I didn’t injure my shoulder at jiu jitsu, I injured it driving my car. Doctors are saying now that sitting at a desk all day is the new smoking because of the harm it causes the body, but I drive a lot for work as well. The pain started in my left trap and eventually migrated to my rotator cuff. It got to the point where it hurt to lift my gear bag for BJJ and I couldn’t roll at all.
I saw a physiotherapist and was diagnosed with supraspinatus tendonitis and given exercises to do. I also went to my sports injury doctor to see if I could get a brace to help me get back to training. In addition to having me fitted by a bracing specialist for the Bauerfeind OmoTrain, Dr. Johnston gave me a series of local anesthetic shots in the shoulder to see if it would relieve the pain.
The combination of the brace, the shots, and my physiotherapy helped me to get back on the mats and heal my rotator cuff injury within a couple of months. I also used a transdermal medication for pain consisting of diclofenac, cyclobenzaprine, and Lipoderm.
During my injury, I did face pulls and seated rows at the gym twice a week to help improve my posture. My shoulders are often forward while I sit and drive, so I wanted to counter that. I’m not sure if it helped but my rotator cuff is back to about 95%. I also do shoulder circles as a warm up every time I train now.
- Bauerfeind proprietary knit sleeve
- Removable silicone massage pad (Delta pad)
- Graduated compression at the edges
- Strap support system
Quality and Function
All of the Bauerfeind products I’ve tried are excellent quality. The fabric is exclusive to Bauerfeind and developed for support during injury. Elasticity does not change over time and both the fabric and the straps washed well during the four to six weeks I wore it regularly. I was traveling a lot for work at the time, and when I hand-washed the brace and Delta pad after class and hung it in front of the window at the hotel, the heat of the sun was enough to dry it in time for training the next evening. I had a similar experience with the Bauerfeind GenuTrain I used when I had a knee injury a couple of years ago.
The product description on the OmoTrain product page explains the function it was designed to perform:
In conservative treatment for the shoulder, secure guidance of the injured joint and carefully controlled mobilization are often key factors for successful healing. It is therefore also important to relieve pain in order to encourage mobility. With its compression knit and the tensile effect exerted by its special strap system, the OmoTrain centers the shoulder joint and protects it against painful circular movements.
However, it also provides support for other movements, such as the lateral lifting of the arm, in order to strengthen the musculature. The full pain-relieving effect of the support is produced during movement. During movement, the compression knit exerts a beneficial intermittent compression massage that activates the metabolism and helps to reduce swelling more quickly. The Delta pad increases this massage effect, thanks to its nubs and its joint-cavity ridge that have a targeted effect on specific pain spots. When necessary, the Delta pad can be attached into the support and positioned as required.
Fit and Comfort
The local sports injury clinic, Arthritis & Injury Care, ordered two braces to make sure I got the best fit. The bracing specialist took measurements, and since I was on the cusp of size one and two, we tried both. My bicep is ten inches, or 25cm, in circumference. Size one (22-24cm) was too tight on the arm but fit across the shoulders. Size two (24-26cm) fit better on the arm, but was baggy across the shoulders. I chose to go with size one because I felt it was more important for the shoulder straps to fit properly.
When I spoke to the Bauerfeind Canada representative, he told me the brace was designed for people who are not muscular. Since my arms are bigger than the average person with my frame, I found the sleeve very tight. When I put it on, I felt my circulation was slightly constricted right away, with slight tingling in my hand.
During rolling, the arm wearing the brace got tired a lot faster than the other, especially when I was doing a lot of grip work. If I hadn’t been wearing the brace, though, I wouldn’t have been able to roll at all at my own club. I could roll at another club with some of the smaller females with my arm tucked into my belt, but I have a hard time with the monsters at Titans on a good day so I limited myself to technique and teaching the women’s class.
Based on my experience, I believe the brace is effective for mild tears in the rotator cuff. Before I got the brace, once my shoulder felt better, I would train and hurt it again. After I got the OmoTrain and my shoulder felt a bit better, it would hurt a little during sessions, but I could still train. Once the shoulder was at about 75%, I still wore the brace regularly during rolling. If I forgot it, I noticed a significant difference in pain level after class.
I bought the OmoTrain from Arthritis & Injury Care in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The brace is available on Amazon and other online stores. My brace was covered by my medical insurance plan and delivered to Arthritis & Injury Care for pick up within a week.
You can follow Bauerfeind on Facebook and Twitter. Bauerfeind has an extensive line of supports so if you have an injury, they probably have something there for you. The MalleoTrain S Open Heel, ManuTrain, GenuTrain S Pro will be reviewed on Breaking Muscle as well.