Do you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome? Do you commonly have weak painful wrists? Then a carpal tunnel brace suits you best.
Anyone experiencing mild wrist sprains or serious wrist injuries such as fractures or severe sprains should seek treatment from a healthcare professional.
In the meantime, you can wear wrist braces to avoid further damage to your ligaments and tissues.
It is important to stabilize the wrist so the injury doesn’t get worse with repetitive movements. There are wrist braces available on the market, designed for just that.
They are ergonomically designed to allow complete dexterity of the hand while keeping the wrist immobilized during repetitive daily movements.
Table of Contents
- Carpal Tunnel Braces Comparison table
- #1. Mueller Fitted Wrist Brace Green Line
- #2. Night Wrist Sleep Support Brace – Fits Both Hands – Cushioned to Help With Carpal Tunnel
- #3. CopperJoint Copper Wrist Support, #1 Compression Sleeve
- #4. DonJoy ComfortFORM Wrist Support Brace
- #5. Bracoo Thumb & Wrist Brace, Reversible Neoprene Splint with Dual Spring Stabilizers for Reliable Support
- #6. Wrist Brace by VIVE – Universal Support for Carpal Tunnel, Tendonitis, Wrist Pain & Sports Injuries
- #7. JunoSports Adjustable Athletic Wrist Brace Support for Carpal Tunnel, Tendonitis, and Weightlifting
- #8. 4 Piece Gel Thumb Brace Wrist Support Braces for Right & Lift Hand Relieve Wrist & Thumb Pain For Arthritis, Rheumatism, Carpal Tunnel, and more
- #9. OrthoSleeve Patented WS6 Compression Wrist Sleeve (Single Sleeve) for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, wrist pain and fatigue, and arthritis
- #10. Wrist Brace Sleeve By Copper Compression Gear – RELIEF For Carpal Tunnel, RSI, Cubital Tunnel, Tendonitis, Arthritis, Wrist Sprains
- Athletes Risks
- What is Carpal Tunnel?
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
Carpal Tunnel Braces Comparison table
#1. Mueller Fitted Wrist Brace Green Line
#2. Night Wrist Sleep Support Brace – Fits Both Hands – Cushioned to Help With Carpal Tunnel
#3. CopperJoint Copper Wrist Support, #1 Compression Sleeve
#4. DonJoy ComfortFORM Wrist Support Brace
If you play golf or tennis, you risk suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome at one time or another. Some wrist braces are made especially for this common ailment among golfers and tennis players, offering mild compression support.
The compression is applied only to the problem ligament, leaving the rest of the wrist and hand free. For sports or job-related injuries, there are braces made so that the hand can move independently from the wrist, which is encased in a rigid brace that acts as a splint.
If worn properly, no more damage can occur to the wrist. The braces will help with the healing process of an injury.
What is Carpal Tunnel?
The carpal tunnel is a channel on the palm side of the wrist. The bones of the wrist are arranged in a semi-circle, and a tough ligament (the carpal ligament) forms a roof over them, creating a passageway called the carpal tunnel.
Running through the carpal tunnel are the tendons that we use to bend the fingers and wrist and the median nerve. This is one of two nerves that allow feeling in the hand. The median nerve also controls some of the muscles that move the thumb.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tendons and nerves running through the carpal tunnel are under too much pressure.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms can be felt in the hand, wrist and even up as high as the shoulder. The severity of symptoms depends on the condition of the person.
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms may be only mild and felt occasionally, but in more serious cases symptoms may become constant.
In extreme cases of carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers’ hand muscles may become permanently weakened and loss of feeling across the hand may occur.
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include the following:
- Tingling or pins and needles in the hands or fingers
- Loss of grip strength
- Burning sensation in the hands or wrists
- Difficulty moving wrist and fingers
- Difficulty performing small finger movement, like writing
- In severe cases, tingling, pins and needles and weakness in the arm and shoulder
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms are often worse for the sufferer at night or first thing in the morning. This is because most people sleep with their wrists bent.
If you think you may be feeling the carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms you should cease the hand activities that are causing it and do some relief exercises and seek out treatment.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome treatment
Treatment may be conservative or surgical. According to the indications of the American Academy of Neurology (ANN, 1993), conservative treatment must be attempted if there is no loss of strength or sensation or if the EMG/ENG tests indicate a severe anomaly.
- A) Conservative treatment.
- – Ultrasound, Ionophoresis, Laser: can improve symptoms but do not act on the cause (repeated and prolonged bending-extension movements of the wrist);
- – non-steroid and steroid anti-inflammatory drugs: have low or limited effect over time;
- – infiltrations: effective on symptoms but proven damage to nerve fibres, with risk of excessive postponement of surgical treatment;
- – wrist splints: effective but not well tolerated; usually used only at night and therefore have no effect on the cause of the problem.
