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Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow) Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Tennis Elbow can be a Painful condition

Lateral Epicondylitis or Tennis Elbow is an overuse injury of the elbow.

Lateral epicondylitis is a painful condition that affects the tendons that attach to the bone on the lateral (outside) aspect of the elbow. Tendons are what attach muscles to bone.  When these tendons get irritated from repetitive wrist and arm use, they often become inflamed resulting in weakness and pain.  The most common muscle involved in lateral epicondylitis is the extensor carpi radialis brevis, which is responsible for wrist extension.  However, any forearm muscle that produces wrist extension or supination (turning the palm up) can be involved in lateral epicondylitis.  This condition is commonly referred to as “tennis elbow” because it is often seen in tennis players due to the excessive amount of wrist extension involved in backhand motions.

Although this condition is most commonly referred to as tennis elbow, lateral epicondylitis has many different causes. It is common in any sport that involves repetitively gripping an object, such as baseball, softball, racquetball, golf, javelin throwing, and fencing. It is also very common to develop this condition from non-athletic activities, such as meat-cutting, plumbing, painting, driving screws, and excessive computer mouse use.  Though this injury is traditionally seen from repetitive activities and overuse, it is also possible to develop lateral epicondylitis after a direct blow to the outside of the elbow, causing swelling and eventual breakdown of the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle.

The most common symptom associated with lateral epicondylitis is pain. The pain is usually isolated to the outside of the elbow, but may radiate into the forearm and wrist.  Due to this pain, it may be difficult for people to shake hands, turn a doorknob, or hold and lift everyday objects in their grasp. Initially, the treatment for lateral epicondylitis is activity modification. Understanding what motion is causing that pain, and decreasing that repetitive motion or learning the proper technique to the movement are keys.  Rest, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy are also recommended to help alleviate pain.

Tennis Elbow Brace

The GOSTRAP Tennis Elbow Strap can be an effective treatment for lateral epicondylitis.

As part of a comprehensive treatment, a brace is also often recommended to help reduce pain.  The most effective type of brace is a counterforce brace.  Unlike the traditional one strap tennis elbow brace, a counterforce brace, such as the Comffit GOSTRAP Tennis Elbow Support, uses straps above and below the elbow to help carry the load placed on the elbow while simultaneously reducing the tension placed on that area. This brace is effective because it provides a counterforce in the opposite direction of the wrist extensors (muscles causing pain).  In addition because of its two strap design, the straps do not have to be applied very tight to provide support, so it is comfortable to wear all day and does not restrict elbow motion.  When dealing with lateral epicondylitis, a Comffit GOSTRAP Tennis Elbow Support is an affordable and effective addition to a comprehensive treatment and therapy plan.

5 Best Ankle Braces for Basketball Players

Basketball Player Wearing an Ankle Brace

Wearing an ankle brace for basketball can help prevent ankle sprains and injuries.

There has been an endless debate in the athletic community concerning what type of ankle brace is “the best” for basketball players. With the countless options available, it can be a very daunting task picking the one that is right for you. This article will examine 5 of the best ankle braces readily available to consumers, and discuss the differences in support and comfort of each.

The gold standard of ankle braces is the ASO Ankle Brace. Hundreds of schools, colleges, and professional teams use the ASO Ankle Brace worldwide.  It provides medial and lateral (side-to-side) support to the ankle, while still allowing adequate motion for athletic activities. It has a secure, lace up design that can be adjusted as often as needed to maintain support, as well as figure 8 straps that help lock the heel in place to help prevent an ankle sprain. This brace is lightweight and easily fits in any athletic shoe or cleat.  Because it does not contain any hard, plastic inserts, it is very comfortable for all day use and incredibly easy and quick to apply.  It is ideal for use after an acute ankle sprain injury to provide support during rehabilitation or for preventative use to help reduce the incidence of ankle injuries.  Whether you are recovering from an ankle sprain or trying to prevent minor ankle injuries, this is the perfect brace to choose.

For basketball players that have suffered a more severe ankle sprain or who chronically sprain (roll) their ankle, and need more support than a standard ASO ankle brace, there is the ASO Ankle Brace with Plastic Stays.  This brace has all the same qualities of support and comfort that the standard brace provides, but it also has removable medial and lateral plastic stays that can be added to the brace for additional support.  These supports are ideal for individuals who have suffered an acute ankle sprain and need additional medial and lateral support while they transition back into activity.  This brace is also ideal for individuals who chronically sprain their ankle or suffer from chronic ankle instability (CAI).  This brace is only slightly bulkier than the standard ASO brace and has more restriction of ankle motion, however it provides more support and may decrease the likelihood of an additional injury while running, cutting, or jumping in basketball.

