Contoured rigid top and bottom stays effectively stabilize the wrist, while still allowing fingers to move freely. Extra cushioning prevents digging and irritation. Lightweight design and breathable materials remain comfortable even with extended use. Fits petite wrists. Antimicrobial treatment fights bacterial growth.
Some feel that the thumb support is a bit too restrictive.
Dual rigid stays provide good support, reducing mobility for joint/tendon protection and pain relief. Made from antimicrobial fabric to combat odor-causing bacteria. Breathable materials minimize sweating. Padded for comfort. Affordable and easy to use.
Sizes tend to run small and the thumb opening could be a little larger/more flexible.
Versatile design can be worn on either the left or right wrist simply by removing and reinserting the rigid palmar splint. Soft and comfortable enough for all-day use. Easily adjustable Velcro straps offer customizable compression. Moisture and odor resistant.
No upper stay. Velcro fasteners lose grip after a while.
Contoured palmar splint fits well and does a good job of immobilizing the wrist, but still allows wearers to go about daily tasks. Lightweight and slim enough to wear under sleeves. Ample padding for comfort. Suitable for rehabilitative use or ongoing support of chronic conditions.
Straps are very long and may need to be trimmed.
A supportive metal splint encased in soft cushioned beads provides maximum stability and supreme comfort that’s perfect for nighttime use. Extended length further limits movement while sleeping. Reversible to fit either hand. Breathable materials prevent sweating and irritation.
May be too restrictive for daytime use. Somewhat expensive.
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The proper wrist brace can help speed up your recovery from a wrist ailment. In some cases, it can even prevent injury.
To get the full benefit from a wrist brace, you need to choose the right one for the job. At BestReviews, we put together this detailed guide to help you sort through the options and find the right brace for your needs.
Read on to learn all you need to know about wrist braces. When you’re ready to buy, head to the top of this page where you can find more information about our favorites.
Wrist braces can be used to help with a variety of injuries and ailments. Here are some of the main uses for wrist braces.
Repetitive strain injury
Wrist braces can help treat the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome and other types of repetitive strain injury (RSI).
Some sports, such as tennis and lacrosse, put a lot of strain on players' wrists. Wearing a wrist brace while playing can help prevent injury, especially if you've suffered from wrist ailments in the past.
Sprains and strains
If you've sprained or seriously strained your wrist, you may find that you suffer from lingering pain for some time after the initial injury. Wearing a wrist brace can help relieve the pain and prevent further damage to the ligaments.
Fractures or postoperative use
If you've had a wrist fracture or an operation on your wrist, you may be instructed to wear a wrist brace after your cast has been taken off or as an alternative to a cast. These types of braces are often prescribed by a doctor, but it may be cheaper to buy one yourself – as long as you choose the right type to give you proper support.
You'll find a wide range of wrist braces on the market. The following are some of the most common.
Cock-up wrist braces
Designed to completely immobilize the wrist, cock-up wrist braces are suitable for fairly serious carpal tunnel problems, post-cast-removal use, tendonitis, and ligament injuries, to name but a few. Because the wearer cannot use the wrist at all, these braces can help speed recovery and prevent further injury. However, since it’s quite difficult to complete many ordinary tasks when wearing a cock-up wrist brace, use should be reserved for severe ailments.
Sports wrist braces
Sports wrist braces are worn while playing sports that put a lot of pressure on the wrist. These braces provide support while still maintaining decent flexibility and range of motion. Not all athletes choose to wear wrist braces, but they can be useful if you're recovering from an injury or have weak wrists.
RSI wrist braces
As the name suggests, these wrist braces are designed to help people suffering with RSIs. They hold the wrist in a neutral position, which helps relieve pain and prevent further strain on the wrist. RSI wrist braces can even be used as a preventative measure by people who use a computer all day or do other jobs that require repetitive movements, such as stacking shelves or assembly line work.
Overnight wrist braces
Overnight wrist braces are worn during sleep. The support is more rigid than you might want during the day since you don't need to use your wrist at this time. However, these braces are still designed with comfort in mind, as an uncomfortable wrist brace could prevent you from sleeping.
Wrist orthoses are heavy-duty wrist braces that are used as an alternative to a plaster cast for people with wrist fractures or for after wrist surgery. These braces will generally be given to you after hospital treatment. You definitely shouldn't try to treat a wrist fracture yourself with a wrist orthosis.
Many wrist braces are described by the manufacturer as “one size fits all.” This may work for the majority of people, but if you have especially small or large hands/wrists, it may not work for you. In this case, we recommend shopping around for a wrist brace that comes in a specific size. You may need to take some measurements to find the correct size for you.
Most wrist braces are made from synthetic materials with a slight stretch to them, such as nylon or neoprene. The material should be breathable so you don't get too hot while wearing it. Some manufacturers use materials with added antimicrobial protection to help stop the growth of bacteria. This is a nice feature, since you may find yourself wearing the wrist brace for long periods of time.
The more padding a wrist brace has, the more comfortable and supportive it will be. Greater padding also means less flexibility, however, so you'll need to find a happy medium between the two. Another fact to consider is that a highly padded brace can make your wrist feel warm. As such, it may be best to avoid wearing a heavily padded wrist brace in the summer months.
Compression can benefit many wrist injuries and ailments, including sprains and RSIs. A degree of compression helps to relieve swelling and inflammation, aiding in pain relief and perhaps even speeding up recovery. All wrist braces provide a degree of compression, but some offer more than others. As you’re shopping, remember that a wrist brace that provides a large amount of compression may not be comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
You can find basic wrist braces that cost from $5 to $10. These products might not provide the most support or have the widest range of features, however. On the other end of the spectrum are specialist wrist braces that may cost $100 or more.
We believe the average person would probably do best somewhere between these two extremes. Depending on the kind of support you need, it’s not unreasonable to pay between $25 and $50 for a quality wrist brace.
Choose a wrist brace made of breathable material. Nobody wants to feel sweaty and itchy inside their wrist brace.
Decide whether or not you need a splint. Some wrist braces have a built-in splint. Some don’t have a splint at all, and some feature removable splints.
Think about durability. How long do you need your wrist brace to last? If you have a chronic wrist issue, durability is a big concern. If you have an acute problem that should clear up within a few days, weeks, or months, you probably don’t need a wrist brace that’s built to last for years.
Q. How do I know if I’m wearing my wrist brace on correctly?
A. Different wrist braces are fitted in different ways; check the instructions to find out how to put yours on properly. When fitted correctly, your wrist brace should be snug but not so tight that it restricts blood flow.
Q. Can I wash my wrist brace?
A. Many wrist braces are machine washable; others must be washed by hand. Check the instruction sheet or inside label to find washing instructions for your wrist brace. If you need all-day support for more than a few days, it's wise to buy two wrist braces so you've got a spare to wear while the other is in the wash.
Q. What can I do to speed up my recovery?
A. Most types of wrist injuries and ailments can be improved with RICE. We're not talking about the edible grain, but rather rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Of course this method isn’t foolproof, and sometimes there is no substitute for advice and treatment from your doctor. In many cases, however, the RICE method can help you heal.