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Are you an active person? Do you engage in any form of physical exercise professionally or as a hobby to keep fit?
If your answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then you are probably aware of shoulder injuries and dislocations. These conditions can be painful and make it difficult for you to work out properly.
If you happen to injure your shoulder, you need the best shoulder brace to help you recuperate.
People involved in heavy lifting activities and high-intensity workouts are prone to suffering rotator cuff injuries, sore muscles, painful joints, and even dislocated shoulders. A good shoulder brace will help to protect your rotator cuffs by limiting movements. The braces also come in handy when you are nursing a shoulder injury.
Best Shoulder Brace
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll present the best shoulder braces we’ve found that are highly rated by buyers. Some of the recommendations are also based on personal experiences, while others are drawn from dozens of third-party experiences sourced from a variety of sources.
So, what is the best shoulder brace on the market?
1. Ueasy Breathable Absorbent Adjustable Gym Sports Single Shoulder Brace Support
First on our list is this shoulder support brace from Ueasy. We like simple but functional products, and this one ticks those boxes, and offers a lot more. The brace is made from elastic Lyrca fiber and has sufficient adjustment levels for the chest and arm.
This is a single shoulder brace designed for protecting an injured shoulder. The Velcro straps that wrap around the arm and chest hold firmly. You won’t struggle to strap the brace on with a single arm, if you don’t have someone to help you.
What We Like
- This is a lightweight but tough shoulder brace
- Simple but functional, with tough elastic fiber that holds up well.
- Can be strapped on with a single arm
- This is a unisex shoulder brace. It can be used by both men and women athletes
- It is not bulky and, therefore, can be worn under normal clothing/garments
- Has sufficient padding for comfort. You won’t feel uncomfortable wearing it for a long time
- Does the job well. The brace protects the rotator cuffs so that they don’t move too much to quicken the healing process after injuries. You can also wear it to protect your shoulders when you are engaging in intensive exercise.
What We Don’t Like
- The design is a bit boring. If you are looking for a bit of style, you may want to check a different shoulder brace
- Can accumulate odors if worn for an extended period (You can avoid this by keeping it clean of course 😊)
The Ueasy Breathable Absorbent Adjustable Gym Sports Single Shoulder Brace Support is one of the best shoulder braces on the market. It’s simple yet functional, and does the job it’s made for quite well.
The shoulder brace comes in different sizes to fit all body sizes and shapes.
NOTE: Make sure you choose the correct version depending on the shoulder you want to protect. There is one for the left and one for the right shoulder.
2. Zenkeyz Shoulder Brace for Men and Women
Next is the stylish Zenkeyz Shoulder Brace for Men and Women. This brace has everything needed to protect the shoulder, and features a nice design. The folks at Zenkeyz are pretty famous for their range of health and fitness products. Therefore, we know we are in good hands.
The Zenkeys shoulder brace has various features, including a neoprene shoulder compression sleeve. The brace helps to keep the shoulder stable after injuries to reduce the pain and possibility of getting injured again. You can also wear this brace in your usual workouts to limit movement of the rotator cuff.
What We Like
- This brace is stylish and functional. The materials and overall design look classy.
- It has additional protective features such as a pressure pad.
- Has an ice/hot shoulder sleeve
- Sold together with a free e-book with detailed usage instructions and tips for injury rehabilitation
- Protects injured shoulder and relieves pain from tendinitis, soreness, shoulder pain, labrum tear, bursitis, AC joint injuries, dislocated shoulder, rotator cuff injuries,
- Provides optimal compression to protect the rotator cuff and/or painful shoulder from further injuries.
- Has three perforated layers for enhanced comfort
- Unisex design
- Easy to wear and adjust as your healing progresses and when exercising
- This is a premium product without the premium tag.
What We Don’t Like
The shoulder brace has to be frequently cleaned to stay fresh. fresh- Zenkeyz recommends handwashing since washing machines can mess up the neoprene material used. Use a super slow spin cycle if you must use a machine to clean it.
