How do I Choose the Best Arm Brace?

Jami Yontz

There are many types of arm braces that provide support, stability and relief from injuries or conditions that affect the muscles, joints, and tendons in the arm. When choosing an arm brace, a person should consult a physician or physical therapist to determine the right arm brace to help with the healing of a specific injury. Various arm braces include shoulder braces, wrist braces, elbow braces and thumb braces.

Wrist braces may be worn to prevent pain in the wrist.
Wrist braces may be worn to prevent pain in the wrist.

Shoulder braces are a type of arm brace that can improve posture, provide stability, or prevent the shoulder joints and muscles from moving. Shoulder braces come as slings, immobilizers, or wraps, and there are specific braces to treat rotator cuff and clavicle injuries. Many braces come with a slot for a heating and cooling pack.

A doctor or physical therapist can help decide what type of arm brace is best.
A doctor or physical therapist can help decide what type of arm brace is best.

Wrist braces help to stabilize and prevent pain in the wrist for people with carpel tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and tendinitis. Braces can also immobilize the wrist after surgery or injury, and they can be worn after a cast is removed to prevent the injury from reoccurring. Wrist splints are either made of flexible materials, such as cotton and elastic, or a combination of elastic and foam, aluminum, or plastic elements to provide more support.

There are elbow braces to provide support, immobility and compression. Common injuries that require the use of an elbow brace are tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow and a sprained ligament. Those suffering from arthritis, hyperextension injuries, nerve compression, bursitis, and epicondylitis commonly used an elbow brace to prevent injury, alleviate pain, or heal damaged ligaments and muscles.

Thumb abduction braces and thumb spica braces are commonly used by people who have severe arthritis and need to limit the use of the thumb joint for certain periods of time to reduce inflammation. Splints can be useful for those with injuries or people who have had surgery because they limit the use of the joint, giving the thumb time to heal. Thumb braces are often combined with an elbow or forearm brace to provide greater stability.

It is important to choose the right type of arm brace that will help with a person’s specific injury while allowing them the range of motion and flexibility they may need to perform daily activities. An arm brace may need to be fitted to the individual, or the brace should be easily adjustable. The brace should be made of quality, breathable materials that do not interfere with circulation. There are also many arm braces that include additional features, such as slots for heating and cooling packets or magnetic therapy pieces.

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