The Dos and Don’ts of Wearing a Wrist Brace
Your Guide to How to Properly Wear a Wrist Brace
By keeping the wrist in a neutral position and providing support, wrist braces help alleviate pain from inflammation, injured tendons, and even systemic diseases that affect the joints. There are a number of reasons why you might need to wear a wrist brace. These are some of the most common ailments treated with a wrist brace:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Other systemic joint diseases
In this guide, we’ll explore different types of wrist braces, how to wear them properly, and more.
Choosing the Right Wrist Brace
Unless you’re sleeping in it, any of the wrist braces listed below can be used for any of the conditions mentioned above. Therefore, you can find the type that relieves your pain best, while also providing sufficient comfort, ease of use, and the best fit.
Wrist braces vary in materials, level of support and immobilization, adjustability, and methods of adjustment. Many wrist braces have a metal or plastic stay to keep the wrist from bending. Often these splints are malleable, so that they can be shaped for better fit.
Splints provide additional support, but are not appropriate for sleeping. The following four wrist braces range from light support for a strain or mild discomfort to laced, adjustable splints.
Compression Sleeve for the Wrist
When extra wrist support is required for an injury, recovery, or for conditions like CTS, a wrist sleeve can be a good option. They provide compression for stability and blood flow. It’s also an easy way to help warm the joints, while not drastically restricting movement for those suffering from joint diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
This Incrediwear wrist sleeve includes embedded semi-conductors to help increase blood speed and reduce inflammation. It is offered in two sizes for a custom fit.
Wrist Support Glove
A slip-on glove with a stay provides more support while also being easy to wear because it has no fasteners. In fact, the Brownmed’s IMAK SmartGlove pictured here, includes a flexible support splint and has received the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease of Use Commendation.
Designed by an orthopedic surgeon, it helps prevent and relieve wrist pain associated with CTS, arthritis and tendonitis by encouraging proper hand and wrist position. The cotton fabric makes it breathable and washable. This product comes in one size, and reverses, so it can be worn on either wrist.
Wrap-around Wrist Brace with Palmal Splint
Wrap-around braces with removable palmal stays are the most commonly used wrist brace. They are easy to put on, adjust, and remove. The Hely & Weber Modabber Wrist Brace pictured here features perforated neoprene to give vented support for long-lasting comfort, and a malleable stay, which can be shaped for a more custom fit. It comes in short and long options, to better suit the type of ailment for which you are treating.
Laced Wrist Brace with Palmal and Dorsal Splint
Some injuries and surgery rehabilitation may require maximum stability of the joint. Braces with stays on the palm side and the dorsal side can provide the additional support. The stays are usually removable, so that you can continue to wear it with one or no stays as you progress further in your healing process.
The Hely & Weber Titan Wrist Lacing Orthosis from OrthOut takes a little more time to put on, but both stays are malleable, and the palmal stay can be repositioned for a better fit.
This video demonstrates the proper application of the Titan Wrist Lacing Orthosis.
When to Wear Your Wrist Brace
Wearing a wrist brace is simple, provided you get one that fits your hand and wrist well. One of the most common questions about wrist braces is actually how much to wear it. It’s important to know which activities you should and shouldn’t wear a wrist brace while performing, which will vary somewhat, depending on the reason for wearing it, with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome being the prime example.
When to Wear Your Brace for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
According to the National Institute of Health, "Many people with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome wear a splint at night for a few weeks.” The reason for wearing one overnight is that you are more likely to put pressure on a bent wrist while you’re sleeping, which can compress the tunnel that the median nerve runs through.
Certain repetitive tasks or ones that cause jarring or strain can exacerbate CTS. Therefore, wearing a supportive splint during such activities can help to prevent further pain.
When to Wear Your Brace for Strains and Sprains
When your wrist pain is the result of a minor strain, a sprain, tendonitis, or degenerative arthritis from a joint injury, wearing the brace during activities that put more stress on the joint can help prevent further pain and provide stability, increase circulation and reduce inflammation while it heals.
When to Wear Your Brace for Arthritis
For arthritis sufferers, the times you would use a brace would likely coincide with when you are demanding more from your wrist, especially tasks that you have learned aggravate the joint. Warming and stabilizing the joints during activities can be helpful in reducing pain. However, it’s also important to move the hand and wrist normally throughout the day to prevent stiffness.
How Long to Wear Your Wrist Brace
It's a good idea to consult your physician or physical therapist, but generally, extending use slightly beyond the cessation of symptoms is a good practice. Caught early, symptoms of CTS may subside after just a week or two. If you’ve had surgery, your physician will tell you how and for how long to use your splint, when you might switch out to a less-restrictive brace, and when you can discontinue use altogether.
Have the Best Wrist Brace for Your Needs Delivered to Your Home
At Orthopedic Outfitters, we have been serving the public and clinics with supplies for injury prevention and recovery for more than 20 years. Browse our full line of braces and home rehabilitation equipment, and reach out to us online if we can assist you in finding the best wrist brace for your needs. Plus, when you spend $50 or more with us, shipping is free!