This premium shoulder brace from Zenkeyz provides great value for the money. Besides the functionality, we love the style and materials used to make the brace. It’s also great for proprioception, when you want to feel your body posture and positioning after a long shoulder injury.
The Zenkeyz Shoulder Brace is also easy to wear. Its buckles are easy to fix and sleeves fully adjustable. We also love that the brace is made by a reputable manufacturer.
3. NatraCure Hot/Cold & Compression Shoulder Support 6032
The NatraCure shoulder brace stands out for its long list of features. The brace has a detachable air pump that you can use for compression therapy and is designed for personal therapy. Therefore, you don’t need a prescription to use it.
This is one of the best shoulder braces for broad shoulders. Its broad chunky straps look masculine and are easy to put on. NatraCure is also one of the reputable manufactures of shoulder braces.
What We Like
- Has various important features, including a detachable air pump
- It is big and chunky with sufficient padding
- Really comfortable to wear for long periods and during workouts
- Easy to use. You can put in a refrigerator to prepare it for cold therapy or in a microwave for hot therapy.
- Made with premium robust and soft-touch materials for comfort
- It has a soft positioning strap that can be adjusted to fit any hand sizes, including S and XXL
- Reversible fit. You can use the same shoulder brace on either arm.
- It also comes with a removable cold gel pack- (don’t apply the cold gel directly on the skin). The cold gel helps to alleviate pain and soreness.
What We Don’t Like
- Can be a bit bulgy if worn under the clothes.
- Fits best on the right arm due to the strap design. A bit more work is involved to fasten it on the left arm
If you are looking for a fully-featured shoulder brace, get the NatraCure shoulder brace. The brace is moderately priced for the features it has.
The NatraCure Hot/Cold & Compression Shoulder Support 6032 can fit most body sizes, including big-bodied individuals. Aesthetics aside, the shoulder brace does a great job of protecting injured shoulders, facilitating self-therapy and helping you maintain a good posture.
4. Übertherm Shoulder Pain Relief Cold Wrap
The übertherm Shoulder Pain Relief Cold Wrap is a great accessory for injury recovery and overall protection. Whether you are looking for a comfortable brace that you can use after exercise or a medical device to relieve orthopedic pain, this brace will be fitting.
The übertherm Shoulder Pain Relief Cold Wrap is a comfortable brace that does not require a prescription. This is an everyday accessory that active people and athletes can wear after exercise.
You can wear the shoulder brace once or twice a day to relieve shoulder pain, especially if you are involved in contact sports or weightlifting.
What We Like
- Has a unique design with comfortable chest straps that provide a secure fit. The chest strap is surprisingly comfortable compared to the under-arm straps we are used to.
- Can be worn as an accessory; doesn’t look like a typical medical accessory
- Soft padding all round for extra comfort
- Has a multiple-chambered gel pack, which holds performance gel and retains its temperatures for a long period. Therefore, you can cool the brace and take it with you wherever you go.
- It provides gradual, sting-free cooling that soothes shoulder pain.
- Great for pro athletes and casual users
- Uses high-grade Velcro that ensures a tight grip
- Made from premium, long-lasting neoprene and wool inserts
- Premium, authentic branding
- Fairly priced
- Comes with an extra lengthening strap. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about it fitting correctly even if you are plus size.
What We Don’t Like
The shoulder brace is not reversible. Therefore, make sure you select either the left- or right-hand one, depending on your needs. If you are an active athlete looking for a long-term solution to shoulder pain, you can buy a pair of braces, each for both arms.
The übertherm Shoulder Pain Relief Cold Wrap makes it on our list of the best shoulder braces. The brace covers all the critical parts of the shoulder and chest including the upper humerus, half of the Deltoid tuberosity, attachment to the scapula, and the shoulder joint.
The brace’s chest wraparound design is unique but does not compromise on comfort. You can wear the brace over clothing or under light garments, and it won’t bulge a lot.
