10 Best Carpal Tunnel Braces- Ultimate Guide and Reviews (2018)
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which there is a compression of the median nerve in the wrist as it courses from the forearm to the hand. This compression of the median nerve causes pain, tingling sensation, burning sensation, as well as numbness in the palm and all except the little finger.
The median nerve courses through the front of the hand under a thick fascia in a hollow called the Carpal tunnel. This nerve provides sensation to the thumb, index finger, long finger, and a part of the ring finger.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by diseases or factors which cause inflammation or fluid retention within the carpal tunnel. Some of these conditions include diabetes, obesity, thyroid disease, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, fluid retention in pregnancy, and fractures of the wrist.
Although carpal tunnel syndrome is not fatal, it often causes great discomfort that interferes with normal day-to-day activities.
Although treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity of its symptoms, non-surgical treatment options are often effective enough to provide significant relief of symptoms.
Non-surgical conservative treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome include avoiding positions which cause overextension of the wrist, wearing wrist braces, application of ice packs on the wrist, and taking analgesics.
Wrist braces help to keep the wrist in a neutral position so as to alleviate the compression of the median nerve as well as alleviate the symptoms. Wrist braces provide significant wrist support and relief of carpal tunnel syndrome.
What are Wrist Braces?
Wrist braces are strong supports made with the aim of keeping the wrist in a neutral position for various health reasons. Wrist braces are of different types, each with a different degree of support for the wrist and hand.
The various types of wrist braces include the standard wrist braces, sport wrist braces, and postoperative wrist braces
Standard Support Braces
These braces or splints are used mainly for rehabilitation of the hand and wrist function in persons who have suffered hand or wrist injuries or chronic inflammatory diseases involving contents of the hand. These braces provide support to the wrist and keep it from further damage by reducing the inflammation and swelling.
There are other variants of standard wrist braces called Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) braces. These, as their name implies, are made to protect the wrist and hand against damage from diseases caused by overuse of the hands, for example from sports such as tennis or from working too long on the computer.
Sports Wrist Braces
These are worn by people who play certain sports such as cricket and tennis which make too much use of the hands. Sport wrist braces support and protect the wrist from certain injuries these sports make it vulnerable to. Additionally, sport wrist braces help speed up healing and also alleviate symptoms in individuals who have these injuries and must keep playing.
These are used by people who have recently undergone surgery on their wrists, for example for carpal tunnel syndrome or wrist fractures. The braces are often stronger and bulkier than most other wrist braces, therefore, making them more supportive and more effective for serious pain from injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Benefits of Using a Wrist Brace for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Wrist braces are used primarily to provide support to an injured wrist, alleviate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and wrist injuries, and prevent injury and strain to a vulnerable wrist. They ensure these benefits by keeping the wrist in a neutral protected position.
Wrist braces should fitly encircle the wrist to keep its movement restricted and in a neutral position. A loop normally wraps around the thumb to keep the brace in position and keep it from slipping off.
The wrist brace usually has some Velcro straps and hooks that hold it in place and make it easy to tighten, loosen, and adjust the brace.
Best Carpal Tunnel Braces – Top 10 Reviews
Below is a list of top ten wrist braces, their characteristics, and their merits and demerits.
Arthritis Thumb Splint by Vive
Although called a thumb brace, the Arthritis Thumb Splint by Vive is an effective wrist support alleviating the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome as well as inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, tendonitis, and De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
It also relieves pain that comes from sprain and injury to the wrist and hand. It is manufactured in the US by Vive.
- Made with a lightweight neoprene breathable material, therefore providing comfort during hot weather and also while exercising.
- It retains therapeutic heat which improves blood circulation to the wrist, thereby promoting healing of the injury and reduction of the inflammation.
- It comes with aluminium splint for the thumb to provide extra support. This splint may be removed to allow thumb support the hand for certain activities that require more flexibility.
- It has strong, secure straps which fasten it to the wrist appropriately. These straps are also adjustable to allow for individualized comfort.
- It provides good flexibility so that the hands can still be engaged in other activities such as cooking, typing, and washing while the brace is on.
- Made in Universal sizing which is a perfect fit for most hands.
- Vive produces this brace with a 60-day unconditional guarantee.
- May not be worn while performing activities that require strong hand grip.
Additional tips for maximizing the benefits of the Arthritis Thumb Splint by Vive
- Ensure to keep the brace dry
- Remove the aluminium splint before washing
- Ensure that you do not use your thumb for the space bar when you type with the brace on.
M Brace RCA Heavy Duty Wrist Brace
The M Brace RCA Heavy Duty Wrist Brace is, as its name implies, heavy duty and it is very much unlike most other wrist braces.