The McDavid 199 Lightweight Ankle Brace provides similar support to the ASO Ankle Brace with Plastic Stays; however, the McDavid ankle brace has two spring steel stays that provide the medial and lateral support. These stays are a bit less rigid than the plastic ASO inserts, and provide support to the ankle while still maintaining a comfortable fit.  This brace does not have any additional straps, rather it only laces up the front and uses the spring steel stays and its two layers of poly/vinyl mesh fabric construction to provide a durable brace and the necessary medial and lateral ankle protection.  This style may be more comfortable for players who feel the additional straps are too bulky or are uncomfortable with hard plastic stays.

An ankle brace more suited for basketball players with acute or chronic multiple lateral (outside) ankle injuries is the DonJoy RocketSoc Ankle Brace.  This brace is similar in style to the ASO ankle brace in that it laces up the ankle to provide increased ankle support and compression, but differs in that it focuses its additional support on the lateral aspect of the ankle, since that is the most common area injured in an ankle sprain. It provides a supportive strap at the heel, as well as another on the lateral forefoot to prevent inversion (rolling in) of the ankle.  It is lightweight, easy to apply and adjust, and fits easily into any shoe.

The final brace recommended for basketball players is the Active Ankle T2 Ankle Brace.  This brace has two U-shaped plastic supports on the medial and lateral aspects of the ankle to reduce excessive ankle motion in those directions, while the hinged design allows for normal ankle motion in all other directions.  This brace is lightweight, fits easily into most shoes, and has EVA padding inside the brace that hugs every contour of the ankle for additional comfort. The Active Ankle T2 is great for individuals who have suffered multiple ankle sprains and can help prevent further injury to the ankle by reducing the unnatural motion that causes ankle sprains.  It has an open front design that does not encompass the entire ankle, so it can be more comfortable for athletic activity.  The T2 Ankle brace is very popular among jumping sport athletes such as basketball and volleyball players.

Picking the right ankle brace to fit your individual basketball, or athletic needs can be very difficult. It is important when choosing the right one to understand the reason you need an ankle brace and the differences in support and function various braces provide. Any of these five braces discussed will provide great support to the ankle in helping prevent or recover from an ankle injury, it is just a matter of finding the one that is right for you.

Types of Knee Braces: A Guide to Finding the Right Knee Brace


Knee Bracing can be used for prevention, post-injury, or rehabilitation.

Knee pain is a very common ailment affecting a wide range of people.  A variety of knee braces from many well-known manufacturers such as DonJoy, Breg, New Options, McDavid, and Cho-Pat are available to help alleviate the pain associated with different knee injuries.  Patellar, or kneecap pain associated with poor tracking, subluxation, dislocation, or tendonitis can be treated with sleeve type braces or Cho-Pat Straps, while ligamentous knee injuries to the ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL or cartilaginous injuries to the meniscus can be treated with a variety of hinged braces.  With the help of a medical professional, finding the right brace for a specific injury can be easy.

Knee sleeves and knee straps are the most commonly used types of knee braces used for athletes and the physically active person.  Neoprene knee sleeves are used to give the knee and patella additional support and stability. They are elastic, easy to apply, and provide compression and heat to the knee.  They are great for athletes or patients with arthritis, patellofemoral pain, or chronic inflammation or swelling.  Sleeves with a supportive doughnut around the patella, such as the DonJoy Deluxe Elastic Knee Sleeve or the DonJoy Lateral J Support Knee Sleeve are used to help with patellofemoral pain, patella subluxation, or lateral patella tracking.  Knee straps, such as the Cho-Pat Knee Strap are used for athletes, running, or patients suffering from patellar tendonitis or runner’s knee.

Hinged knee braces are most commonly used for athletes or patients who are suffering from injuries to the ligaments of the knee.  Whether the injury to the ligaments is mild or requires surgical intervention, a hinged knee brace will provide support and stability to the knee during the rehabilitation process and eventual progression back into activity. There are a wide variety of hinged braces specifically designed for the different ligament injuries that can occur in the knee, and provide a varying degree of support to correspond with the severity of the injury.  Design of the braces also varies for patient comfort and use, with the DonJoy Playmaker Hinged Knee Brace in the knee sleeve style or the DonJoy Playmaker Wraparound Hinged Knee Brace in a style that Velcro’s around the knee instead of having to pull the brace on, while still providing similar knee support.  Custom braces are also available to fit specific injury needs. When choosing a knee brace it is important that all aspects of the injury are properly supported, and sometimes a custom brace is necessary.  Custom bracing is usually expensive and made to fit your specific leg.  For proper sizing of a custom brace, measurements are taken by a doctor or trained professional, and the brace is then made to your specific body specifications.

It is important to talk to a medical professional before deciding on a brace.  They can help guide you to the right type of brace for a specific injury and also help with the correct sizing.  If the sizing is incorrect, the brace may not be effective or support the knee and its structures properly.  Always make sure to wear the knee brace during the times and activities it is prescribed by the medical professional.  When they are used safely and correctly, knee braces are very effective tools at reducing knee pain and adding additional support.  For more information on the different types of knee braces, please visit http://www.hat-trick-sports.com/shop/category/knee-brace-support.

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