There are so many different devices marketed to Tennis Elbow sufferers. New ones come out all the time. One client I know is still searching for the brace that’s going to work for him and he’s already got five in his closet. He has spent over $800 on just one. He’s searching for the magic brace that’s going to heal his elbow. But guess what? It is not there.
You don’t need to rush out and buy fancy braces. The classic one is the strap that goes around your forearm. Many people don’t know how to use those correctly and they put them right over the area that hurts. It’s supposed to go underneath the sore spot, on the muscles, and it goes on as tightly as you can stand it without your hand going blue or tingling. That’s how it takes the pressure off the tendon.
So, braces or straps can take pressure off the tendon, but they don't heal the tendon. Once you put something external like a brace on your arm, the muscles underneath will switch off. This is a big issue for full healing. When your elbow started to hurt, you will have changed the way you do things to try to prevent the pain. By doing this, you will have stopped using your arm to a degree. Whenever we stop using a muscle, it starts to waste within hours.
This is a big part of the problem with tennis elbow - the muscles are weak. Phase 3 of my program is strengthening, which is essential as this is when the magic happens and you actually heal the tendon. But relying on a brace or strap will accentuate the weakness and therefore, prevent the healing from occurring, which is not a good outcome.
My advice is not to use a brace or a strap if you can help it. There may be times when you need one, such as moving to a new house or you may be in a job where you have to use your arms and can’t rest. Just don’t become reliant on a strap or brace. Our ultimate goal is to wean you off and get you back to doing all the things you want to do with no restrictions.
I had a client who was a sushi chef, it was just before Christmas and he couldn’t take any time off. He wore a brace because he had to work at the time. There are certain circumstances where I will say wear it because it will help to protect the tendon, but it is not a long-term fix. If you can change your activities so you don’t have to wear the brace, that is much more preferable.
However, if you are struggling to sleep due to pain, a wrist splint may be helpful to take the pressure off the tendon to allow you to be more comfortable and get a good night's sleep. This is hugely important as we heal when we are asleep. So, no sleep = no healing. If this is your situation, I recommend you give this wrist splint a try.
If you'd like more tips on healing your tennis elbow, please join my free Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/tenniselbowrelief