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5 Best Shoulder Braces for Sports

by Amanda Ghosh April 29, 2017

Senior playing sportsShoulder injuries are super common. They are also irritating, painful, and restrictive. That's why it’s an excellent idea to always keep a shoulder brace for sports handy. Unless you’re doctor benched you, don’t let yourself be kept away from your favorite athletic activity. There’s no need. Giving up an active lifestyle has other consequences such as weight gain, loss of flexibility and strength, and reduced cardiovascular fitness. The right shoulder brace will address your specific condition, and protect and support your shoulder during sports, while also meeting your individual range of motion, compression, and fit requirements. We know the wide selection gets confusing so we've put together these top 5 contenders.

1. EVS Sports SB02 Shoulder Support

EVS Sports SB02 Shoulder Support

Amazon

The is our first pick. We chose this brace because it is specifically designed as a sports brace. It is going to stay in place on your shoulder during physical activity, and its adjustable arm feature will keep you from being chaffed in the process. We also like that this brace can fit around arms of all sizes, so from buff biceps to no biceps, fitting the brace around your arm to help your shoulder won’t be a problem.

Pros:
  • Breathable fabric
  • Won’t snag
  • Offers shoulder support and stabilization
Cons:
  • May fit too snug on larger chest

2. GOGO Double Shoulder Support

GOGO Double Shoulder Support

Amazon

Pain in both shoulders? We hear ya! So, we picked a brace that supports both shoulders at once. This brace does just that and it's ideal for active people. This one offers compression and warmth for both shoulders and both arms to keep the muscles and joints flexible.

Pros:
  • Retains heat to ease discomfort in joints and keep muscles loose
  • Supports both shoulders simultaneously
  • Doesn’t slip when sweaty
Cons:
  • Brace tends to ride up the arm

Tip:
This brace isn't going to correct bad posture, so please don't buy it for that purpose.

3. NMT Arthritis Shoulder Brace

NMT Arthritis Shoulder Brace

Amazon

We picked the NMT brace because there a lot of folks out there battling arthritis to stay active, and we wanted to showcase a brace for them. This brace has magnets to stimulate the blood and get it circulating to help internal healing. It also reduces pain and generates warmth, which is awesome, because as we know, cold can be a problem for people with arthritis. Wear for golf or other activities, and you will find support and relief from not just arthritis but also joint pain, tendonitis, and bursitis.

Pros:
  • Magnets increase circulation and promote healing
  • Keeps shoulder area feeling warm but not hot
Cons:
  • May cause chaffing

4. Shoulder Brace by Vive

Shoulder Brace by Vive

Vivehealth

This is another top choice. Frankly, it’s a lot of peoples’ top choice. It’s a best seller on Amazon with many favorable ratings. It’s our favorite because it supports and prevents rotator cuff injury, which we know is a real concern for a lot of people. But, it’s also a winner for several groups of people including those needing to address a dislocated AC joint, labrum tear, frozen shoulder, bursitis, tendonitis, sprain or soreness. Compression therapy also enhances the healing process and may help you to have more awareness about your shoulder because of the light pressure you feel with the compression. All in all, this brace is best suited for active individuals with the aforementioned conditions. This brace will also work well as a women's shoulder brace for sports.

Pros:
  • Lightweight, breathable
  • Can be worn on right or left shoulder
Cons:
  • Portion of brace that goes on arm is a full sleeve.  Can be adjusted, but not fully opened.

Tip:
Have another person assist you putting the brace on the first few times until you get a sense of what the proper fit feels like when you’re wearing it. This way you’ll get it right when you put it on by yourself.

5. Play Active Shoulder Brace

Play Active Shoulder Brace

Amazon

Sometimes people want a brace to wear during the game to manage an injury or before and after athletics to reduce pain and continue with treatment for a shoulder problem. So, we picked this brace as that is what it offers. It uses a slip design and slips on your arm like a sleeve. It comes with a hot and cold gel pack that sits in the brace itself so you can apply heat and ice to your shoulder. This is best suited for those wanting to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation during, before, and/or after athletics.

Pros:
  • Treats shoulder pain and rotator cuff injury
  • Includes gel hot and cold pack
  • Comes with an extra wrap and support straps
Cons:
  • Tends to loosen, may be too bulky for some sports.

Tip:
Product may loosen with wear, so consider buying a size smaller. As long as it’s not cutting off circulation or painful, you’ll get some extra compression.

How to Maximize Shoulder Brace Benefits 

A shoulder brace is going to offer a lot of support and protection. But, if you want to get even more out of the time you spend wearing it, try these tips:

  • Strength train to build up the shoulder muscles
  • Practice proper posture or retrain your posture (maybe alternate use with a brace for posture)
  • Develop flexibility in your shoulders through yoga or specific exercises
  • Use heat and ice as necessary (typically try heat before exercise and ice after)
  • Use proper form during strength and flexibility training
  • Don’t just train large muscles or use heavy weight; ensure your small stabilizing muscles have gotten some love too, especially as they relate to the shoulder

FAQ: Shoulder Braces for Sports

Q. What brace is best for my exact shoulder injury?

A: There is no best brace, but there are smart choices when it comes to choosing a shoulder brace for sports. You want one that addresses your condition first and foremost. After that, it is personal preference and individual requirements. If you also want compression and the flexibility to use a wide range of motion, you would look for a brace that offers those particular features. It’s up to you. We’ve listed a variety of braces to meet many different needs, and we think all of them are smart choices.

Q. How long should I wear the brace, and do I have to wear it when I’m not playing sports to get the benefits?

A:Your doctor may have specific requirements, and if they do you should follow those first. But, you can wear a brace whenever you play sports and when you’re lounging or taking it easy. You want to be doing some strengthening and flexibility and/or corrective exercises as prescribed by your clinician on the side though. As you become dependent on your shoulder brace, your shoulder muscles become dependent on it. Ultimately, you want to be getting the support and protection from your brace during sports but the proper strength, flexibility, range of motion, and stability from corrective exercises.

Q. What might have caused my shoulder injury, and should I stop any of my activities?

A:Repetitive motion during sports is a common cause of many shoulder injuries. You don’t need to stop the activity (unless required to by your doctor) if a brace is offering you enough support and protection to keep going! But, it's always best to heed the advice of a medical professional first.

Deciding on the Best Shoulder Brace for Sports

Smart brace decisions are well thought through decisions. And remember, you should always discuss shoulder pain & activity with your doctor. Your shoulder has a range of motion, and you have a range of options when it comes to shoulder braces.

We’ve selected 5 terrific options that meet a variety of different needs, so take a look back through their pros and cons, see who they’re meant for, and make a decision. We don’t think you will go wrong with any of these, but take your time, do some research, speak with your doctor, and find what works for you.

Sources:

http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00327

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/repetitive-motion-injuries#1

https://patient.info/health/re...

Amanda Ghosh
Amanda Ghosh

Amanda has a Masters of Science in Nutrition from Syracuse University which equipped her with courses applied to licensure as a dietitian. She also worked as a Program Director for the Wellness and Fitness Department for the YMCA. She is well versed in physical fitness, with a certificate from the National Academy of Sports Medicine in physical fitness training. She has taught numerous fitness classes, including college courses in the Athletic Department, as an adjunct instructor, at the SUNY University at Buffalo. She currently resides with her husband in the NYC area, and loves to put her knowledge of anatomy and physiology to use by being active. Both her and her husband are self-declared "foodies."


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