Best Elbow Braces for Football Players

5 Best Elbow Braces for Football Players for 2024

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Among the many joint-support products for football players, the elbow brace ranks near the top of the list in terms of preserving the ability to play. A serious injury to an elbow could make it impossible to continue on the gridiron. Here, we take a close look at some of the best football elbow braces on the market to keep players on the field.

Summary

  • The Apoyo Elbow Brace tops our list, with an array of features to meet the needs of everyone, at a nice price.
  • The Kunto Fitness Elbow Brace is among the lowest-priced elbow braces, a nice feat considering the high-quality material.
  • Known for its strategically placed large gel pad, the Dr. Brace Elite Elbow Brace comes at a fair price and can be used in multiple sports.
  • The only hinged, non-sleeve model on our list, the Donjoy Performance Bionic Elbow Brace II provides plenty of protection while still keeping the weight down.
  • The MoonLove Elbow Brace is notable for well-placed gel pads designed for the ultimate in comfort.

What to Look for in Buying Elbow Braces for Football Play

Buying elbow braces for football play has its nuances that not all buyers may not be aware of. Following are details you might look for in marketing materials or packaging. These elements are not complicated, but the seemingly minor details can mean all the difference in the world depending on the player, position, and style of play.

Start by trying to determine the ultimate goal of a brace. Is it to prevent injury? To protect a sore or previously injured spot. Is it to improve performance? Provide peace of mind?

That said, here are those details to hopefully help in the buying process.

Weight. Elbow braces differ in weight depending on the materials used and makeup. Young or light players might need the lightest braces available, to not slow down their game and avoid end-of-game fatigue. Players wanting the most protection possible won’t worry about extra weight as long as it provides extra peace of mind on the field.

Material. Braces with too much cotton tend to get weighed down with sweat during play, and can be hard to wash stains out of. Look for a lightweight textile like some sort of polyester for the exterior; and a light metal for the body for hinged models.

Style. Sleeve, or hinged. If a player is on a team with a lot of games on artificial turf, a sleeve style may be preferred, to avoid rug burns. They tend to be lighter, too. Strap-on or hinged styles tend to provide more support, and give players options in terms of how tight (or loose) they wear it due to adjustable straps.

Special Features. Elbow braces and, especially, sleeves can warm the joint, which is good during play, but also induce more sweat, which is not preferable. Know this when looking at the material, and look for terms like “moisture wicking” or “breathable.” These features also tend to reduce weight over the long haul, as football is among all things a game of endurance. Some sleeves include an adjustable strap, others might not.

Who Needs Football Elbow Braces?

Long associated with baseball due to all the throwing, the elbow is an integral body part for most athletes (non-goalie soccer players excluded). Yet, football might pose more stress to the elbow than baseball.

It’s due to all the pushing involved during blocking, and breaking a fall in tackles. Football puts a heck of a lot of pressure on the elbows. Players with significant elbow injuries should be careful to let it all heal properly. In the process, protect it with braces or sleeves.

Every football player could use one. Yes, even kickers and punters, who after kicking the ball participate in tackling. Kickers might get away with a hurt elbow. Punters would not because they have to catch long snaps.

Particularly prone to elbow injuries are linemen, including linebackers, and running backs. Linemen need strong elbows every play so any injury to this joint ~ even slight strains or bruising ~ negatively impacts play.

Linebackers get that plus the reaching out away from the body to tackle fast-moving ball carriers, a unique pressure that threatens to cause hyperextension or even fractures.

Elbow injuries are painful and reduce mobility for some time during recovery so it’s wise to get them covered up if pain surfaces or persists.

Our Choices: Best Elbow Braces for Football

1. Best Elbow Brace for Football Overall ~ Apoyo Elbow Brace

Analysis

That it included a little something for everyone raised the Apoyo Elbow Brace to the top of our suggestions for football-appropriate elbow brace. Tack on nice pricing, and we feel confident that you can’t go wrong with an Apoyo. That it can be used for other sports makes it particularly attractive for parents.

