Fall risk due to lack of coordination, dizzy spells, epilepsy, and weak muscles and joints requires multiple changes to the home environment in order to reduce the risk of injury. These changes include non-slip floor coverings, furniture corner covers, support bars and canes. However, we can also protect potential grazes, bruises, skin tears and fractures through the use of padded protectors for various parts of the body.
Elbow joints are complex hinged joints that allow us to extend the forearm and rotate the forearm and wrist. Because of their regular use, elbows are often affected by systemic disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, causing painful swelling. An inflamed elbow knocked against a table can be an agonising experience. Although elbow fractures are rare when compared to hip and wrist fractures, they are the common results of falls from bicycles.
Elbow protectors are not meant to stabilise a joint but to add a protective layer of padding to reduce risk of injury in the event of knocks and falls. Anyone with osteoarthritis and a medium to high fall risk should consider using protective pads when out and about. Surprisingly, some of our elbow protector clients are younger individuals looking for protection when taking part in activities such as skateboarding. These clients usually prefer full sleeve versions with padding directly above the elbow joint that do not reduce the full range of movement of the joint.
For the elderly, the fragile, thin layer of the skin of the elbow can easily scrape and cause open wounds. To protect skin integrity rather than the joint itself, we have skin-protection options in sleeve or elbow tube form that are available in various diameters. These are so soft and comfortable, they can be worn day or night. The fabric breathes and the tubing, when purchased in the correct size, is non-constricting. For a higher level of skin protection that can also protect the elbow against knocks, gel-core tube elbow protectors can be used.
For already injured elbows or elbow joints that require low grades of support but excellent protection, elbow straps that slightly compress but still allow a full range of movement without bunching or slipping may be the answer. While the elbow joint remains covered, the inner elbow is left open, with attachment belts just above and just below the joint.