- B) Surgical treatment.
- The operation consists in cutting the ligament through the carpal (roof of carpal tunnel). This can be done using the traditional technique or by endoscopy. The operation must not be left until it is too late as there is risk of permanent damage.
Who is at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome?
The carpal tunnel syndrome is very frequent. Symptoms consistent with carpal tunnel syndrome occur in up 15% of the population. The prevalence of electrophysiologically confirmed sumptomatic carpal tunnel syndrome is about 3% among women and 2% among men.
The incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome is three times higher in women, perhaps because the carpal tunnel itself may be smaller in women than in men, and varies according to the work activities (up to 60 cases for every 100 workers in a particular job): in about 70% of the cases, it is bilateral and is prevalent in the dominant hand.
Carpal tunnel syndrome usually occurs in adults. Carpal tunnel syndrome is three times more common among assemblers than among data-entry personnel.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed?
Early diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid permanent damage to the median nerve. A physical examination of the hands, arms, shoulders, and neck can help determine if the patient’s complaints are related to daily activities or to an underlying disorder
The differential diagnosis of pathologies of the hand and wrist includes entrapments of the nerve, carpal tunnel syndrome, Guyons’syndrome, cervical radiculopathy, tendon disorders, etc. Physicians can use specific tests to try to produce the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Loss of two-point discrimination in the median nerve distribution has low sensitivity and high specificity, tests of the patient’s ability to perceive degrees of vibratory stimulation and direct pressure on the pulp of the finger in the median nerve distribution are technically demanding and have moderate sensitivity and specificity.
In the Tinel test, the physician taps the median nerve at the wrist. A tingling response in one or more fingers can indicate damage to the median nerve. In the Phalen, or wrist-flexion, the patient puts the backs of the hands together and bends the wrists for one minute. Tingling of the fingers can indicate damage to the median nerve.
Phalen’s test rreports a range of values for sensitivity and specificity, from 40 to 80 percent. The sensitivity of tinel’s sign ranges from 25 to 60 percent, specificity from 67 to 87 percent. The history and physical examination have poor predictive value when the likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome is low, they are most useful when there is a reasonable clinical suspicion of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Electrodiagnostic examinations (nerve conduction studies and electromyography) and knowledge of the location and type of symptoms permits the most accurate diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Both symptoms and electrodiagnostic studies must be interpreted carefully.
Electrodiagnostic studies are most useful for confirm the diagnosis in suspected cases and ruling out neuropathy and other nerve entrapments.
In a nerve conduction study, electrodes are placed on the hand and wrist. Ultrasound imaging and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can show the anatomy of the wrist but to date has not been especially useful in diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome.
What is the carpal tunnel?
The carpal tunnel is a tunnel in the wrist formed of the carpal bones on which the ligament across the carpal is stretched, a fibrous band which constitutes the roof of the tunnel, entering the scaphoid and trapezium bones on the one side and the piriformis and uncinate (the carpal bones of the hand) on the other.
Nervous tissue (median nerve), vascular tissue and tendons (hand flexor muscle tendons) pass through this tunnel. The thenar is a projection of the thumb, formed mainly of adductor brevis and opponens pollicis. When the carpal tunnel syndrome reaches its maximum degree of severity, there is atrophy (disappearance) of the thenar.
What are the causes of the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Occupational pathogenesis seems to be the most frequent cause for development of the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. There seems to be an association between repetitive work activities, both in the presence (greater risk) or absence of great force. It has been proved that prolonged and/or repeated bending-extension movements (and bending of the fingers, to a lesser extent) cause increase in pressure inside the carpal tunnel, and repeated stretching of the nerves and tendons inside the carpal tunnel can lead to inflammation which reduces the size of the tunnel, thus leading to pinching of the median nerve. Systemic diseases can also be associated with the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (for example diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, myxedema, amyloidosis), apart from physiological conditions (such as pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives, menopause), trauma (repeated fractures of the wrist with articular deformities), arthritis and deforming arthrosis.
Which are the riskiest jobs that lead to the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel syndrome shows significant association with certain work activities. In fact, those in the manufacturing, electronics, textile, food, footwear, leather industry, as well as those involved in packaging goods, cooks, and public sector workers are at risk.
Why are the symptoms more pronounced at night and on waking up?
The opinions in this regard are not univocal. There are a large number of causes: at night, the wrist may remain overflexed or hypertensive for a long time, thus leading to increased pressure inside the carpal tunnel, resulting in pinching of the median nerve; the prone position will distribute body fluids with increased flow to the upper limbs and thus also inside the carpal tunnel resulting in increased pressure; just resting the hand will not allow drainage of liquids from inside the carpal tunnel.
