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    Wrist Brace for Carpal Tunnel: Does It Help?

    Wrist Brace for Carpal Tunnel: Does It Help?

    Learn about carpal tunnel syndrome and the effectiveness of wrist braces as a treatment option. Discover the benefits, types, and proper usage of wrist braces for carpal tunnel.

    March 1, 2024   |    3 Mins Read


    We put a lot of loads on our wrists and arms, particularly in this digital age where we’re constantly on our phones, tablets, or typing away at a keyboard. But do you know that one of the most common hand and wrist issues are carpal tunnel syndrome?

    Carpal tunnel syndrome affects up to 3 percent of adults in the United States each year, and carpal tunnel release surgery is the most commonly performed nerve surgery—with over 400,000 surgeries being done each year.

    This blog will take a look at the benefits of wrist brace for carpal tunnel and why it’s important to wear and have one.

    What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Its Symptoms?

    burning pain in the lower back that radiations down to the legs or buttocks can be caused by sciatica

    The medical term for the pins-and-needles sensation or numbness in the wrist and fingers is called carpal tunnel syndrome. It is caused by inflammation or compression of the median nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. Activities like typing, sewing, or playing an instrument that require repetitive motions of the wrist can lead to this condition. Other risk factors include obesity, pregnancy, and underlying health conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

    These contributing factors can lead to pain, weakness, and tingling in the hand and fingers. Numbing and tingling symptoms in the hands are intermittent rather than constant symptoms. The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can also extend beyond just your hands and wrists. Some people may experience numbness or tingling in their arms, elbows, and even shoulders.

    The median nerve is responsible for the sensation and movement of your thumb and all the fingers, if it gets tight or irritated you may have symptoms like:

    • Weakness when gripping objects
    • Pain or numbness in hands
    • "Pins and needles" feeling in the fingers
    • Swollen feeling in the fingers
    • Burning or tingling sensation in the fingers, especially the thumb, index, and middle fingers
    • Numbness or pain that is worse at night, interrupting sleep

    What Are Wrist Splints?

    A wrist splint or a wrist brace is an orthopedic device designed to support, restraint, or immobilize the wrist and hand. One thing about splints is that they're not only for immobilization purposes, they're also designed to mobilize, position and protect a specific body part. In the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist splint works by altering the mechanics of wrist movement wrist splints and used at night to help keep your wrist in a neutral position to reduce inflammation on the median nerve.

    Wrist splints and braces have Velcro straps that can be adjusted to your comfort level and size. They're made from breathable materials, making it easy to wear throughout the night without getting too hot or uncomfortable.

    Do Wrist Splints Work for Carpal Tunnel?

    The short answer is yes. Wrist splints and braces provide great relief for those suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.

    The benefits of wearing splints for carpal tunnel cannot be understated. In the short-term, they provide immediate relief from pain and discomfort. Pain and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are usually worse at night, due to fluid accumulation in the wrist. Flare-ups occur during the daytime due to repetitive activities and prolonged use of the hands for activities such as typing, playing video games and writing. Wearing a splint helps to keep the wrist in a neutral position, preventing it from bending excessively and putting pressure on the median nerve. This also allows the inflammation to go down and reduces the numbness or tingling sensation.

    In the long run, the ultimate benefit is to avoid further severity and progression of the condition, which may lead to surgical treatment.

    Clinical studies have shown that wearing a wrist splint can be an effective treatment for CTS, and can also help prevent the condition from occurring in people who perform repetitive tasks. It's a conservative, non-invasive treatment recommended for mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. In fact, approximately 95% of splints used in orthopedic clinics are wrist splints, and they are used for a variety of conditions.

