Orthotics, Braces & Orthopaedic Sleeves

Protecting your wrist with a wrist support

Wrist support

Wrist supports, also known as wrist braces, fit over your wrist and immobilise the joint to prevent injuries, promote healing, or both. They may use laces or heavy-duty Velcro to close. Some even have metal shanks inside to keep the palm elevated.


How do you use a wrist support?

Generally, someone wearing a brace inserts the hand and wrist into it, ensures it is in the correct position, and then tightens the laces or straps. A second person is helpful if you need to lace up the support, as it is difficult to tighten with just one hand. The support should not be so tight as to restrict blood flow or cause rashes or abrasions. If the brace is a splint, which has a metal shank inside it to keep the hand in a certain position, placement is especially important. A misaligned wrist splint can actually cause damage to the joint.

Wrist support

Best practices

When do you use a wrist support?

People wear wrist supports to guard against injuries or treat conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. When it comes to protection, such as wearing a wrist support at the gym, the primary objective is to avoid an injury. Tennis players and weightlifters are two categories of athletes who wear such braces. Many of these braces are fashioned from either nylon or canvas with an absorbent material on the outside so that the athlete can wipe sweat from the forehead or the eyes.

Aside from protection from injury, wrist supports are primarily for healing. One of the most common injuries that is treated with a wrist brace or a splint is carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel wrist supports usually have a metal shank to keep the palm elevated to relieve the stress on the tendons and ligaments running along the wrist. Such slight bending back of the palm lessens the pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome and reduces the pressure on the median nerve.

Care must be taken when using such splints because prolonged use weakens the muscles of the wrist, which will exacerbate the issue if you adopt poor habits to compensate for the loss of muscle strength. You should not wear the wrist support all the time. Periodically throughout the day, you should remove the brace and exercise the muscles by clasping squishy balls and releasing them. Such wrist workouts need not be vigorous. A few "squishes" is enough to keep the muscles strong.

Doctors will sometimes use a wrist support for arthritis to ease the pain and help strengthen the muscles. Strength can be improved because you can exercise more comfortably than if you were not wearing the brace. Severe arthritis pain precludes almost any exercise, so the brace is an important treatment option.

Additionally, you can protect yourself from acquiring either condition by using ergonomically correct office equipment, such as a mouse mat with built-in wrist support. If you type on a computer, you should have the keyboard at the correct height and should also sit straight up instead of slouching.

At night

Wearing a wrist brace while sleeping

Wearing a brace while sleeping can provide a sort of "cool down" period for the joint. The body rests, and there is no stress on the wrist at all. The shank in a full carpal tunnel wrist support keeps the hand in the right position to reduce stress on the median nerve.

Still, you should take care not to put the brace on too tightly overnight. Reduced blood flow will slow the healing process and might even cause lesions in the skin. When awakening, you should remove the support to let the skin dry and to take a moment or two to exercise the wrist muscles. It's also important to care for the skin of the hand, wrist, and forearm so that it remains healthy. A bit of moisturising lotion in the morning will do wonders. If you begin to get skin irritation or pain, you should consult a physician for solutions.

Wrist support

Athletic use

Sports wrist supports

When it comes to athletes wearing compression gloves, finger protectors and wrist braces during their activities, the design of the support is a little different. They?re usually smaller than those for treating injuries, leaving more of the hand uncovered so that athletic performance is not reduced. It would be a tall order, indeed, for a world-class tennis player to play even a few points without being able to grasp the racket effectively. The same holds true for cricket batsmen or American baseball players. In cases of athletic wrist braces, alignment is paramount. Athletes cannot afford to injure themselves while attempting to prevent injury.

In some cases, athletes wear a device that provides both wrist and thumb support by means of a single strap. These braces don?t hamper their grip. Athletes should take additional care of their joints. In fact, wearing a full wrist guard at night while sleeping might be a good idea.


Where can you get wrist supports?

You can find new and used wrist supports at eBay. Consult with your doctor or other medical professional to understand what type of brace is appropriate for your needs.

Wrist support

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