The shoulder consists of two joints – the acromioclavicular (or ac) joint and the glenohumeral joint. It also comprises 3 bones – the humerus (upper arm bone), the clavicle (collarbone) and the scapula (shoulder blade). The shoulder joint also comprises a complex network of muscles, tendons and ligaments to ensure that it is strong and stable enough to carry out widely varying arm and hand actions including (but not limited to) lifting, pulling and pushing.
The role of a shoulder brace will be to act as a shoulder stabilizer and reduce pressure on shoulder ligaments, tendons and muscles. By doing this, it allows these structures an opportunity to rest and recover as part of a conservative treatment approach.
A shoulder brace can also provide pain relief by compressing the shoulder joint and reducing inflammation. In addition, it can stabilize the shoulder and arm so that the injury will heal with the joint in the correct position.
If you suffer from shoulder instability (probably as a result of a previous injury) a brace can also achieve shoulder immobilization and help to prevent injury re-occurrence.
Causes Of These Shoulder Injuries
These injuries can occur either as a result of playing sports or can be due to the requirements of your occupational or vocational activities.
If you play contact sports like football or hockey, shoulder injuries can happen on impact with another player or with the ground after falling awkwardly. Rotator cuff injuries can be the result of the repeated throwing or serving actions that are integral to many sports, from tennis to baseball.
On the other hand, you can also develop these shoulder conditions as a result of occupational or vocational activities. For example, your job may involve plenty of overhead activity as do many construction jobs. Vocations like gardening can also sometimes require you to spend plenty of time using your arms overhead (e.g. trimming tall trees or hedges). Overhead activities such as these can over time lead to shoulder problems like bursitis, tendonitis or impingement.
What To Look For In The Best Shoulder Braces
The best shoulder braces will help you keep your shoulder elevated. That will in turn improve blood circulation and promote healing. Some of them will also serve as aids to improve poor posture. This poor posture may actually be the root cause of the pain you are experiencing.
The best shoulder braces will also apply compression to the shoulder joint to limit inflammation such as tendonitis or bursitis. In addition, the best shoulder supports will also apply heat therapy to your shoulder to promote circulation and accelerate healing of your injury. Neoprene shoulder supports are particularly ideal for this, as neoprene by its nature tends to retain heat.
If your brace is sized, we would strongly recommend following the manufacturer’s guidance as to the measurements you should take to determine your size. Failing to choose the correct size could result in the brace not performing as intended, with adverse health outcomes for you.
If your brace is larger than the correct size, it may not provide the support and stabilization you need. On the other hand, choosing a size that is too small can result in discomfort while wearing the brace. You will then not wear the shoulder brace as much as you should and your recovery time will be longer as a result.
If your measurements place you between sizes, we would suggest that you choose the larger size.
Care & Maintenance Of Your Shoulder Brace
In addition to choosing the correct size, we would suggest that you closely follow the manufacturer’s suggestions as to caring for your shoulder brace. Please pay attention to the instructions for washing and drying the product. In many cases, the material used to construct the brace will not stand up to machine washing and drying, and you should hand wash the product and machine dry it instead.
If you do not follow the proper procedures for washing and drying the performance of the shoulder brace may not be what the manufacturers intended.
If you are advised to wear a shoulder support (perhaps due to a torn rotator cuff), you should check with your doctor as to how long you should wear it. Too much time wearing the brace can result in conditions like a frozen shoulder problem , which can severely restrict shoulder range of motion.
You should always choose your shoulder brace with the aid of a qualified healthcare professional. However, there are a few criteria that are always important. Wherever possible, the support you choose should be as comfortable as possible to promote patient compliance.
In addition, a brace that is easily worn under everyday clothing will be more convenient to wear at work, social or other everyday activities. This will also help with patient compliance, more complete pain relief and accelerated recovery.
If you need any information about the design features of one of the shoulder braces shown below, please ask and our customer service associates will be pleased to help.
However, if you have questions about the nature of your shoulder injury or about the problem or disease you are facing, we would strongly recommend consulting with your healthcare advisor.
Please note that the shoulder braces included in this section do not include arm slings or neck braces. Those are included in separate product categories.