in mind before rolling it over your arm prior to a match.
Being made of a fabric blend also means that it won’t tend to slip off your arm as much as its polyester cousins. It also makes it more durable, overall providing an excellent quality sleeve.
The sleeve aspect makes it ideal for support, not just in tennis, but a range of other sports. However, bear in mind that it is also might lack that direct energy transmission you’ll get from a dedicated brace.
It is not the most expensive elbow brace out there, but it’s also not the cheapest. There are cheaper ones on the market, but this one is of superior quality and most natural feeling.
- Non-slip Fabric material
- Superior quality
- Can be used for many sports
- Can increase heat and sweating
3. PlayActive Tennis Elbow Brace and Compression Pad
Here is another manufacturer offering multiple products as a package. First, we will talk about the brace itself. It is made in an attractive black and orange design comprised of 65% neoprene and 35% nylon, making it breathable and comfortable.
Inside is a compression pad that helps target that pain area to relieve pressure in the tendon. Secured with a Velcro strap, this brace is an effective mechanism to relieve existing pain.
The entire setup is well made with a durable outer part and the compression pad made up of a comfortable lining.
One aspect that might bother the regular user is that the Velcro fixing is quite close to the edge of the brace, which if not secured well, might cause scratching to the arm. This is the last thing you want when you’re out on the court.
If bought as a package, it comes with a sweatband too. While this might be just a marketing setup, it nonetheless adds value to a brace that is well made and will serve you well on those long sets.
This particular deal on Amazon offers TWO (yes TWO!!) sets of braces with pad AND straps. It’s an incredible deal while it lasts!
- Great looking
- Two sets of products in the package along with extra straps
- Velcro may pull arm hair
4. Simien Tennis Elbow Brace with Compression Pad
If you’re looking for an elbow brace that will stand the test of time, then this lovely product from Simien will meet the challenge.
Manufactured with a high-quality variant of neoprene and nylon, the brace along with the compression pad has been made to last 5 sets and beyond.
In fact, the manufacturer is that confident of its durability, that they’ve offered a lifetime warranty on their creation.
It has an adjustable Velcro strap to enable you to customize the tightness and subsequent support and makes it comfortable for both men and women.
Also, you can use it for a variety of sports and other pursuits to ensure your elbow is well supported, no matter what you do. The compression pad is filled with a special gel.
As opposed to air, the gel provides more consistent and reliable support, much like hydraulic fluid in machinery. The downside is that it is on the expensive side and you may rightly be tempted to purchase a brace at a lower cost.
This is the only thing holding the Simien Brace from being an excellent value product.
- High-quality materials
- Can be used for many sports
- Targets pain areas
- More expensive than other options
5. CopperJoint Compression Elbow Sleeve
CopperJoint has marketed this sleeve as actively helping your joint to get better with their advanced technology. While this claim could be disputed, there is no doubt that this is a high-quality elbow sleeve designed to effectively relieve pain.
It is mostly made of ‘copper-infused nylon’, which is to increase warmth and support over the joint. The remainder is spandex to give the sleeve a suitable level of elasticity.
Add to this the fact that the material is breathable, lightweight and prevents moisture build-up shows that this is a well-made elbow sleeve.
This is a great alternative to taping the arm as it provides compression over the joint without the need for time-consuming securing measures. That said, it also might be limited in targeting specific pain areas like an elbow brace would.
Some customers have also questioned the level of pain relief it provides as well as the durability of the material. At the end of the day, this really is only a sleeve and not a specially designed brace.
But if you’re after good general support for the arm and want a comfortable material, then this compression sleeve will be an ideal option.
- Moisture-wicking system
- Copper-infused nylon
- Questionable durability
6. Corflex Elbow Wrap
The Corflex Elbow Wrap is an extremely well-made elbow brace. With a material that comprises latex-free neoprene, the engineers have envisioned this brace to be comfortable and compact.
With players in mind, the wrap feels as if there is nothing on your elbow but still provides the support you need. It is simple to use as it just slips on and goes to work without any Velcro or excessively elastic material.
On the other hand, people who have smaller and larger arm sizes might not find the full benefits as it may be too loose or too tight accordingly. When it does fit well, it provides direct protection by way of the wrap-around compression pad.
The pads have been designed to deliver excellent counterforce, directing the energy well from the tendon away into the brace. In terms of looks, it is compact and designed to look delightful and more like a sweatband rather than an elbow brace.
Another bonus is the price, making it very affordable for anyone, whether you’re a professional or a casual player. Therefore, this brace is highly recommended if you’re looking for a simple, easy to use and attractive elbow brace.
- Well-made neoprene
- Delivers good counterforce
- Conveniently compact
- Limited Compression
7. Dashsport Tennis Elbow Brace with Copper Compression Sleeve
Another hybrid brace with compression sleeve combination in our line-up, the Dashsport is a good quality brace.
The compression sleeve is made from copper-infused, non-slip nylon to offer added support and rigidity while being comfortable and easy to use.
The last thing you want when you’re playing is for your sleeve to crumple up so Dashsport’s designers have tried to mitigate this with the specially designed nylon.
To add extra comfort, the stitching has been made to allow for extra flexibility while reducing chafing and skin irritation. With the elbow brace, the Velcro strap has been made in order for the player to customize the level of support required.
It can vary widely from very loose to very tight, and with the compression pad made to target the problematic areas, this brace gives you excellent support.
