The Many Possible Meanings of Colored Rubber Bracelets

People can wear colored rubber bracelets for a variety of reasons. Some may simply consider the color of their bracelet as a fashion choice, and they may have several bracelets in their possession so that they could color-coordinate a bracelet with their current outfit. For others, the color may simply represent a favorite color or it may represent a particular person or event in the wearer’s life.

But for an increasing number of people, the color of a rubber bracelet signifies the wearer’s awareness of a particular cause or medical condition. The size and location of a colored rubber bracelet makes it a more subtle and unobtrusive reminder than other forms of wearable insignias, from a ribbon placed squarely on the chest to a T-shirt spelling out a cause outright.

Causes, however, cannot claim exclusive rights to any particular color. Because of this, quite a few colors may represent more than a single cause:


  • AIDS or HIV Awareness
  • Blood Donor
  • DARE (or Drug Abuse Resistance Education)
  • DUI Prevention
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa, which is a group of disorders characterized by the appearance of skin blisters from very minor injuries
  • Heart Disease


  • Arthritis
  • Dystonia (a kind of neurological disorder that causes twisting, repetitive movements, and even abnormal postures)
  • Child Abuse
  • Sexual Assault
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Eating Disorders
  • Education
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Pro Choice
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Lymphedema, or lymphatic obstruction
  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Myalgic Encephalopathy, though the general public often refers to it as chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Reye’s Syndrome, a rare but potentially deadly disease that may affect the liver and brain, and which occur in children who are recovering from a viral infection
  • Scleroderma
  • Victim’s Rights
  • Water Quality
  • Sexual Assault
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Trisomy 18 or Edwards Syndrome, a kind of genetic disorder


  • Alzheimer’s
  • Animal Abuse
  • Rhett Syndrome
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Cancer
  • Leiomyosarcoma, a kind of malignant cancer
  • Lupus
  • Colitis, the inflammation of the colon
  • Crohn’s Disease or regional enteritis, a kind of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Gynecological Cancer
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Domestic Violence
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Fibromyalgia, a condition marked by chronic widespread pain
  • Foster Care
  • Macular Degeneration


Other colors may be in the same situation. Gray can signify the battle against mental disease or Parkinson’s, and white may symbolize free speech or the right to life movement. Orange may be a call for racial tolerance, or it may represent an awareness of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.

In order to be more precise and avoid any unnecessary confusion, you may have your bracelets engraved with the actual name of the cause you are trying to espouse. That should clear up the matter nicely, though some people may not necessarily consider the vagueness of the bracelet a negative thing. The lack of specificity may cause some people to ask the bracelet wearer about what the colored rubber bracelet means, and the wearer can then help spread awareness of the espoused cause by answering the question directly.