Have you ever taken a step back to consider just how often you use your hands? It might seem silly but think about it. We use them for literally everything—brushing our teeth, driving a car, typing on a keyboard. And the reason we can use our hands is because of our wrists; to take care of our hands, therefore, is to care for our wrists as well.
According to a 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, hand and wrist injuries accounted for 16.8 lost days of work per 100,000 full-time workers. This may not seem like much, but these injuries were second only to back injuries, which came in at 17.3 workdays lost. For context, knee injuries and shoulder injuries accounted for 9.1 and 8.4 days, respectively.
Physical labor-intensive jobs entail the highest degree of physical strain. A bricklayer, for example, uses his or her wrist extensively, as does a delivery man or a baseball pitcher. But there are also mundane tasks that all of us complete daily contributing to wear and tear on our wrists. Cooking dinner and picking up a baby, for example, have been directly linked to many wrist injuries in the past.
With all of this in mind, today’s topic is a simple remedy that can help anyone fight off chronic wrist pain: wrist braces.
|Name||Picture||Price||Best Feature||Our rating||Best Price|
|Mueller Green Fitted Wrist Brace||$||Leading Brace Company, great design||9.7/10||See Current Price|
|Dr. Arthritis Wrist Brace||$||Doctor Designed||9.5/10||See Current Price|
|Sparthos Wrist Support Sleeves||$||73% Nylon, 19% Latex, 8% Spandex - comfortable material||9.3/10||See Current Price|
|Vive Wrist Brace||$||Removable Splint||9.4/10||See Current Price|
|Wyllielab Wrist Brace||$||Smaller and comfortable design||9.2/10||See Current Price|
What is a Wrist Brace?
A wrist brace is a mechanism worn around the wrist intended to protect it during activity or to allow it to heal from an injury. To that end, whether a brace is preventive or protective, they all work the same way. Anatomically speaking, the purpose of a wrist brace is to immobilize the joint while providing heat and compression to the bone and surrounding ligaments. Oftentimes, wrist braces are fashioned with velcro straps to reach around the thumb, and they typically include metal spines stretching along the forearm for added strength and protection.
What are the Benefits of using a Wrist Brace?
There are several benefits of wearing a wrist brace. By stabilizing the joint, a wrist brace minimizes the movement relative to the surrounding structures. This allows for the wrist to heal properly and safely while also enabling the user to function normally and complete daily tasks. Braces serve to reduce swelling and inflammation in the wake of an injury; and beyond that, they quell the pain of such injuries to a significant degree. A wrist brace contributes sizable relief in post-surgery healing by protecting the site of the procedure and allows for more rapid healing.
What is Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a wrist injury that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, becomes squeezed or inflamed at the wrist. The carpal tunnel is the narrow passageway of bones and ligaments that houses this nerve, hence the name of the syndrome. It’s difficult to identify a singular cause of CTS. Experts often attribute trauma or injuries to the wrist, mechanical faults in the bone, or even fluid retention during pregnancy to the development of the syndrome.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually begin gradually and mildly. What starts as a numb, weak feeling and inactivity, however, can quickly spiral into an extremely painful condition. If the condition deteriorates further, someone with severe CTS may not be able to distinguish between hot and cold surfaces and may even burn their fingers without feeling anything. It can also be very expensive to treat CTS; there are on average 500,000 procedures every year in the United States at a total economic cost of more than $2 billion.
What to Look for in a Wrist Brace?
Material: Most wrist braces these days are made of rigid tissue nylon fabrics or neoprene that allow for great flexibility and strength. They also tend to come with velcro straps to wrap around the thumb.
Size: Wrist braces only vary slightly in size, from between 4 and 9 inches, but most are around 6 or 7 inches in length. The velcro enables them to fit just about any wrist.
Washable: You could probably get away with throwing your brace in the washing machine using cold water, but do not put it in the dryer. I recommend washing it by hand with warm water and a mild disinfectant.
Amount of Support: Not all braces are created equally. Those you can buy over the counter at Walgreens or CVS aren’t bad per se, but they certainly don’t match the quality of others on the market.
How Does a Wrist Brace Work?
FAQ About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
How Long Does Carpal Tunnel Last?
The length of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome varies on different factors but it can last up to 6 months or longer if not taken care of. It is much easier to “fix” in the early stages instead of letting it linger.
How Does a Brace Help with Carpal Tunnel?
The wrist brace helps keep the wrist in neutral to prevent aggravating the Median nerve by stretching it or over using it. This allows the nerve to calm down and begin to heal. You don’t need to wear the brace all day long, but anytime that you are going to be doing repetitive work.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel?
In short, Carpal Tunnel is caused by overuse and repetitive movements that aggravate the tendons and nerve in the front of the wrist. This often is caused at work such as typing or mousing or at home with chores and over doing.
Do You have to have Surgery for Carpal Tunnel?
Not at all! If you perform the recommended stretches, calm it down with rest or a brace, and then strengthen to prevent it from coming back you do not need to have surgery. The vast majority of people don’t. There are instances such as when there is muscle wasting that surgery is indicated.
Why is Carpal Tunnel Worse at Night?
There are couple of reasons why the pain may be worse at night.
- First there are no distractions to take your mind off of the pain and discomfort so it’s easier to focus on.
- Second, it may have been aggravated through out the day and is now flare up.
- Third, nerves are highly active at night and the Median nerve which is involved in Carpal tunnel is no different causing more pain.
The Best Wrist Compression Brace for Carpal Tunnel
Mueller Green Fitted Wrist Brace
Summary: The Mueller is one of the most popular braces on the market today. Durable and consistent, this brace is made with breathable materials, adjustable straps, and a metal spoon.
Pros: made almost entirely from recycled materials; costs less than $20
Cons: customers commented that the brace did not run true to size
Dr. Arthritis Wrist Brace
Summary: The Dr. Arthritis wrist brace is more so a wrist wrap than anything else; that is, it does not reach down to the forearm. It is made of 65% neoprene and 35% nylon.
Pros: With its small size, it also functions great as a brace for tennis, bowling, golf, etc.
Cons: some users mentioned continuous skin irritation caused by the brace
Sparthos Wrist Support Sleeves
Summary: The Sparthos wrist sleeves do not have any velcro straps or metal spines, instead they are compression sleeves that reach from the palm to the forearm.
Pros: This brace offers much more flexibility than a normal brace and does not cause skin irritation
Cons: Some users complained that these did not run true to size, while others said it caused some soreness where the thumb and palm meet.
Vive Wrist Brace
Summary: The Vive wrist brace is another great option, especially if you’re looking for a consistent and cost-effective one. It’s a light-weight, fully adjustable therapeutic compression brace.
Pros: This braces comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. Users say it fits snugly and the neoprene is very comfortable.
Cons: Some users complained that it puts a lot of stress on the thumb, causing soreness.
Wyllielab Wrist Brace
Summary: The Wyllielab is an adjustable wrist wrap and can be used to add support in a variety of tasks, like copywriting, tennis, or golf. It adds further flexibility and comfort, as well as wrist pain relief.
Pros: This brace has a 30-day money-back guarantee, it’s lightweight and comfortable, and helped many users with chronic wrist pain.
Cons: Some users complained that this brace did not run true to size, and said it was a little hot to wear, causing some sweating.
If you’ve experienced wrist pain, then you know, there’s nothing fun about a nagging wrist injury. Luckily, many great wrist braces can help thwart the pain of a hurt wrist. Be sure to check out these recommendations!
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only. This is not a substitute for a medical appointment. Please refer to your physician before starting any exercise program.