5. DonJoy Shoulder Stabilizer
The DonJoy shoulder stabilizer is the best shoulder brace and stabilizer for those dealing with significant injuries such as glenohumeral dislocations/subluxations, rotator cuff tears, and other severe conditions.
This shoulder stabilizer has an intricate strap-on system that covers the entire upper body and thorax. The design might look a bit overkill, but it makes the DonJoy the most secure shoulder brace on the market.
What We Like
- Has multiple secure straps that cover the upper limbs and thorax
- Can be worn as a vest
- Great for severe shoulder injuries and long-term conditions like arthritis
- Supports acromioclavicular separations and rotational control to prevent further injuries
- Can be used to alleviate pain if cooled and fitted properly
- Made from premium latex-free elastic lycra material
- Its comprehensive strap design allows for customizations according to your needs
What We Don’t Like
- Can be a bit bulky to wear for an extended period or during intensive workouts
- May be a bit overkill for minor shoulder conditions
The DonJoy shoulder stabilizer is great for those looking for an all-in-one solution for upper body stabilization. The brace can be worn post-surgery to stabilize the repaired tissue and muscles during the healing process.
Make sure to select the right size, depending on your body size.
How to Choose the Best Shoulder Brace
Dealing with a dislocated shoulder or rotator cuff tears is not easy. A good shoulder brace will go a long way in helping you recover and deal with the pain. Some athletes and hardcore fitness enthusiasts use braces them to prevent shoulder injuries.
Here are some of the things you need to look out for when selecting a shoulder brace:
i) Think About the Amount of Support You Require
Are you dealing with a major shoulder issue like a dislocation or just a minor issue like an impingement? Different shoulder braces offer different levels of support, depending on the condition of the injury.
Some braces are lightweight and have minimal strapping while have others have extra support and intricate strapping to secure the entire upper arm and shoulder.
- Choose a lightweight shoulder brace with minimal strapping if you are dealing with a minor injury or want to use it as a physio accessory while sleeping or to exercise.
- For prolonged use or to handle serious injuries, go for the more advanced shoulder braces with extra padding, and additional strap mechanism.
ii) Check the Features
Do you need to use a cooling pad or air pump? These additional features may be necessary for certain conditions.
If you need to reduce pain and soreness by cooling, choose a brace with a cooling pad and gel. That said, most shoulder braces including the ones recommended on this guide, come standard with cooling pads.
The more the features, the more effective the shoulder brace will be. Therefore, spending a bit more money to get a fully-featured shoulder brace will pay off.
Most shoulder straps come with adjustable straps or extenders. However, you should choose a strap that fits well. This is especially important if you are going for one that covers the thorax.
Some manufacturers offer specific measurements (in inches) while others size their braces based on common sizes e.g., S, XL, XXL, etc. It’s also important to buy from a reputable seller so you can return it in case it if it’s not the right fit.
Some shoulder slings are made of heat-retaining neoprene material while others are made from elastic rubber or lycra. Both materials are good, depending on the amount of support you need and the nature of the injury. Other braces are made from a combination of both neoprene and lycra or elastic rubber, and have additional padding for added comfort.
Choose a shoulder brace that is made from any of these materials, and has sufficient padding. Neoprene shoulder braces are especially good if you plan to wear them as an accessory during workouts.
Here are the common materials used in shoulder braces and what you should know about them:
- This is the most common material used to make shoulder braces. The material is lightweight, strong, durable, and moisture resistant. It has tiny pores that can allow air to flow to the injured shoulder for faster healing.
- Nylon. Nylon is usually combined with other materials such as spandex. It’s also lightweight and clings to the body, providing a tight fit. Nylon also retains temperature well since it is not perforated.
- Polyester. The cold pack or compression pack on your shoulder brace is most likely made of polyester material. Polyester is tough, repels sweat, and withstands dampness.
Don’t worry about getting it wrong when it comes to materials, though. Most of the shoulder braces on our list contain two or more materials, each serving a specific purpose.
A shoulder brace can either be an immobilizer or stabilizer. For instance, the Zenkeyz Shoulder Brace can be used either as an immobilizer or stabilizer.
