With an uptick in work-from-home, computer-based jobs, it's no surprise that more and more people are experiencing pain of all kinds, especially when in comes to the wrist and hands. A major culprit for wrist and hand pain is carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when the median nerve is compressed. When this happens, you'll like experience numbness, a burning sensation, or tingly feeling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, or ring finer.
- James Moss Jr., MD, hand and wrist surgeon at Mississippi Sports Medicine
The best carpal tunnel braces, at a glance
- Best overall: Hely Weber, 450-LT Orthosis Wrist Titan, $43
- Best budget: Mueller, Green Fitted Wrist Brace, $14
- Best for sleep: Armstrong Amerika, Carpal Tunnel Wrist Brace, $18
- Most breathable: Ossur, Formfit Wrist Brace, $20
- Best for activity: Donjoy, Comfortform Wrist Support Brace, $19
- Most adjustable: Breg, Apollo Universal Wrist Brace, $20
What causes carpal tunnel?
The condition "is exacerbated by flexing and extending the wrist, as well as by forceful grasping and use of the hand," says James Moss Jr, MD, hand and wrist surgeon at Mississippi Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center. To counter these motions, you can do carpal tunnel exercises recommended by physical therapists. But you should also consider wearing a carpal tunnel brace. Purchasing one may be the best first step to alleviating wrist strain.
How do carpal tunnel braces work?
How do they work? Carpal tunnel braces stabilize the risk, reducing the amount of flexion and extension of the wrist. "This keeps the pressure within the tunnel at the lowest levels, thus reducing the compression of the median nerve while sleeping at night," says Dr. Moss Jr. The braces are effective at placing the wrist in a neutral position, "which has been shown to have the least amount of pressure on the nerve within the carpal tunnel," he adds.
Before saying yes to the brace (and we highly recommend seeing your health care provider for an opinion, especially if you're in a great deal of discomfort), Dr. Moss wants you to consider some things first. When buying a brace, look for comfortable materials like neoprene and felt. "If the brace is comfortable, then it is easier to wear at night," explains Dr. Moss. You'll also want to avoid ones that are too short as those braces do not provide ample support.
The best carpal tunnel braces to stabilize your wrist
We tapped a hand and wrist surgeon for their input on the best carpal tunnel braces. Below, you'll find their recommendations and their insider tips for choosing the best one.
The Orthosis Wrist Titan comes highly recommended by Dr. Moss Jr. for its breathable material, adjustable features, and universal sizing, all of which makes this brace the best overall choice. The lacing system allows you to modify the brace with one just hand and the brace has a contoured palm side to lock your wrist into place (no more wiggling). Made of felt, the brace is also moisture-wicking, keeping palms and skin sweat-free.
Sizes available: N/A
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, it’s hard to go wrong with Mueller’s Green Fitted Wrist Brace. Featuring a rigid palm stay and two adjustable straps, the brace secures the wrist and hand in place and relieves carpal tunnel-associated pain. Made of 67 percent recycled PET bottles repurposed as fabric, the brace is comfortable to wear all day long, and it comes with a large thumbhole, offering full range of motion for typing or other activities. For all of its specs, it’s worth the $14 price tag.
Sizes available: S-XL
Best for Sleep
Breathable, cushioned, and adjustable, Armstrong Amerika’s Carpal Tunnel Wrist Brace is ideal for use when you hit snooze. The brace immobilizes your wrist to prevent further strain and has a removable splint to keep things cushy as you sleep. It’s crafted with a neoprene and polyurethane leather blend, keeping moisture and sweat away (beneficial for hot sleepers). All in all, the brace is comfortable yet supportive.
Sizes available: N/A
Ossur’s Formfit Wrist Brace is lightweight and breathable, making it an ideal companion for sweaty palms and wrists. It works to limit wrist twisting and flexing, offering relief from carpal tunnel, tendonitis, and rheumatoid arthritis. For a more snug fit, pull on the three adjustable straps to fasten your wrist securely.
Sizes available: XS-XL
Best for Activity
Whether you’re hitting the pavement for your next run or doing an overhead stretch, Donjoy’s Comfortform brace has got you covered. Using the three adjustable straps, you can lock your hand in place to prevent excess movement and provide wrist support during physical activity. Also nice: It comes with a built-in aluminum palmer to limit wrist flexion and is lightweight, clocking in at only 0.2 pounds. Dr. Moss likes this brace because it has an easy on and off mechanism. Moving and grooving has never gotten easier!
Sizes available: XS-XL
Breg’s Apollo Wrist Brace comes with an adjustable dual closure and shaped palmer that contours to the unique shape of your hand and wrist and is constructed out of “soft foam material for excellent comfort,” says Dr. Moss. Not only is the brace malleable, it features a sturdy dorsal to prevent your wrist from whipping back and forth and is made of foam to cushion any blows. It’s comfortable, easy to use, and supportive. What’s left to say?
Sizes available: Universal/customizable
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