Best Shoulder Brace for Football

Shoulder injuries are very common in a sport like football that has players constantly put in high impact contact plays. Whether you are getting tackled or the one making the tackle you are at risk and just one bad fall away from a shoulder injury. Quarterbacks are at a higher risk because of the position they’re body is in (making a throw) when they are often tackled.

Wearing a shoulder brace to protect your shoulder joint and prevent injuries is highly recommended in football players especially those who have suffered an injury in the past. Some of the more common injuries football players get are shoulder dislocations, frozen shoulder and tears to the muscles that make up the rotator cuff.

Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder joint in referred to as a ball and socket joint, this makes it a very mobile joint that can move in any direction. There are three bones that make up the shoulder joint; the humerus which is the upper arm bone, the scapula which is the shoulder blade and the clavicle which is your collarbone. The head of the humerus sits in the glenoid fossa of the scapula.

The joint is surrounded by a connective tissue capsule as well as ligaments and tendons. The rotator cuff is made up of 4 ligaments and helps to move and stabilize the joint. The four muscles that make up the rotator cuff are supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor.

Shoulder Injuries

The benefit of a ball and socket joint is that it allows for movement in any direction. However, it does put this joint at a higher risk for dislocations. There are two types of dislocation; a partial dislocation that is referred to as a subluxation and a full dislocation. A subluxation is when the head of the humerus is only partially out of the socket and a full dislocation is when the head is fully out of the socket. Both are very painful and can be damaging to ligaments, tendons and bones in the area. The shoulder can be dislocated forward, downward or backward. The most common is to dislocate it forward and this happens when the arm is in a throwing position. If a player is experiencing repeated shoulder dislocations then a shoulder brace is recommended.

Frozen shoulder is a condition that is associated with a dull or aching pain and loss of range of motion. The pain is localized on the outer shoulder area and in some cases the upper arm. There are three stages to frozen shoulder, in the first stage which is referred to as freezing, the shoulder capsule begins to thicken and connective tissue becomes stiff. This is what leads to the large decrease in mobility of the shoulder. The next stage is called the frozen stage which has a lot of pain and stiffness. This stage can last 4 to 6 months. The final stage is the thawing stage and this is when the shoulder starts to improve its range of motion.

A rotator cuff injury can be a tear to any of the 4 muscles and their tendons that surround the humerus and keep it secure in the sockets. One or more muscles can be torn; the most common muscle to have a tear is supraspinatus. Often the tendon will begin to fray and then can turn into a complete tear. There are two levels of tears, partial and full-thickness.

There are also two types of causes, acute and degenerative. An acute tear is caused by a single incident like falling on an outstretched arm or lifting a heavy object. A degenerative tear is a slow wearing down of the tendon and an accumulation of micro-tears. Degenerative tears can be caused by repetitive stress, lack of blood supply and bone spurs.

An acromioclavicular separation is not technically a shoulder injury but is often associated with them. Also referred to as an AC separation, it is a tearing of the ligaments on the underside of the clavicle which results in the separation of the clavicle and the boney process of the scapula called the acromion. This injury is often caused by falling directly onto the shoulder and can be very painful.

How Does a Shoulder Brace Help?

If injury has already occurred then a shoulder brace will help support the injury site and speed up the recovery process. This can be done by taking some of the pressure off of the injury site and placing it onto the brace.

Another way a shoulder brace assists is through compression. The compression a brace offers enhances the sensitivity of the receptors located in your skin. Receptors send messages to the nervous system about the position of the shoulder joint, the amount of force your muscles are applying, as wel as the coordination of multiple muscles. The more active these receptors are can aid in keeping the joint out of risky positions for injury. this is referred to proprioception, your body’s awareness of its limbs in space, and many people who suffer from multiple subluxations and dislocations often have decreased proprioception’s.

Shoulder braces add an additional layer of protection for the muscle tendons that are superficial from bumps and knocks during the game. Shoulder braces are also able to protect from subluxations and dislocations by limiting the range of motion of the shoulder joint. By prevent the joint from moving into a high risk position you are decreasing the chance of injury.

Here’s a review for some of the best shoulder braces for football:
EVS Sports SB03 Shoulder Brace

This is a great high quality shoulder brace that is not too expensive. It is made with airmesh material making it very lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. The material also has TPR gripper pull-tabs that will keep the brace secure and in position. This is a great brace for rotator cuff injuries; there are straps around the arm, an X-shaped strap over the injured joint and then wraps around the chest. It is comfortable to wear over or under and shirt and has great traction while playing a high paced intence game of football. You will feel secure and protected on the field when wearing this brace, it is a great support!

DonJoy Sully Shoulder Stabilizer

Donjoy is one of the leading manufacturers of the highest quality support gear. Their Sully shoulder brace is designed to pull the humerus back and restrict external rotation and abduction, basically keeping the shoulder joint in a safe protected range. The controlled assistance this brace provides follows the natural movement of the shoulder joint and won’t interfere with your play. What is great about this brace is that it can be fully integrated into football pads through additional straps that hook into any football pads. This means your pads and brace will not be migrating leaving you to focus solely on the game.

McDavid Light Shoulder Support

This is a neoprene shoulder support that can help relieve the pain associated with shoulder strains and injuries. It is designed to fit either shoulder and has a sizing chart to determine the correct size for any player. McDavid materials contain their patented HexPad Technology that provides durable, lightweight, and breathable padding system to protect and compress the shoulder joint. The Hexpad Technology is a common choice for football players. Unlike the EVS and DonJoy shoulder braces this brace does not have a covering or strap that fully goes around the chest making it easier to move your truck. This brace is easily adjusted and a great value for the cost.

Shock Doctor Shoulder Support

This shoulder support has great stability and control over the shoulder joint, and offers a comfortable fit to a wide range of chest sizes. The braces are designed with Shock Doctors X-Fit strap system that allows you to correctly align your shoulder into the position you want. The N-TEX air flow neoprene has moisture wicking properties that will keep you cool and dry during the game as well as provide compression and thermal support. Thermal support leads to more blood flow in the joint and leads to quicker healing between games.

NMT Shoulder Brace

This brace is designed slightly different then the above braces. It has a strap that goes under the arm of the injured shoulder and then has a larger strap that goes under the non-injured arms. It is designed like this to help improve movement in the shoulder and is great for players who need to move a lot. The straps are easy to adjust and easy to put on plus fit nicely on the chest for any female football players. MNT stands for Magnetic Natural Therapy and is there to boost your metabolism and immune system, the magnetic effect creates a natural way of healing your body.

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