The unique design of this brace ensures it wraps strongly around the wrist to minimize pain and aid healing of the inflammation, while still allowing full movement of the fingers.
Although this brace is described as heavy duty, it is lightweight and very comfortable to wear around the wrist. It maintains the U-shape of the carpal tunnel without compressing the median nerve.
- Good brace for those who use the hand for heavy work
- It is a better hands-free alternative to common braces
- Provides comfortable support for the carpal tunnel, while allowing movement of the fingers
- It is primarily designed for all-day and/or all-night use.
- It may be too big for people with small wrists.
Mueller Fitted Wrist Brace
Mueller fitted wrist brace is one of the most common brands of wrist braces.
It is made mainly for use for the right hand, however, there are models which are to be used for the left hand as well. It is manufactured by a US company, Mueller.
The brace is simple to use and very comfortable, fitting perfectly around the wrist. This brace has a metal brace sewn into it near its palm area to keep the brace in perfect alignment and provide strong wrist support for the user.
- Provides maximum relief of symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and wrist injury while maintaining full ranges of motion of the thumb and fingers.
- It is lightweight, so comfortable to wear
- It allows for hand movements such as typing.
- Fits even the most slender hands and wrists.
- The brace is antibiotic-treated to protect from germs which may damage the material and release bad odours.
- It is made of breathable materials for all-day use.
- It has adjustable straps that provide custom-fit for the user.
- It cannot be dry-cleaned, so one can only use a fabric softener or bleach to clean it.
Wellgate for Women PerfectFit Wrist Support
The Wellgate for Women PerfectFit Wrist Support is made to provide women with strong wrist support and relief of strains, as well as symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
It is mainly for use around the right hand. This brace, made by Wellgate in the US, is the best for women because of its highly soft and memory foam material.
The Wellgate for Women PerfectFit brace is small and sleek, perfectly fitting around the wrist. It has a one-size-fits-all design.
- It is very affordable
- It is so lightweight and soft, one may not notice a brace is around their wrist.
- It allows for sleep as well as normal day-to-day functions of the hands.
- Fits comfortably around the wrist
- Cleans easily
- Maybe too warm for some people
- Made for right-hand use.
Futuro Reversible Wrist Splint
The Futuro Reversible Wrist Splint is an adjustable and reversible wrist brace which provides moderate support and stability to the wrist joint. It is manufactured in the US by Futuro.
- Made of latex-free, breathable material that allows for flexibility and comfort
- It is lightweight and durable
- It has three hooks and loops which make it adjustable around the wrist to fit perfectly
- It allows for day-to-day hand functions
- The Velcro hooks lose their tensile strength over time.
The Bracoo Breathable Wrist Splint
The Bracoo Breathable Wrist Splint is one of the best wrist braces you can find. It comes in a one-size-fits-all model to fit people with wrists measuring up to 11 inches in circumference.
The Bracoo Breathable Wrist Splint is unique in its structure which has a pre-shaped metal brace to ensure strong support and proper wrist alignment.
The Bracoo Breathable Wrist Splint is essentially a brace-spint combination that provides significant relief of symptoms of acute wrist trauma, sprains, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Can be washed by hand
- Has a metal area that provides good wrist alignment.
- Its lightweight ensures that it can be worn for prolonged periods of time or during sleep.
- Provides significant relief of pains and numbness resulting from injuries, strains, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Made of a neoprene material which is breathable and provides great comfort for all-day use.
- For use on either left or right wrist up to 11 inches wrist circumference and 10 inches hand circumference.
- Might be too small for some people.
Mueller Wrist Brace with Splint
The Muller Wrist Brace is an affordable wrist brace that comes with a detachable splint which provides stability to the wrist joint.
This brace also has adjustable tabs which ensure it wraps around the wrist comfortably and perfectly. It is manufactured in the US by Mueller.
- It is very affordable
- It is lightweight and very comfortable
- It is adjustable to provide the perfect fit
- Good for use for both left and right hands.
- May not be well suited for use with everyday hand activities.
ProCare Quick-Fit II Wrist Support Brace
The ProCare Quick-Fit Wrist Support Brace is a new brand of wrist braces that are currently selling fast.
It has a one-size-fits-all design with a pull lace which helps the wearer adjust it properly for the perfect fit.
- It is perfect for relief of wrist and hand injuries
- The foam/nylon material provides great comfort when it is worn
- Might be too large for persons with small wrists.
Ace Deluxe Wrist Brace
The Ace Deluxe Wrist Brace is a good brace for wrist injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome.
It comes with three straps that allow the user to adjust it for perfect fitting and support. It is available in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes.
