The shoulder is a complex joint which involves bone and muscles working together to provide mobility and rotation. Which is why it’s not uncommon to have issues with the shoulder joint such as bursitis; inflamed fluid-filled sacs around the shoulder joint which are very painful and limit movement.
Is your routine being affected by shoulder pain?
Usually seen in older people but could be anyone following trauma, infection and result of repetitive motions, bursitis is often made more manageable through compression using straps, tape or braces.
This article looks for the best shoulder brace in terms of pain relief, ease of movement and comfort.
We’ve outlined ten options varying in design, material and function available on amazon.com. Each brace also has its own list of pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision of which product best suits you and your needs.
Several approaches have been looked at in order to make bursitis more manageable for the average American.
Some of the braces are more lightweight whereas others focus on pain management, with the use of a cold or hot compress.
We have options for supportive, lightweight, compression braces which can be worn daily or even slept in.
We’ve also explored slightly bulkier options for recovery to wear when using heat or ice therapy to treat the pain of bursitis.
- 1 Sizing
- 2 Hot/Cold Pack
- 3 Both Shoulders
- 4 Buyer’s Guide
As we all know, body sizes and shapes vary so it would seem natural to have lots of size options for shoulder braces for maximum comfort, right? Wrong!
It turns out that shoulder braces with more than one size are hard to come across which is why we’ve got a selection of braces for you to look through.
The shoulder braces in this first section offer several sizing options, as well as their own unique features and compression levels.
We’re starting off with the Sparthos shoulder brace which has a very lightweight design focusing on compression and support.
Made from neoprene, it offers excellent support while remaining comfortable enough to sleep in. This means that it’s ideal for anybody that needs constant support from their shoulder brace.
Available in two sizes (universal and 2XL), there’s an option to fit everyone. It’s also backed by a 100% money back guarantee so, in the unlikely event of something going wrong, you’ll be covered.
- Focused compression is ideal for shoulder pain, but will likely need to purchase strap extension in order to fit
- Lightweight support makes movement easier
- Fits left and right shoulders
- Not ideal for women’s chest measurements
- Sizing issues need some work- its either too big or too small, there seems to be nothing in the middle
- Not machine washable
- “currently unavailable”- not available on amazon at the moment but other options are below
Next, we have the EVS Sports Shoulder Brace with 363 ratings. This brace has a slightly different design which seems to benefit those recovering from surgery due to the more rigid shape.
This brace is also machine washable, making the perfect choice for anybody needing to wear a shoulder brace for a long period of time.
However, if you’re looking for extra shoulder support during sports this might not be the one for you as some people found that the stitching is less durable than others.
- Can be adjusted to fit either shoulder
- Four size options; unlike others, this is the most inclusive size range seen in shoulder braces
- Excellent customer rating
- Less adjustable around armpit / sleeve area
- One color option
The FIGHTECH shoulder brace is ideal if you’re looking for something more breathable and lighter.
With over 6,000 ratings, the compression level provides effective pain relief for bursitis and other shoulder conditions. It’s machine washable too, so it’s super easy to clean when needed.
Comfortable and lightweight, the FIGHTECH is ideal for daily shoulder support. It can also be used on both the left and right shoulder, which is ideal for potential future use.
To top it all off, it’s available in four colors, allowing you to show a little personality.
- Four color options
- Available in two sizes
- Can be used for left or right shoulder
- Suitable for machine cold wash
- Includes instructions on how to wear and adjust
- Hot/cold pack not included but available
- Recommended use with a shoulder sling for better effects, but it does depend on your personal experience
- The instruction video available is less helpful, so it can be hard to figure out how to put on
- “Bulky”- especially on women so sizing down is recommended
- Less suitable for people of larger build e.g. Weightlifters
Bursitis, like most joint-related injuries, causes a great deal of pain which can make life especially difficult.
The following section looks at shoulder braces which have a gel pad in a small pouch built-in so that it can be warmed up or frozen, depending on what works best for your pain.
