The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body, but it’s also the joint that’s most prone to injury.
While rest and ice can help reduce inflammation and keep your injury from getting worse, a good quality shoulder brace or support can help you get back to your normal routine.
If you’re looking for the top shoulder braces on the market, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve rounded up the top 9 best shoulder supports right now.
Top 9 Shoulder Braces for 2018
- 1. McDavid Light Shoulder Support
- 2. EVS Sports SB03 Shoulder Brace
- 3. Neo G Medical Grade VCS Shoulder Support
- 4. EVS Sports SB04 Shoulder Brace
- 5. NatraCure Hot/Cold & Compression Shoulder Support
- 6. Health-Grade Deluxe Shoulder Immobilizer
- 7. Magnetic Therapeutic FAR-INFRARED Shoulder Support
- 8. Meditex Arm Shoulder Support Brace
- 9. Corflex Cryo Pneumatic Shoulder Compression Ice Wrap
Because the support isn’t bulky or heavy, it helps reduce pain caused by strains or muscle pulls. Ideal for athletes, this is a brace that offers great support and hides well under clothing.
McDavid includes a size chart, too, so you can choose the right brace for you. Sizes are based on chest size and range from:
- S: 30-36”
- M: 36-42”
- L: 42-50”
Like its name suggests, this product offers shoulder support. Because this is not an immobilizing brace, you’re free to move your arms as usual.
The comfort, level of support and build quality of this product are what make it such a popular choice among athletes and fitness fanatics.
Designed to offer increased support and compression, this is a brace that’s ideal for more painful injuries and strains.
The arm closure on this brace is adjustable to reduce or eliminate underarm chaffing. The no-snag design won’t get caught on your clothing, and allows the brace to fit on either arm. With an easy on/off design, this brace is so easy to wear.
The SB03 features a breathable design to reduce sweating, and TPR gripper pull-tabs for easy adjustments.
Like the McDavid support, the SB03 allows for full range of motion. The compression and added chest support applies pressure to the shoulder to help it feel more balanced.
The SB03 is available in sizes: small, medium, large, extra-large, XX-large and adult large.
Whether you have weak, arthritic or injured shoulders, this brace can help provide optimal support during sporting or occupational activities.
With an adjustable strap and comfort pad, this support is constructed with heat therapeutic neoprene.
The Neo G is one-size-fits-most and is also compatible with hot and cold therapy discs. Unlike other braces on this list, this support is only designed for use on the right or left shoulder.
The Neo G support is a Class 1 Medical Device and is registered with the Medicines and Healthcare products regulatory agency in the UK.
The support is suitable for chronic and acute shoulder injuries, and can also be used as part of the post-surgery recovery process.
Like the other EVS brace, the SB04 features an adjustable arm closer to eliminate underarm chaffing. The no-snag, universal design allows this brace to be used on either arm. The easy on/off design makes it easy to wear this brace.
The SB04 will provide you with maximum support and protection from impact, but it won’t limit your movement. You’ll still be free to play sports, or carry on with your regular routine while your injury heals.
The EVS SB04 brace comes in multiple sizes, including: small, medium, large, extra-large, and XX-large.
The NatraCure brace includes a removable hot/cold gel pack that can either be placed in the freezer or heated in the microwave to provide cold or hot therapy.
Cold therapy can be beneficial during the early stages of recovery to reduce swelling and inflammation. As your recovery progresses, the hot therapy can facilitate and aid in the healing process.
No matter what stage you’re in, this brace will support your needs.
The great thing about this brace is that it doesn’t require a prescription. This brace can fit up to 50”, and is available for either the left or right shoulder. Each support comes with a hot/cold pack, compression air pump and a pair of extender straps.
Unlike other products on this list, this brace limits your movement to help speed up the recovery process and prevent further injury.
The brace features comfortable shoulder and waist straps that are padded with 2” foam. Velcro straps make it easy to attach the brace, and the sling itself is made from a soft poly/cotton blend.
What this brace does is immobilize the elbow and shoulder joints to restrict movement. The design of this sling reduces pressure on the neck and offers full arm support to keep the shoulder still during recovery.
Magnets are stitched inside the back of the brace, which stretches across the shoulders, upper arms and back.
Made from neoprene, this brace features a heat chip that’s bio-composite and made of tourmaline, ceramic powder (nano-functional), and a heat sensitive material.
Easy to wear, discreet and easily hidden under clothing, this brace offers both heated relief and compression.
Designed to reduce shoulder pain, this brace can also improve blood circulation to speed up the recovery process.
Not only can this support reduce pain, but it can also help improve joint function as well.
The Meditex brace was anatomically designed and built with medical-grade materials to offer superior comfort and support.
The inside of the brace is made of 100% cotton for maximum breathability while the outside is made from a blend of 35% elastane and 65% polyamide.
The support can fit either the left or right shoulder, and is available in sizes medium, large and extra-large.
The Corflex Cryo is an anatomical shoulder wrap that offers both cold therapy and compression for pain relief. Designed for post-op applications, this wrap can be used as part of an athletic training or post-op program. The Corflex Cryo can help reduce muscle spasms, minimize pain and reduce swelling.
Made from plush laminate, this wrap comes with a removable gel pack for cold therapy uses, and a pump bulb for compression. The pump bulb can be removed once you’ve reached the desired compression.