- The size is adjustable to fit the wrist of the user
- Available in different sizes
- It is made of neoprene material which is breathable and resistant to odours
- The neoprene material retains therapeutic heat which boosts blood flow in the wrist and promotes healing of the injury and inflammation.
- The palm area is cushioned for extra comfort
- It also has a contoured splint which provides extra stability and immobilization.
- It permits the full range of motion.
The ComfortForm Wrist Support Brace
The ComfortForm Wrist Support Brace us a good option for wrist support and relief of pain from sprains, strains, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
This brace ensures perfect fitting and stability of the wrist.
- With this brace, the movement of the wrist is controlled, however, the brace has straps which make it adjustable to allow more movement of the wrist.
- It holds and keeps the wrist in a pain-free position
- It is very comfortable to wear
- The straps are too long and may not fully adjust the brace
- This brace may be too big for those with small hands.
Precautions to note with Use of Wrist Braces
- The brace should not be tightened, so as not to impede blood flow to the wrist and hand.
- If you are allergic to neoprene material, consult your doctor for advice and recommendations on alternative wrist braces.
- Ensure the wrist brace is comfortable. If it is not, it may promote further damage to the wrist.
Best Wrist Braces – Buying Guide
There are various models of wrist braces available in the market, and choosing a perfect and effective one may be like finding a needle in a haystack.
With these tips, you can easily select a wrist brace that effectively supports and protects your wrist.
In selecting a perfect wrist brace, one must determine how much padding they require. More internal padding provides more comfort and support for the wrist.
However, this may also restrict movement and reduce flexibility in the wrist. So it is best to go for wrist braces with less padding especially if you will be wearing it for a long time.
This answers the question of how breathable the wrist brace is.
Usually, wrist braces have their internal pads made out of cotton, suede, cotton blends, or polyester. While each of these materials has unique benefits, some are more breathable than others.
It is recommended that one goes for those wrist braces with a more breathable material, especially over the warm months or if you will still be playing sports with the braces on.
Before buying a wrist brace, you might want to consider how the airflow within the brace. Does the material have holes or vents through which air permeate?
Wrist braces with vents and holes allow air flow through the brace and therefore, provide more comfort and reduce perspiration.
It is important to wear wrist braces with good air flow within them, especially if you have to wear the wrist over the summer of in hot climates.
Before buying a wrist brace, one must be sure to determine how it attaches to the wrist. Wrist braces usually come with hooks and Velcro straps that attach it to the wrist.
The number of straps vary from one to three, the more the number, the stronger the support and the better it fits around the wrist.
Since many braces usually come in similar sizes, it is essential for users to determine the right size of brace that will comfortably fit around the wrist particularly people who have small or large wrists and arms.
Eventually, the more quality a wrist brace is, the more expensive it is likely to be. Cost, therefore, is one important factor to consider when buying a wrist brace.
The price of the wrist brace should be compared with one’s individual need and budget, the severity of one’s symptoms, the amount of wrist support one needs, and the durability of the intended wrist brace.
While this may not be considered a very vital thing to look out for, it is pertinent to wear a wrist brace that looks appealing especially if you have to wear it daily.
Tips to Maximise the Benefits of Wrist Braces
To maximize the benefits of these wrist braces, here are a few tips;
- Wrist and Hand Stretches
The following stretch exercise may be performed while your hand is at rest. It is performed in the following steps
- Hold your palm in front of you as if making a stop sign
- Grab the fingers of the outstretched hand with your other hand and pull it back gently until you feel a stretch in your forearm and wrist, the stop.
- Hold this position for about 15 seconds, then return your hands
- Repeat this process for the other hand.
If one suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome and continue movements or exercises and sports which cause hyperextension or flexion of the wrist, the damage may persist. Resting the wrist involves reducing or abstaining from sporting activities that make use of the hand, and avoiding prolonged hand activities such as typing and writing.
- Ice compresses
Applying ice packs to the wrist may also serve as an adjunct to wrist braces. Ice reduce the inflammation and swelling in the wrist area, relieving the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Elevate the Wrist
This resolves the swelling in the wrist using gravity.
Wrist pain may make these activities very difficult, or impossible in severe cases, and carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the commonest causes of wrist pain.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the compression of the median nerve sue to inflammation and swelling in the carpal tunnel, a hollow in the front are of the hand under a thick fascia forming the roof of the tunnel. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include pain in the hands, tingling sensation, and numbness in the fingers.
Wrist braces constitute one of the various conservative methods of resolving the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Wrist braces provide support to the injured wrist, keeping it in a neutral position to prevent damage and alleviate symptoms of a damaged median nerve.
There are different types and models of wrist braces and certain factors such as size, durability, material, cost, and strength of the braces play a key role in determining the type of wrist braces that would be good for you.