A benefit of this is added pain relief, but naturally they might be a little heavier than some of the other options.
The Natracure Hot or Cold Compression Shoulder Support provides hot, cold and compression pain relief to the shoulder joint ideal for surgery recovery but can also be worn without the gel pack during sport.
The compression air pump means you can customize how much support you need, and the pad will mould to your body’s contours.
- Compression air pump and removable hot/cold pad included
- 4.5 star average rating
- Less bulky and heavy
- Made for the right shoulder- no left option so would have to twist unnaturally in order to fit left, although description says can be used on either
- Confusing to assemble and use initially
- One size- chest size max fifty inches
- Several customer reviews have addressed the issue of sizing. Despite one of the main selling points claiming that this brace is less heavy and bulky, many have reported difficulties putting it on and using it because of its bulk and awkward size. Worth considering before buying especially if you’re of a smaller build. “frustrating” “awkward” “cumbersome”
This Shoulder Brace with Reusable Gel by TherX shoulder brace is an American-made lightweight compression pack which includes a small ice/heat pack that you can heat or put in the freezer depending on what’s the best pain relief.
It can be used on either the left or right shoulder, and it can also be fully adjusted. This makes it a good choice for anybody with a smaller frame.
It’s also made from medical-grade flannel which isn’t only incredibly durable but is also very soft. This helps to ensure comfort without sacrificing performance.
- Adjustable for smaller builds
- Can be used on left and right shoulder
- Unlike most others, this product is made using a medical grade flannel which is both soft and durable. It is, however, less breathable so wouldn’t be ideal if you’re looking for a brace you can exercise in.
- One size and color option
- Lack of compression and support, the focus on this product is design and using the gel pack for pain relief instead of shoulder compression.
In this next section we look at shoulder braces made for ease of use between left and right shoulders.
If you have bursitis from a sporting injury or repeated strain this might be for you because as your muscles repair with time, you might find yourself needing support on the other side.
Most shoulder braces tend to be designed for the right shoulder with very little available on the left side. That’s why we’ve compiled some of the best shoulder braces which can be easily worn on either the left or right side.
Keeping in the NatraCure family, we have the Hot & Cold Universal Shoulder Support. A big selling point of this product is the ease of use and being able to convert it to fit both left and right shoulders.
It’s also easier than ever to use hot or cold therapy. Simply place it in either the refrigerator/freezer or the microwave. It’s also easy to adjust so you’ll be able to wear it comfortably while still getting the best performance from it.
- Left or right universal fit
- Hot/cold pad included
- Adjustable for smaller sizes- although can be difficult to tighten and feel the benefits of compression
- Machine washable
- Comfortable enough to sleep in
- One size and color option
- If you’re looking for something with compression, especially for your bursitis rather than recovering from a sport injury, this might not be for you as it lists it as “gentle” compression. The focus of this product is clearly heat and/or ice therapy
Unlike other shoulder supports, this compression brace comes with a handbook written by a doctor which includes advised exercises for recovery and how to best use the brace for maximized comfort and movement.
Of course, while the book is super useful, the support itself needs to offer excellent performance and it has some features that ensure this.
It can be used on either the left or the right shoulder and it is machine washable for easy cleaning. It even has shoulder section for an ice or heat pack, although this needs to be purchased separately.
- Available in black or pink
- Suitable for left and right shoulders
- Average 4-star rating
- Machine washable
- Pouch on shoulder section for optional ice/heat pack but not included in initial purchase
- Comfortable and no irritation
- Handbook included with purchase
- One size
- Not ideal for people of smaller build- although the brace is adjustable, there is a limit to how tight it can go within a one-size range
A perfect brace for weightlifting and other strenuous exercises, this shoulder support brace can be used for weights up to 180lbs. It’s also fully adjustable, making it easier than ever to create a perfect fit.
Cleaning this shoulder support brace is easy as well. All you have to do is throw it straight in the washing machine.