This sleeve is designed for relief from tennis elbow, tendonitis, and arthritis during play, hence use of “brace” in its name e0ven though it’s in reality a sleeve. A unique adjustable strap separates it from usual pull-on versions. Standing out is the moisture-wicking durable knit fabric, providing plenty of squish on the joint without promoting more sweat.

Specifications:

  • Material: Knit fabric
  • Weight: 2.08 oz.
  • Style: Sleeve
  • Special Feature(s): Adjustable strap, somewhat unusual for a sleeve, for comfort depending on the demand.

What We Like

  • Manufacturer warranty
  • Overall comfort

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2. Best Elbow Brace for Football Runner-Up ~ Kunto Fitness Elbow Brace

Analysis

What impressed us with the Kunto Fitness Elbow Brace is its nice price, and its nylon-spandex-rubber material that fits especially snuggly and comfortably over the joint while allowing plenty of movement.

The fabric’s four-way stretch capability makes it a solid choice for players who want more support but who aren’t overly worried about padding for protection. The sleeve style will stabilize the joint during play, and it’s plenty light to not slow players down. At a third of an ounce in weight, this is about the lightest brace on the market.

Specifications:

  • Material: Nylon, Spandex and rubber
  • Weight: 0.32 oz.
  • Style: Sleeve
  • Special Feature(s):

What We Like

  • Variety of colors and styles
  • Four-way stretch material for comfort

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3. Best Elbow Brace for Football Runner-Up II ~ Dr. Brace Elite Elbow Brace

Analysis

As this model is designed for multiple sports, it attracts a ton of user comments, but its quality and effectiveness made it hard to keep it off our football list. This very nicely priced sleeve-style model includes a unique and well-placed gel pad that provides additional comfort.

This model, too, includes an adjustable strap, and is made of light and breathable material. It has a non-slip feature and is quite flexible for mobility. The gel feature and adjustable strap make this model worth the price of admission alone. Add superior craftsmanship and you have a brace that sits near the top of our suggestions.

Specifications:

  • Material: Compression fabric
  • Weight: 6.38 oz.
  • Style: Sleeve
  • Special Feature(s): Well-placed gel pad

What We Like

  • Comfort, comfort, comfort
  • 24/7 customer service

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4. Best Elbow Brace for Football for Protection ~ Donjoy Performance Bionic Elbow Brace II

Analysis

Now onto the bigger boys, the braces designed specifically to protect. There are a lot of big braces out there but not all are suitable for use in football play. For that we recommend this, the Donjoy Performance Bionic Elbow Brace II. That it includes bionic in the product name says it all.

This is the first hinged style on our list. This model is designed specifically for players who have suffered elbow hypertension, a dislocated elbow, UCL strain, or injury resulting in the need for Tommy John surgery. The adjustable cross-strap prevents hyperextension, and the perforated neoprene material is plenty breathable.

Specifications:

  • Material: Neoprene material, Hex Silicone bands
  • Weight: 1 lb.
  • Style: Hinge
  • Special Feature(s): Bilateral polycentric hinges for support and protection of  medial and lateral ligaments

What We Like

  • Relatively lightweight for all the features included
  • Very breathable material
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5. Best Elbow Brace for Football for Comfort ~ MoonLove Elbow Brace

[ https://www.amazon.com/Breathable-Compression-Protector-Skateboarding-Basketball/dp/B071JXZPZN/ ]

Analysis

It has “love” in the company name, so how could this product not be comfy? We really like how the MoonLove Elbow Brace feels, with its compression Silicone foam elbow pad and slick sleeve style.

It allows ultimate flexibility, and the gel pads are nicely placed to relieve pressure points. This model is food for use in many sports ~ including skateboarding!

Specifications:

  • Material: Silica gel,cotton, polyester
  • Weight: 8 oz.
  • Style: Sleeve
  • Special Feature(s): Silicon gels and their placement

What We Like

  • Gel pad placements
  • Stretchable fabric allowing ultimate movement

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