Available in a universal size, this wrap will fit up to a 48” chest circumference.
Video – Shoulder Pain Treatment & Prevention
The Ultimate Buyers Guide to Shoulder Braces
A shoulder brace is a sling-like device designed to support and strengthen your shoulder. Shoulder braces are not for day-to-day use, but rather for individuals who have experienced a shoulder injury.
As useful and flexible as the shoulder is, it is also one of the most vulnerable joints in the body. Shoulder injuries are extremely common, and if not treated properly, can lead to a permanent, debilitating damage.
A shoulder brace can be used to heal your shoulder quickly and avoid such damage. Unlike a basic sling, shoulder braces provide stronger, more reliable support.
They can be used for longer periods of time and are generally much more comfortable. Rather than simply help your shoulder heal, shoulder braces are designed to get your shoulder back to its optimal functionality.
What Makes a Good Shoulder Brace?
The most important factor to consider when choosing a shoulder brace is supportability. For a shoulder brace to work properly, it needs to provide good support in the right places. That means well placed straps and a snug fit.
The less your shoulder joint sags, the better. High quality materials are also a good indication of a well designed shoulder brace. Strong straps and sturdy slings will make a comfortable and durable shoulder brace.
Comfortability is another huge factor in a good quality shoulder brace. If your injury requires minimal mobility, you want a well-padded shoulder brace that won’t cause chaffing under the arm. If your injury allows for a little more movement, then you want a shoulder brace that will offer a perfect balance between support and mobility.
Braces of any sort can be visually intrusive, and a shoulder brace sits in a particularly visible area. For this reason, a bonus feature of a good shoulder brace is its ability to fit nicely under clothing.
This can depend on your shoulder’s needs and how many features you want out of your shoulder brace. However, if you require a basic shoulder brace that offers mobility, they are often available in more discrete designs.
What to Stay Away From
There are many shoulder braces on the market that simply don’t deliver. Once you have determined the needs of your shoulder injury, you can more easily find the shoulder brace that best suits you. It is always best to avoid unnecessarily bulky shoulder braces, or products that cause chaffing in any area.
It is also vital that the shoulder brace you chose is suitable for your injury. It is best to avoid high-mobility shoulder braces if your injury requires that your shoulder moves as little as possible.
Alternatively, if your injury is less serious and allows for some movement, chose a shoulder brace that will provide a bit more freedom.
How Does a Shoulder Brace Work?
The concept of a shoulder brace is quite simple. They are designed to stabilize your shoulder so that it will heal properly. Without a shoulder brace, a shoulder injury can either take a long time to heal, or heal in the wrong position, causing potentially permanent damage. In this way, a shoulder brace is similar to a cast.
A cast helps keep broken bones in place so that you can go about daily life without worrying that your bone will start to heal in the wrong position. Similarly, a shoulder brace limits shoulder mobility and keeps the shoulder elevated.
Not only does this improve the blood flow required for quick and steady healing, it also ensure that your healed shoulder will show no signs of a previous injury.
Some shoulder braces even come with features that allow you to adjust the temperature of your shoulder brace. This is an extremely useful way to manage pain during the healing process. Cold can reduce swelling that interferes with the healing process, while heat can promote blood flow.
Both temperature settings have the added benefit of easing pain associated with the shoulder injury.
Benefits of a Shoulder Brace
Once you understand how a shoulder brace works, the benefits of using one are quite clear. If you suffer from a mild to severe shoulder injury, a shoulder brace is necessary for ensuring a complete, proper healing process.
Neglecting to use a shoulder brace can have devastating effects. For one thing, you will be much more vulnerable to pain. If your shoulder has unrestricted freedom of movement during the healing process, it will inevitably swell in response to overuse and poor positioning.
When the shoulder is swollen or unsecured, muscle and bone tissues can heal improperly. This can mean a number of things. One is that your shoulder will be permanently healed in an awkward position, which can further limit movement even after healing is complete.
Another is that your shoulder can be significantly weakened, and even more prone to future injury. A shoulder brace is an easy, affordable way to avoid these downfalls.
FAQ 1: Do I Need a Prescription for a Shoulder Brace?
No, you do not need a prescription to obtain a shoulder brace. It is advisable to seek the advice of a healthcare professional for any injury, so they can help you determine which shoulder brace is right for you. However, once you have determined this, no prescription is necessary.
FAQ 2: Can a Shoulder Brace Heal All Shoulder Injuries?
This depends largely on your injury. A shoulder brace is designed to help the healing process, and in some cases, drive it entirely. However, some shoulder injuries might require surgery or more advanced intervention.
In those cases, a shoulder brace will be a major part of the healing process, but can’t do everything on it’s own. That is why it is always important to see a healthcare professional when you have a shoulder injury.
FAQ 3: What Shoulder Brace Should I Use?
Choosing the right shoulder brace is vital for the healing process. For more serious injuries, opt for a shoulder brace that reduces movement to a minimum. For mild injuries, a more flexible shoulder brace can be the most comfortable option.
Again, trained healthcare professionals can offer the best advice on which shoulder brace to use based on your injury.
FAQ 4: Can I Use Shoulder Brace for Non-Shoulder Related Injuries?
Yes. A shoulder brace can be used to stabilize the whole arm for an arm injury. In these cases, a sling-like shoulder brace is usually the best option, as it is not as important for the shoulder itself to remain immobile.