What is the frequency of the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Studies aimed at this aspect do not give univocal results; this is understandable in view of the variables involved (different selection criteria, the job done, diagnosis criteria, etc.).
A study conducted from 1983 to 1985 in Holland shows a rate of 3.4% in women and 0.6% in men; but it is estimated that CTS is present to a further 5.8% in undiagnosed women (De Krom et al. J Clin Epidemiol 1992; 45:373-6). The average annual occurrence calculated during the period 1961-1980 in Minnesota is 149 every 100,000 inhabitants/year for women and 52 for men, rough rate 99/100,000/year (Stevens et al. Neurology 1988; 38:134-8). A study carried out in the Sienese area from 1991 to 1997 (Mondelli M. et al. Toscana Medica July/August 1999) gives a rough rate of incidence of 326.2/100,000/year (135.1 for males and 506.9 for women), the standard incidence being 276.6/100,000/year. The average F: M incidence ratio is 3.8:1.
The decade most represented for both sexes is that between 50 and 59 years.
Is diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome easy?
When the patient complains of tingling (paresthesias) and/or pain, often radiating to the forearm, mainly at night or early in the morning, the condition is most probably due to CTS.
However, it is necessary to carry out an objective neurological test and EMG/ENG (electromyography/electroneurography) tests.
The objective neurological test examines the strength, the osteotendonitic reflexes, and sensitivity, and can involve clinical tests.
The most common tests are the Tinel and Phalen tests. In the first case, the carpal tunnel is tapped with a reflex hammer and the patient must feel a shock in the median nerve distribution area; the second test consists in bending or stretching the hand over the forearm for one minute; the patient must feel a tingling sensation or the tingling sensation must worsen.
However the tests can often give negative false or positive false results; it is therefore not advisable to rely too much on the results obtained.
Therefore an EMG/ENG test is recommended.
The ENG (electroneurographic) test involves the use of surface electrodes for sending small electric shocks and makes it possible to test the sensation speed (the first factor that is affected in the CTS) the motorial speed, the latency and amplitude of sensory and motor responses of the nerve elicitated by the electric shock. However, to estimate the severity of the syndrome and exclude nervous problems at different levels (for example, cervical compression), the tests must be completed with the EMG test, using tiny needles to record the muscular activity.
Cervical radiculopathy, brachial plexus problems, and polyneuropathy in general often give rise to symptoms that simulate the CTS, and only a correct complete test will help detect the difference.
The latter also allows classification of the extent of damage (as shown on the main page).
In some patients, even the first stage of the problem, with negative EMG/ENG result can still be very troublesome.
Diagnosis of CTS is therefore usually not very difficult if the diagnostic procedure is complete.
Which is the evolution of the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Usually, in the absence of treatment or change in the work activity, CTS tends to worsen over the years.
In some patients, however, it may remain unchanged over time.
Clinical experience shows that the symptoms worsen in cold weather and lessen in warm weather although the severity of the disease does not change.
What anesthesia is used for the operation and what is the duration of the convalescence?
Anaesthesia may be local or in the brachial plexus (in the armpit). Convalescence depends on the operation (traditional or by endoscopy) and varies from two to four weeks.
What is a tendon?
A structure that anchors a muscle to the skeleton and transmits the muscular contraction to the bone.
What is tendonitis and tenosynovitis?
Tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon while tenosynovitis is the inflammation of its covering sheath; both conditions normally occur simultaneously.
What are the causes of tendonitis and tenosynovitis?
The causes are not always clear. Repeated and/or excessive movements are generally considered to be responsible. More rarely, they may be secondary to systemic diseases such as goiter, kidney failure, etc.
What are the symptoms of tendonitis and tenosynovitis?
Pain during movement is the main symptom; if the sheath is filled with fluid, there is swelling and it becomes impossible to make any movements.
What are the most common forms of tendonitis and tenosynovitis?
The sites most affected are the articular capsule of the shoulder, the radial and ulnare flexor of the carpal, the flexor muscle in the finger, the adductor longus tendon and extensor pollicis brevis, the Achilles tendon.
Which work activities are most risky for hand-wrist tendonitis?
Epidemiological studies have shown high risk in workers in the manufacturing industry, those in the meat sector, those who have been continuing with the activity for a long time, the force used, and repetitive movements.
The dimensions of the groove through which the dorsal tendons of the hand and wrist run are reduced and the pressure resulting from repetitive work activity can lead to inflammation of the tendon.
What is the treatment for tendonitis and tenosynovitis?
Solving the problem will require a long time (months), and different treatments can be used: rest, staying still (splints, corsets) infiltrations, physiotherapy, and more rarely surgical exploration.