If you’ve been feeling a slight tightness and tingling in your hands and feet lately, it might be time to get a carpal tunnel brace. Carpal tunnel is a condition where the median nerve (one of the five major nerves in the body) becomes compressed, leading to lost movement, numbness, tingling, and even pain. While there is no cure for carpal tunnel, wearing a carpal tunnel brace can help alleviate some symptoms. This article will outline what you need to know about carpal tunnel braces and how they can help.
What is a Carpal Tunnel Brace?
A carpal tunnel brace is a type of device worn on the hands to support them while they are typing or using other tasks that may cause strain on the wrists and carpal tunnel. The brace typically consists of two parts: an adjustable cuff with a band around the palm and a pad that sits against the wrist.
It is usually adjusted to gently hug the hand bones and prevent excessive pressure from being placed on the median nerve when typing. Carpal tunnel braces can take many different shapes and sizes, but all aim to do three things: maintain correct posture, distribute pressure evenly across the carpal tunnel, and provide cushioning.
Types of Carpal Tunnel Braces
Carpal tunnel braces come in a variety of styles and fits. Find the suitable mount for you by considering your occupation, size, and general health.
There are two types of carpal tunnel braces: open-handed and closed-handed. Open-handed braces have a metal frame that wraps around the hand, while closed-handed braces have a plastic or metal band that goes around the palm. The type of brace you choose depends on your occupation and overall health.
Open-Handed Braces: If you perform repetitive motions with your hands, an open-handed brace may be best for you. These braces have a metal frame that wraps around your hand. They’re typically worn during the day while you work or do everyday activities. After wearing an open-handed brace for several weeks, you may feel less pain in your hand.
Closed-Handed Braces: A closed-handed brace may be best for you if you don’t perform repetitive motions with your hands. Closed-handed braces typically have a metal band around your hand’s palm. They’re worn at night while sleeping so that pressure on the tendons in your hand isn’t as intense during sleep. After wearing a closed-handed brace for several weeks, you may feel less pain in your hand throughout the day.
How does it Work?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a compression of the median nerve or other nerves in hand caused by a build-up of pressure and debris in the carpal tunnel. The syndrome can result in numbness, tingling, pain, and difficulty using the arrow. Surgery may be necessary to remove the pressure and debris. A carpal tunnel brace is a type of injury prevention device that helps reduce stress on the nerve.
A carpal tunnel brace is a sleeve that fits over your hand and extends up your arm to your shoulder. It is made from durable fabric that stretches as you move your hand. The brace has flexible straps that tie around your upper arm and pass through holes in the sleeve to connect to slip-knot loops on either side at the back of your neck. The straps automatically adjust when you move your hands to keep pressure off the nerve.
The brace is worn for 20 minutes daily, five days weekly for six weeks. You then wear it for 10 minutes daily, five days per week for six weeks. After wearing it for six months, you gradually reduce the time until it’s worn for only five minutes per day, three days per week. If necessary, you can continue wearing it indefinitely if it continues to help protect your nerve from damage.
How do I Choose the Right Carpal Tunnel Brace for Me?
The best way to choose a carpal tunnel brace is to consult a doctor or occupational therapist. The following are some factors to consider when selecting a carpal tunnel brace:
1. Age: One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a carpal tunnel brace is age. Some mounts are designed for younger people, and others are designed for older people. If you are over 50, consider using a custom-made brace instead of a commercially available one.
2. Occupational activities: Your occupation is another factor to consider when selecting a carpal tunnel brace. Perform repetitive tasks that stress your hands. You may be better off using a mount that promotes compression relief in the fingers rather than focusing on relieving pain and promoting mobility.
3. Severity of symptoms: The severity of your symptoms is also critical when selecting a carpal tunnel brace. If you only have mild symptoms, you may not need any special equipment or treatment than what is prescribed by your doctor or therapist. However, if you have severe symptoms, such as pain and swelling in your hand, you will likely require more specialized care and equipment than what is available today.
What should I do if I Experience Pain with My Brace?
If you’re experiencing pain with your brace, there are a few things you can do to try and alleviate the situation:
- Ensure that the mount is fitted correctly and snug but not too tight. If the pain is primarily in one area of your wrist, consider switching to a different brace.
- If you experience pain using the device, take breaks every few hours and stretch your wrist.
- Talk to your doctor about other potential remedies or therapies that might help relieve the pain.
If you have carpal tunnel, you likely know how debilitating it can be. A 2009 study found that people with carpal tunnel are three times more likely to suffer a significant disability than those without the condition. If you’re like most people and haven’t been able to find relief from traditional treatments such as physio or surgery, consider trying a carpal tunnel brace. Here are some key factors to consider before making the switch:
What is the treatment like? A carpal tunnel brace typically has a band around your wrist that tightens when tightened, providing firm support for the hand and preventing further damage to the tendons and muscles in your arm. Depending on your comfort level, you can wear the brace all day or only at night.
How effective is it? Research shows that 83% of patients who use a carpal tunnel brace successfully achieve long-term pain relief thanks to its support mechanism. In addition, 94% of those who use a Disability Determination Services (DDS) funded carpal tunnel brace report an improvement in their ability to work or do everyday activities rather than returning to their original activity level after discontinuing therapy.