- Immobilizers are used for major conditions such as dislocations and severe rotator cuff tears. These braces hold your shoulder and arm tightly in place to prevent further injuries from stress and friction.
- Stabilizers can be used for minor conditions to limit movements and reduce pain. They do this by limiting the range of motion of your shoulder muscles and tendons.
Some shoulder braces can be used as immobilizers or stabilizers, depending on how you adjust the straps. A good example is the DonJoy Shoulder Stabilizer.
Types of Shoulder Braces
There are two main types of shoulder braces you can choose from; shoulder slings and shoulder wraps.
Shoulder slings are used to support the entire arm and shoulder while shoulder wraps wrap around your shoulder. Slings are useful for dislocations while shoulder wraps are suitable for shoulder specific conditions only.
Get the Most Out of Your Shoulder Brace
A shoulder brace can only be useful if you can use them as they are supposed to be used. Here are some tips to get the best results when using a shoulder brace.
i) Prepare It for Use
Cool the cooling pad for at least 20 minutes before you wear it. Cooling the gel pad helps to alleviate pain and soreness.
Also wash the shoulder brace frequently to get rid of sweat, odors, and bacteria.
ii) Wear It Properly
Follow the correct procedure when putting on a shoulder brace. Follow the instructions that come bundled with the brace. Fasten or loosen the adjustable straps to your comfort. The wraparound strap should be adjusted accordingly to immobilize or stabilize the affected shoulder.
Here is a video showing how to wear a shoulder brace properly:
iii) Wear the Brace at The Right Time
If you have a serious condition, wear the shoulder brace throughout the entire healing period.
Having trouble sleeping due to a shoulder injury? Wear the shoulder brace for at least 25 to 30 minutes, 3 times during the day. Also, consider sleeping with it throughout the night. Avoid using your affected arm for heavy tasks when the shoulder brace is off.
iv) Pair It with Physical Therapy
A brace won’t make all your shoulder conditions magically disappear. You must pair it with proper physical therapy, administered by a professional or by yourself. Yoga and other light physical exercises help to accelerate healing and prevent other shoulder injuries.
v) Use It to Ward Off Injuries
Most athletes and weightlifters wear shoulder braces, even when they have no injuries.
You can wear a shoulder brace to prevent injuries from worsening when doing intensive workouts. A shoulder brace controls the movement of your rotator cuffs and tendons to prevent excess strain and friction that lead to injuries or soreness.
How Do Shoulder Braces Work?
Shoulder injuries are the most common injuries among athletes and active individuals. This is according to a peer-reviewed study published by the Department of Orthopedic Surgery in the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 2016.
The same study also made some findings on the effectiveness of shoulder braces for both injury prevention and healing processes. In the findings, researchers noted that wearing shoulder braces protected offensive players from shoulder injuries. They also concluded that athletes who wore shoulder braces after injuries took less time to heal, therefore, had more on-field time than those who didn’t use them.
Another study was conducted by the Athletic Medicine Division of Duke University, and published in various journals such as the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI). In their evaluations, the experts made a critical observation regarding posture correction among injured athletes with the help of upper body braces. Researchers were able to prove through practical trials that shoulder braces helped the athletes gain good shoulder posture and improved scapular muscle activity.
Dozens of scientific reports support the use of shoulder braces for musculoskeletal injuries, tendon and ligament damages, partial rotator cuff tears, and other physiological conditions associated with the shoulder area. Over 98% of athletes using their upper limbs experience some shoulder injuries in their careers. Most of them use shoulder braces to hasten healing and as an everyday accessory to alleviate post-contact practice pains and sores.
Common Shoulder Conditions Where Shoulder Braces are Needed
Braces can come in handy (no pun intended) for any shoulder injury.
Have a sore shoulder? Bad posture? Pain caused by RSI? Even these minor problems can be solved with a good shoulder brace.