    Here are some of the benefits of using a wrist splint for carpal tunnel:

    • Reduces Pain: Wearing a wrist splint at night keeps your hand in a neutral position, which helps to alleviate pressure on the median nerve and reduces pain.
    • Improves Sleep: Many people with carpal tunnel syndrome experience pain and discomfort at night, which can disrupt their sleep. Wearing a wrist splint can help to reduce pain and allow for a more restful night's sleep.
    • Prevents Further Damage: By keeping the wrist in a neutral position, the wrist splint prevents further damage to the median nerve and allows it to heal. This can help to avoid the need for surgery in some cases.
    • Promotes Healing: Wearing a wrist splint can promote healing by reducing inflammation and allowing the median nerve to rest and recover.
    • Cost-effective: Wrist splints are a cost-effective treatment option for carpal tunnel syndrome, especially when compared to other forms of treatment like corticosteroid injections or surgery.
    • Non-invasive: Unlike surgery, wearing a wrist splint is a non-invasive treatment option for carpal tunnel syndrome and does not require any recovery time or rehabilitation.

    When to Use a Wrist Brace for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    The good news is, majority of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome cases are mild and easily treated. Using a wrist brace for carpal tunnel can help alleviate pain and improve wrist function. However, certain circumstances are better suited for more intensive treatments, such as surgery. Read on to learn more.

    If Symptoms Are Mild or Moderate

    Usually, the thumb and index or middle finger are affected first, which may shoot up to the wrist or forearm, particularly when you're holding something. According to one of the studies in NCIB, moderate is when the patients have no muscle weakness or atrophy, median sensory and motor responses are present, and only mild abnormality on nerve conductor testing.

    If you're in these categories or experiencing wrist pain at night, non-surgical methods like wrist splinting or bracing can be used to manage the carpal tunnel symptoms. A wrist brace for carpal tunnel helps to promote healing, reduce pain and swelling, as well as improve flexibility in your wrist by providing support and stability.

    Tip: Durability, breathability and flexibility of the fabric are the factors you need to consider. We also encourage choosing those with either thumb loops or adjustable straps to ensure you can get the right fit.

    If Symptoms Are Unresponsive to Other Treatment

    Conservative measures like cortisone injections, oral corticosteroid therapy, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often the first line of treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. Most patients respond to these treatments, however, symptoms recur in some patients after stopping the treatment.

    Tip: There can be too many treatments for CTS, like magnet and laser therapies, that have been proven to be non-effective, so make sure to consult your doctor before trying them.

    Carpal Tunnel Brace for Sleeping has similar features as wrist brace and sleeping except that it’s solely designed for nighttime use. It is a great option for patients who are in this category. This comfortable and adjustable brace is designed to prevent wrist flexion, extension and radial deviation during sleep. It also features an incredibly thin metal plate that works like the external ligaments of the wrist, providing maximum support for the hand and wrist, while retaining flexibility.

    If You're Workplace Has Repetitive Tasks

    Repetition is the most common culprit of carpal tunnel syndrome. The incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome is highest among workers like typists, assembly line workers, and other professions that involve repetitive motions.

    Wrist Brace is specifically designed for these types of workplace tasks. The lightweight, adjustable wrist brace helps support the wrist area while permitting a full range of free movement and dexterity. It's most ideal to wear a brace during the day, especially during certain activities that trigger flare-ups.

    Tip: After you take it off, be sure to massage your wrist and exercise it to keep the muscles loose and reduce stiffness.

    When Not To Use a Wrist Brace for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    If You Have Severe Symptoms

    When carpal tunnel syndrome is severe, relief may not be found from any type of braces or splinting. The patient may need to undergo a surgery known as carpal tunnel release, where a surgeon cuts the transverse carpal ligament to relieve pressure on the median nerve. Recovery is usually successful, but the patient will need to receive treatments such as physical therapy to regain strength and flexibility in the wrist.

    Tip: Approximately 90% of people who undergo this surgery experience relief from their carpal tunnel symptoms. You can use a wrist splint or wrist brace for carpal tunnel as a post-operative measure to keep you from over-stressing your wrist.

    If You've Been Diagnosed With Another Condition

    Experiencing cracking sound in your hand or wrist? That may be one of hand arthritis symptoms.

