An elbow brace is worn to support the bone and muscles of the elbow if they are damaged due to a disorder or injury. People with injured elbows often experience pain; this may be caused by sprains and fractures, which are common elbow problems. Other common problems include golfer's elbow, cubital tunnel syndrome, and tennis elbow. A brace may be worn on the elbow to relieve pain and assist in the healing of any of these ailments.
A sprain of the elbow is one common reason for wearing an elbow brace. Overstretching or tearing a ligament surrounding the elbow may result in this type of injury. This type of injury is often painful, and if the sprain is severe, the elbow may also swell. A brace may be worn to support the elbow and prevent further damage as it heals from a sprain.
Fractures are also a common elbow problem. An elbow fracture can happen due to a hard fall, or in an accident or during physical activity. If the elbow receives a traumatic blow, tiny pieces of bone within the elbow may break. A severe fracture may need the assistance of an elbow brace to properly heal the broken bones.
Golfer's elbow, also referred as medial epicondylitis, occurs in the inner elbow. This repetitive motion injury causes inflammation in the tendons of the elbow. Pain may radiate when these inflamed tendons are used to bend the wrist forward, and activities that result in twisting of the wrist may be especially painful. Although playing golf is not the only cause of this disorder, a golf player or other physically active individual may wear a brace to lessen pain.
Cubital tunnel syndrome can be another reason for wearing an elbow brace. The syndrome is caused by pressure on the ulnar nerve, which is a main nerve of the hand and arm traveling behind the elbow. Symptoms include pain and numbness of the hand and fingers. Wearing a brace on the elbow can provide added protection for the ulnar nerve. This may be especially helpful for people who place their elbow on surfaces for extended periods of time.
Tennis elbow is another repetitive motion injury, and causes inflammation of the outer elbow. Also called lateral epicondylitis, it is one of the most common elbow problems. One of the main treatment options for tennis elbow is wearing an elbow brace. Bending the wrist backward may cause pain to radiate in individuals with this condition. The brace will help to relieve pressure in the elbow upon movement.
The methods of treatment for elbow problems will vary according to the severity of the problem present. Anti-inflammatory medications and resting the elbow are often the first courses of treatment. If these options fail to help, a doctor should be seen to explore the extent of the elbow problem. An elbow brace is commonly used to treat problems that may take an extended time period to heal. Many braces are relatively inexpensive and can typically be purchased from a pharmacy or orthopedic store.