Here are the most common conditions where shoulder braces should be used:
A shoulder dislocation is a major upper limb injury that is most common with athletes in contact sports such as rugby, ice hockey, wrestling, boxing, and even tennis. You can also get a shoulder dislocation through a car accident.
A shoulder brace helps to immobilize your shoulder muscles to prevent further injuries. It also helps in managing pain, since most come with ice packs and soft padding.
Keeping your dislocated shoulder intact even before seeing a doctor will help alleviate the pain and keep you in good shape.
Rotator Cuff Injuries (Tendinitis)
This is perhaps the most common shoulder injury where shoulder braces are used.
What is a rotator cuff anyway? A rotator cuff consists of a cluster of muscles and tendons, that play a crucial role in stabilizing your shoulder. Injuries to the rotator cuff are quite common. You can injure or tear your rotator cuff through routine exercise, doing repetitive manual labor, or in an accident.
Other Causes of Tendinitis
- Keeping your shoulder in one position for extended periods, for example, while on a long-haul flight or train ride, sleeping, long-distance driving, etc.
- When you sleep on one side of your shoulder every day
- While swimming, playing ball games, weight lifting, or any other exercise that may require you to keep your arms above your head for a long period.
Tendinitis is so common among some athletes, such that it has been christened “swimmer’s shoulder” or “tennis shoulder”.
Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Injuries
- Numb and weakened arms and tired shoulders. You feel a lot of discomfort/numbness when using an arm for extended periods
- Severe pain and swelling on the shoulder and the affected limb.
- Your joints click when you move, stretch, or raise your arm
- You have a stiff arm, which makes you lose control of your entire arm
- General loss of strength – you can’t lift weights you were previously able to lift
- You feel a numbing pain when you try to reach your back
- A painful shoulder that keeps you awake
- Inability to type for an extended period
How Shoulder Braces Help Alleviate Rotator Cuff Injuries
A shoulder brace is a standard medical solution for tendinitis. You can use it to alleviate pain therapeutically so you can continue with your normal activities.
A shoulder brace can also be used for external rotation control to prevent further injuries. A doctor might prescribe a shoulder brace to protect the tendons after a surgery.
Finally, shoulder braces also help those who want to apply cold packs to alleviate the pain caused by tendonitis. The best shoulder support braces have a long-lasting gel or cold pack for this very purpose. You can use cold packs two to three times a day to treat mild tendinitis.
AC Joints Injury
This is a severe condition/ injury that can be caused by a major accident. The condition results in the tearing or disjointing of the ligaments that link your shoulder to the collarbone. Your shoulder will become weak, swollen, and stiff as a result of this.
Shoulder braces are used for AC joint injuries to alleviate pain, immobilize the limbs and other vital organs, and hasten the healing process.
When there is an irritation to the bursae, you will experience involuntary immobilization of the shoulder. These essential fluid sacs control friction between the main shoulder bones and other organs such as the tendons and muscles.
People suffering from bursitis are often advised to use a shoulder brace as part of their physiotherapy and for comfort while working.
The Best Shoulder Brace Brands We Recommend
The brands we included in our recommendations are the best shoulder braces and shoulder slings in the market. Here is what you need to know about each of them.
Ueasy is a global brand that manufactures all kinds of medical and safety products including;, bike helmets, shoulder braces and slings, jumping trainer bands, knee pads, etc.
The company targets athletes and people with an active lifestyle. Their products fall between the budget to the mid-range category but are of good quality.
DJO, which supplies one of our favorite shoulder braces. DonJoy is one of the brands under the umbrella of DJO Global LLC.
The company doesn’t just make medical fitness and extreme sports equipment but is involved with research. This Texas-based company also makes ankle braces, knee braces and pads, foot braces, and ice therapy equipment.
This Maryland based company describes itself as a cold compression therapy company. The company manufactures some of the best cold compression products to alleviate pain and help injured individuals to heal faster. Other products by the company include knee wraps, elbow wraps, and ankle wraps.