    Some other possible causes of hand and wrist pain or numbness need to be ruled out before diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome. These include tendonitis, arthritis, pinched nerves in the neck, nerve compression in the upper arm, and diabetes. Wrist braces may not be suitable for managing some of these conditions, so you should speak to your doctor before using one.

    Tip: It's also important to understand that wearing a wrist brace for long periods of time can lead to stiffness in the joints, so make sure to take regular breaks.

    If You're Experiencing Weakness or Loss of Grip Strength

    In severe cases, you may also experience a loss of grip strength because the median nerve doesn't provide sensation to the thumb, index and middle fingers. Braces and splinting can't help in these cases, and surgery may be the only option.

    How to Choose the Right Wrist Brace or Splint for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

    Different brands have different features, so it's important to find the right one for you. Here are some things to consider when choosing a wrist brace for carpal tunnel syndrome:

    • Does it provide structural hand and wrist support?
    • Does it have adjustable straps for a comfortable fit?
    • Is it made from breathable materials to prevent discomfort or irritation?
    • Does it have a neutral wrist position, with the option of slight flexion for more support?
    • Is it recommended by healthcare professionals or backed by clinical studies?

    How Many Hours a Day Should You Wear A Wrist Brace For Carpal Tunnel?

    Wrist braces are often recommended for nighttime use, as symptoms can worsen during sleep. You may not like to wear splints or braces during the day because they appear too bulky but at night, they can reduce the pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, allowing people to sleep comfortably and wake up pain-free.

    The optimal length of time to wear a wrist brace is within 6 weeks. This study demonstrated a high success rate of using braces for 6 weeks, with a majority of patients experiencing decreased pain in their wrists and hands. Extending the duration beyond 6 weeks did not result in any additional benefits.

    However, if symptoms persist or worsen after this period of time, it is best to consult a doctor for further treatment options.

    Alternative Treatment Options For Carpal Tunnel

    Aside from wrist braces, there are other treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome that can be used in conjunction with or instead of wearing a brace. These include:

    • Physical therapy exercises to strengthen and stretch the hand and wrist muscles.
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation and pain.
    • Splints for daytime use, which allow for more flexibility and movement while still providing support.
    • Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.
    • Surgery, in severe cases where other treatment options have not been effective.

    Exercises To Help Alleviate Carpal Tunnel Symptoms

    1. Wrist Flexor Stretch: Extend your arm in front of you, palm up. Gently pull the fingers back with the other hand. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
    2. Wrist Extensor Stretch: Extend your arm with the palm facing down. Gently press the back of the hand with your other hand to stretch. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
    3. Median Nerve Glide: Extend your arm forward, palm up. Bend your wrist, pointing your fingers towards the floor, then slowly lift your hand so your fingers point upwards. Repeat the motion smoothly.
    4. Tendon Glides: Start with your fingers extended, then bend them into a hook fist, followed by a straight fist, and finally a full fist. Repeat smoothly.
    5. Finger Stretch: Extend your fingers and gently pull them back with the other hand. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
    6. Grip Strengthening: Using a soft stress ball or similar object, gently squeeze and hold for a few seconds, then release. This can help strengthen the muscles of the hand and wrist.

    Where to Buy

    You can find wrist braces for carpal tunnel syndrome at most drugstores, medical supply stores, and online retailers. Koprez offers different sizes of wrist braces to ensure a comfortable fit, as well as breathable materials for maximum comfort. We collaborated the top in-house orthopedic professionals to design our wrist braces, ensuring their effectiveness and quality.

    The best part? Koprez has a 30-day money back guarantee, so if in any way the wrist brace doesn't work for you, they will provide a full refund and let you keep the product for free. We stand behind our product and want to make sure our customers are satisfied with their purchase.


    Claire Evans worked as the content marketing manager at Koprez. Claire combined a background of writing and editing, marketing, and patient education to best serve consumers, fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and anyone who relies on the Koprez brand for helpful information.

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