What is wrist splint?

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How are wrist splints used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome?

A wrist splint is a brace that looks like a fingerless glove. It stabilizes your wrist in a straight and sometimes slightly bent-back position. Wearing a wrist splint minimizes pressure on the median nerve and allows you a period of "relative rest" from movements that make carpal tunnel syndrome worse.

Think about these guidelines when you use a wrist splint:

  • When worn to stabilize the wrist during sleep, a wrist splint can reduce pain and pressure on the median nerve.
  • A wrist splint isn't a substitute for good workplace design and proper body mechanics. Some experts advise against wearing a wrist splint while working, because doing so can strain the hand's tendons.
  • A wrist splint is a helpful short-term treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. But long-term use can cause your muscles to weaken. During and after a period of splint use, exercise and slowly increase your hand and wrist movements. This will help prevent your wrist muscles from weakening.

Splints are available in drugstores without a prescription. They are also available by prescription from orthopedic and medical supply stores. Physical and occupational therapists can make custom-fit splints from lightweight materials that may be more comfortable to wear.

Wrist splint

A wrist splint is a brace that looks like a fingerless glove. It stabilizes the wrist in a straight and sometimes slightly bent-back position. A wrist splint can be worn to support the wrist while holding it firm and still (immobilizing it).

A good wrist splint should:

  • Be comfortable, washable, durable, and easy to remove.
  • Keep the wrist in a neutral position. The wrist is generally in a neutral position when the person is holding a glass of water, with the thumb in line with the forearm.
  • Restrict wrist movements while allowing fine hand movements, such as writing or typing.

Splints are available without a prescription from a drugstore or with a prescription from an orthopedic or medical supply house. Physical and occupational therapists can custom-fit splints made from lightweight materials. Health professionals usually do not recommend long-term use of splints (more than 72 hours) because the muscles in the hand or wrist can become weak.

Wrist splint

Wrist splint

A wrist splint can be worn to support the wrist while holding it firm and still (immobilize it).

A good wrist splint should:

  • Be comfortable, washable, durable, and easy to remove.
  • Keep the wrist in a neutral position. The wrist is generally in a neutral position when you are holding a glass of water, with the thumb in line with the forearm.
  • Restrict wrist movements while allowing fine hand movements.

Splints are available without a prescription from a drugstore, or with a prescription from an orthopedic or medical supply house. Physical and occupational therapists can custom-fit splints made from lightweight materials. This often reduces the clumsiness of wearing a splint.

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