This article on carpal tunnel wrist braces, could be titled...
"The good, the bad and the ugly". Because really, carpal tunnel braces can be a good thing or a bad thing and some of them can be awful ugly! BUT it really just Depends on how they are used.
The most common Bad thing I see, is that patients wear them way too tight and for too long, at any one time.
The carpal tunnel wrist braces and/or splints I recommend are of the highest quality and the most reasonably priced I have found....and they are very comfortable. (You can spend more, but I don't think it's worth it)
Follow the guidelines on how to measure and order the size you need. The thing I see, is not getting the wrong size as much as people just wearing them too tight! They think a little tight is good, tighter should be better! RIGHT?!....WRONG!
The MEDIAN NERVE gets squeezed, or pinched...so if you wrap a wrist brace too tight, it's like a Tourniquet effect around your wrist and it can actually make your symptoms worse!
I tell my patients you want it snug but not too tight. You don't want the skin to blanch around the wrist brace edges. You don't want your hand and fingers to throb or swell. The tip of your little finger should be able to fit under the wrist brace fairly easy. (However, you don't want it so loose that you can get a larger finger or two easily under the brace)
Keep in mind, this is NOT A CAST, but it should provide support. You don't want to totally immobilize your wrist with this kind of wrsit brace, like you would if your wrist was fractured.
Now as far as another "Bad thing" I see, is patients wearing their carpal wrist braces too long...24/7. Again, this isn't a cast. So if you're not doing anything repetitive with your wrist (i.e. bending, twisting etc...) then take your wrist brace off! If you're watching T.V., reading a book...you can take it off....let your wrist breath a little!
Okay, now for the Good things about carpal tunnel wrist braces!
They can give the tendons and nerves in your wrist some support and protection and remind you not to repetitively bend your wrist so much, so maybe your body (wrist) can heal itself.
Some feel that wrist supports can be used as a preventitive measure to reduce your chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. This may be true in some cases but not in others. If you are doing something that requires a lot of forceful repetitive gripping and your wrist remains in a neutral position, then a wrist brace may not prevent CTS. But, if you are having to bend or put your wrist under a lot of stress, then perhaps a wrist brace might help take some of the pressure off of your wrist.
Another Good thing about carpal tunnel wrist braces, is that they can be used as Nocturnal or night splints. Even better, there are Carpal tunnel Night Splints made especially for this purpose. They are most effective when worn nightly, and when used on a regular basis, I have found it can reduce or eliminate a lot of night time carpal tunnel symptoms. You may notice it most in the mornings when you wake up...in that you don't have that numbness and tingling, or falling asleep feeling in your hands!
For more information See CARPAL TUNNEL SPLINTS
I tell patients to give CARPAL TUNNEL WRIST BRACES and other NON-SURGICAL TREATMENTS a few weeks before you decide if it's going to work for you or not, especially if you have been having carpal tunnel symptoms for several months.
The Ugly....well some carpal tunnel braces I have seen and worn are just plain ugly and are too big and bulky to be practical for everyday use, or extended use. Some people end up looking like Arnold in the Terminator!
Carpal tunnel wrist braces can be a big help in treating your carpal tunnel symptoms, or it may prevent further wrist injury in some cases. I hope this article gives you some insights into choosing quality wrist braces and why it's important to make sure you don't wear it too tight or too long.