This product is ideal to use across many sports, providing you don’t mind using two products on one arm. If you are in that latter category, then you might benefit more from an elbow brace only.
But if you’re looking for both, then this one provides good mid-range value and packs a decent amount of features.
- Non-slip material
- Fully-adjustable Velcro strap
- Two products together might be cumbersome
8. Mueller Adjustable Elbow Support
You might be looking at this list and thinking that none of these products are what you’re looking for. Sometimes a more traditional approach can be better and with the Mueller adjustable elbow support, you can have the benefit of both.
Looking at the design, it is more typical of your traditional elbow supports, but looking at it more closely, you can see a lot of contemporary technology has been inbuilt into this brace.
Starting with the traditional, the great thing about this support is the dual Velcro straps that give you extra ways to modify it to your preferred tightness.
When it comes to the modern touches, they have made it with a soft neoprene blend for comfort so you can wear it all day. Where it flexes at the elbow, Mueller has added a hydro mesh panel to allow for the circulation of air and breathability.
Here they have attempted to make the brace comfortable and supportive enough to wear it for lengthy periods and across many sports.
There have been complaints though by some customers that despite this, the material still feels hot and itchy after lengthy use. Given that it has dual Velcro straps, this may well be true.
However, for the support it gives the elbows and customizable adjustments, this is a great alternative to the other products available right now.
- High level of support
- Multiple straps
- Good circulation and breathability
- Great for long sessions
- Can be hot and itchy
9. BioSkin Elbow Compression Sleeve
Perhaps you’re the type of player that needs minimal support and would prefer a brace that is less noticeable. In that case, then you should consider the Bracoo tennis elbow strap.
It is one of the smallest braces available, and given that it comes in a light grey color, is less visible on your arm. It is made from materials that are fairly basic but functional and some who have used it have complained that it is not that durable.
Essentially it is on the budget end of the scale and quality reflects it. What makes this elbow brace good value though is the EVA pad made of a blend of materials such as polyester, nylon, rubber, and spandex.
This blend makes it very effective at giving a great level of support to the elbow, sitting nice and tightly without restricting blood flow.
Overall, although it is basic in its construction, the Bracoo elbow brace is highly adjustable, slim and easy to use, all at a budget price.
There’s not a lot to dislike about this support and we think it offers great value for money, and especially so for the casual player.
- Slim Line design
- Comfortable EVA pad
- Compact and easy to apply
- Color makes it harder to see
- Limited Support
10. DashSport Tennis Elbow Brace and Copper Compression Sleeve
There is definitely a movement towards the hybrid construction of elbow sleeves combined with braces and its little wonder. The benefit of having both products working together certainly is quite favorable for some.
Many enjoy the customizable nature of a sleeve and brace. With the DashSport product, they have also infused their sleeve with copper to give it the added benefit of a rigid and supportive sleeve.
The gel pad in the brace itself is extra wide so that those who require that added support will be pleased. In addition, the creators have ensured the look is sleek and modern, and it certainly looks appealing.
The construction of this combo has been carefully created so that they complement one another, rather than simply being two products together. Of course, you can still use them separately, giving it a nudge in that all-important value for money.
Again, keep this in mind if it will bother you to wear two separate products. Having said that, WIMI has done a good job to ensure that the brace and sleeve work together nicely without it being cumbersome.
This is an excellent choice for the player who likes this type of brace, as well as any other sports participant in need of elbow support.
- Extra-wide gel pads
- Modern and sleek design
- Two products together might be cumbersome
Conclusion and Recommendations
We all enjoy a good match on the court, hitting that ball back and forth in a competitive dance with the opposition. We also want to be able to enjoy the game for a lengthy period of time, without external factors affecting it.
This is especially so in the case of damage to elbows and other joints. There is no higher frustration in sports than the inability to participate due to pain and discomfort in our body. The reality of a tennis elbow is that it is largely out of our hands.
For other injuries, you can stretch, apply particular techniques or use quality equipment to help prevent injuries.
Unfortunately, with elbow injuries in tennis, it is the fundamental nature of the game, the hitting of the ball that over time can cause us to experience this.
With an effective elbow brace, however, the risk of pain can at least be mitigated. It is important to consider the nature of the injury you have or wish to prevent.
For general support, for example, a compression sleeve will be highly desirable because it offers good support while being generally comfortable and sleek. Our pick of the bunch would probably be the Kunto with its specially designed fabric.
The comfort and feeling of wearing it is a level above the neoprene and polyester of most products.
Other good alternatives such as CopperJoint, offer an added benefit of infusing copper into their materials, which reportedly has anti-inflammation properties and can help speed up the healing of overworked muscles.
Still, as with most full elbow sleeves, you have to consider the extra warmth which may or may not be what you want.
If you have an existing injury and you want to relieve pain, then selecting a good brace is what you should be aiming for.
The products made by Metersport and Simien are good examples where such technology is ideal for giving you that extra support where you need it.
Because they tend to target the tendon area and direct energy away from the impact points, they really do work well to lessen the pain and reduce the risk of further injuries.
Other products to consider in this category are the Corflex elbow wrap and the Bracoo strap, with their slim design and effective support.
Lastly, we have demonstrated a number of options where manufacturers have provided players an option for both.
These combos from makers such as Perpetuum, Dashsport and WIMI provide excellent value and great technology in that they have a sleeve and a brace with compression pad for maximum protection.
To enjoy the game you love, make sure you’re well protected with the right gear. This will help you to play indefinitely and make those 5-setters a pleasure instead of a pain.