It’s also made from a super flexible material that offers support and comfort without sacrificing durability.
- Machine washable
- Flexible material suitable for exercise
- Effectively stabilizes the shoulder joint
- Most suitable for weights under 180 pounds
- Separate left-right options, will have to repurchase if alternating
- One size option
Next up, we have the SUPTRUST shoulder stabilizer. Recommended for tendonitis recovery, this shoulder brace is also ideal for bursitis as the compression provided is local to the painful area.
Made of neoprene, a breathable and flexible material, the SUPTRUST brace is perfect for sleeping in or daily support.
You can also place an ice pack or a hot compress safely inside, making it ideal for cold or heat-treatment.
- All reviews are five stars
- Fits both shoulders
- Can put ice pack/ hot compress inside
- Suitable for daily wear
- Includes instructions of how to put on and adjust for comfort, and washing instructions
- Ideal for sport recovery
- One size option
- Not suitable for machine wash- hand wash only at 30 degrees
Finally, the Vive shoulder brace is comfortable and easy to change to suit either shoulder.
With only one size option, it’s easy to dismiss this product but as it’s being modelled by an average woman, we can see that daily use was in mind when sizing this one.
This might be for you if you’re after an everyday wear rather than to lift weights in. It also comes with a 60-day guarantee so, if you’re not completely satisfied with it, you’ll be able to return it without any fuss.
- Flexible, breathable neoprene material
- Extender strap included
- Machine washable- cold wash with air dry
- Left and right shoulder
- Customers praise highly – “Vital part of my recovery”
- One size only available in black
- Can be difficult to figure out initially and adjust to fit comfortably
- One size doesn’t always fit all
To summarize, most shoulder braces are difficult to use and figure out how to correctly adjust. Because instructions aren’t always useful, it can be confusing unless you have experience using and adjusting one to fit properly and provide the support needed.
So, to help make things a little clearer and point you in the right direction, we’ve put together a list of key points to pay attention to when shopping for a shoulder brace for bursitis.
Sizing is also an overall issue; We all know one size doesn’t always fit all and even for braces which come in two sizes, companies need to pay attention to the range and demand.
Something in-between too large and too small, however, is also problematic because there is no support available for someone of a petite build, for example.
Another issue we’ve seen with sizing is that shoulder braces aren’t generally designed with women in mind.
Women tend to have smaller builds than men and there aren’t as many on the market with women-appropriate sizes. They are usually either too big and bulky or difficult to put on in the first place.
Neoprene, which the majority are made from, has a distinctive smell so it is recommended that you wash before use.
However, it is a very flexible and breathable material effective for daily wear and tear so once washed, there seem to be little problems with neoprene. Its also a perfect material for exercise and sleeping in because of its breathability.
Each product has benefits and drawbacks so it’s important as a consumer to have all the information available in one place.
This article has focused on benefits of compression shoulder braces and how practical they would be to include in daily routine, as shoulder support is needed.
Bursitis is very painful and affects a range of ages and lifestyles, so its crucial that there are different options to suit everybody and with different benefits.
The addition of a gel pad that can be heated or frozen is only useful if pain management is your priority rather than compression. As we’ve seen, shoulder braces which include this option tend to compromise on the amount of support achievable.
The most effective shoulder brace really depends on your needs as a customer and how much compression support is needed.
If it’s a more versatile option you’re after, one with the small gel pack available might be ideal because the compression provided is gentler but as we’ve seen, there is a lot of variation in the use and how loose or tight the brace can be made.
Alternatives to the options mentioned above include braces which are just as comfortable but focus on overall posture.
Double shoulder braces are also available for more support or if your bursitis involves both shoulders, or if overall support is something you’re after.
Studies have shown that maintaining good posture can relieve pain and accelerate metabolism. If a single shoulder brace hasn’t been effective for you, maybe try a posture-correcting double shoulder brace to see how your body responds?