Basic Armbinder [Level 2]

Armbinders are a very restrictive type of tie wherein you pull the elbows together behind the back. This is the most visually straightforward style of armbinder. My version uses the Figure 8 Inline Double Column Tie, which makes it easier to keep the wraps from sliding down while you're tying them than with traditional double column ties.

The idea behind the sequencing of this tie is that you want to do the elbows near the end, so that if you need to adjust the tie around the elbows, you can easily do so without undoing the whole rest of the tie. There is no perfect position for the elbow wraps; because the potentially vulnerable areas for the radial and ulnar nerves overlap, anywhere between the elbows and deltoids is a danger zone. Looking at the arm as a lever, you can see that in order to achieve any given arm position on a particular person, the higher the elbow wraps go the more force is going to be required to hold the arms in that position -- on the other hand, a very low wrap positioning is more likely to compress the ulnar nerve on most people.

Tight armbinders are extremely likely to cause nerve issues. If you get tingling on the pinky-side of the hand only, the problem is most likely the ulnar nerve being affected near the elbows, and you may be able to resolve it by moving the elbow wraps higher. If tingling is on the thumb side, that's the radial nerve; an adjustment in either direction might (or might not) help. If the whole arm starts going numb, it is most likely a positional problem; pulling the elbows back and together tends to compress the brachial artery and brachial plexus. In that case, adjusting the top wraps might give some relief, but you'll most likely just need to tie with more space between the elbows. While injury to the brachial plexus from this type of tie is relatively rare, when it does happen, it can be extremely disabling; be very cautious about ignoring the warning signs of nerve impingement. Just because it's normal for your arms to "go to sleep" in this position doesn't mean it's safe.


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