NatraCure is an everyday wellness company responsible for one of the recommended shoulder braces on our list. The company is committed to creating natural therapies for all people. NatraCure has a wide array of wellness products including, wrist wraps, cold packs, foot compression sleeves, and even skincare products.
Zenkeyz Active Living
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must KEEP MOVING.” (Albert Einstein).
This company uses this quote on their page to describe their mantra and need to get rid of shoulder injuries. Zenkeyz is one of our favorite brands in the health and fitness niche. As you can tell from their tagline, the company makes products for people with an active lifestyle.
Zenkeyz has specialized in making one product- shoulder braces.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Shoulder Braces Help?
There is sufficient proof that the best shoulder braces help those with shoulder injuries and other related conditions. Physiotherapists treating patients with these conditions even prescribe them. A lot of research has gone into the design of shoulder braces and there is a market for them.
You will often see professional athletes, such as tennis players, wrestlers, swimmers, football players and many others wearing the shoulder braces even when they are not injured.
Can I Wear A Shoulder Brace During A Workout?
Yes. However, it depends on the type of shoulder brace you buy. Some braces are not meant to be worn during a workout due to the nature of their design and intended use. On the other hand, others are made to be worn in a workout.
What is the Best Shoulder Dislocation Brace?
Some shoulder braces are better suited for dislocations, while others are good for minor conditions. Go for a shoulder brace that has sufficient padding and rigid design for a dislocation. The DonJoy Shoulder Stabilizer is recommended for a dislocation.
Do Shoulder Braces Help Rotator Cuff?
It is important to wear a shoulder brace when you have an injured rotator cuff. The brace helps to alleviate pain, immobilizes the shoulder to prevent further damage, and can also hasten the healing process after an injury.
If you have minor rotator cuff problems, e.g., problems with your rotator cuff after a long flight, you can use shoulder braces for self-therapy. The brace will help to treat and manage the annoying numbness and pain.
Can You Sleep with a Shoulder Brace?
Yes, you can.
Some injuries may require one to sleep with a shoulder brace until they are completely healed. A shoulder brace can help to correct your posture if you wear it at all times.
However, you don’t need to sleep with a shoulder brace if you are using it to alleviate minor problems. Just wear it two to three times a day and take it off when you go to sleep.
Do Shoulder Braces Help Shoulder Impingement?
You can use a shoulder brace to support your shoulder blade and help heal a shoulder impingement after diagnosis. Shoulder impingement, or “swimmers’ shoulder”, is a common condition characterized by shoulder pain at the back of the shoulder. The condition is caused by repetitive use of the tendons and tissues connecting to the shoulder blade.
Do I Need Surgery for Shoulder Impingement?
Not all shoulder impingement cases require surgery to heal. You can use the ice or cold packs available on a good shoulder brace to treat most common shoulder pains. Only serious impingements resulting from accidents need to be scanned and operated on by a professional.
What is the Best Shoulder Brace on the Market?
While it can be tough to choose the best shoulder brace in the market, we’ve done our homework and used our expertise to recommend some of the best ones out there. The five shoulder braces in this guide are some of the best we found that do the job they are made to do well.
To wrap up, let’s recap the things we have covered on this guide.
First, you need to understand the importance of using a shoulder wrap to protect yourself when injured. Shoulder wraps come in different shapes, materials, and sizes. However, not all of them are of the same quality.
So much R&D has gone into developing shoulder braces. Reputable brands like NatraCure and DJO have put their resources into developing these pain-relieving braces.
As usual, we need to pick a winner in this list, and the Zenkeyz Shoulder Brace for Men and Women deserves the top spot.
This is why we think the Zenkeyz Shoulder Brace for Men and Women is the Best Overall
- It is a fully-featured brace with all the bells and whistles needed for proper shoulder care
- It is made by a reputable manufacturer
- It is made from premium materials
- It is stylish
- It is fairly priced
We’ve explored some of the best shoulder braces that you can buy if you are dealing with shoulder pains or injuries. Choosing the best shoulder brace shouldn’t be that hard when you follow the tips in this guide.