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There are a number of different wrist support options on the market, offering either compression, stability or both. For thumb specific injuries there are also thumb support (spica) options which immobilise just the thumb so that your wrist and fingers are not impaired.
Diagnosis is essential in being able to determine the right product for you, however the severity of an injury can also determine this and what your needs are i.e. a mild sprain may simply require a compressive wrist support whereas a bad sprain may require a more rigid design to offer stability.
Explore our quality range of NHS recommended wrist brace and wrist and support range. If you’re struggling to find the right one then either drop us a message on webchat or give us a call and a member of our team will help in any way they can.
Selecting the right level of support for your wrist is important in being able to effectively manage your injury and ensure you’re fully protected. Here’s a brief look at the differences.
Low: A low level of support is normally used following a mild sprain or a thumb injury where the focus is in the application of compression, whilst the thumb can be immobilised through the use of a spica.
Moderate: A moderate level of support is recommended where an additional level of support is required following your wrist injury, offering compression and a degree of stability. Some braces are also designed to manage specific conditions such as Carpal Tunnel.
High: Where there is instability in the wrist joint then a rigid wrist support offers a high level of support, offering compression as well as restricting your range of motion to minimise the risk of further damage being caused during recovery.
No matter which website you visit they will talk about diagnosis and the reason is because if you know what you’re trying to manage you can select the best product possible. If your boiler is broke at home the gas engineer will need to identify the root cause of the problem before they are able to fix it / replace a part.
On the left hand side of your screen you can filter by a number of options, including the injury you wish to manage as this will display the braces which are relevant for you. Whilst some wrist support products are somewhat generic in offering compression and immobilisation there are some which relate to a specific condition or injury such as RSI, carpal tunnel or following a broken wrist.
With terms like support, brace, splint and band it can be difficult to know what the difference between them all is and how they can benefit you. Here is a quick breakdown of what the different terms mean and what to look out for:
Support / Brace: Essentially the two terms are the same and in some cases products are even called ‘wrist support brace’ so don’t get hung up on which suffix you use when searching. They are designed to offer compression to the wrist which can help manage inflammation and with it reduce pain. They still offer a degree of movement to the joint as well which is fine providing this is not painful, in which case you might want to opt for a splint for a greater level of immobilisation.
Splint: As the name suggests the wrist splint is a rigid device which prevents or minimises movement of the wrist. It can be used instead of a plaster cast which is often a preferred option but is designed in the same way to protect against impact damage i.e. knocking your arm against a doorframe. It’s easier to apply and also means it can be taken off to wash the skin underneath. There are two variants in either full wrist immobilisation or a wrist and thumb splint which also keeps the thumb immobilised too.
Band: As the name suggests a wrist support band is a piece material which simply wraps around the wrist joint. One thing to consider here is that this does not prohibit movement of the joint and simply offers a degree of compression to a small area. If compression over a greater area or immobilisation is required then an alternative product should be sourced.
Spica: Typically relates to a thumb spica where simply the thumb is immobilised to help manage conditions such as skiers thumb where the wrist joint itself is free of injury. These devices can be manufactured from either elastic, neoprene or even plastic (if a rigid solution).
In general the 4 materials used are elastic, neoprene, 3D knit and plastic (in the form of an exoskeleton):
Elastic: Considered an entry level material in offering compression but not immobilisation. It is breathable and can be worn when active.
Neoprene: Slightly thicker than elastic and therefore can apply a greater amount of compression whilst maintaining its shape for longer. This is one of the most common choices of materials on the market and can feature in both compression and stability variants.
3D Knit: Becoming more popular in helping to wick away sweat whilst still offering a sufficient amount of compression. What’s important to note with 3D knit is that they will maintain their shape for longer compared to other materials. It is also thinner than neoprene.
Plastic: Typically used in the management of conditions such as carpal tunnel where the support itself acts as an exoskeleton to keep the wrist in a specific position.
In many professions and hobbies the hand is at risk of injury. This could be through overuse injuries, doing repetitive tasks at work. Or during free time, using the hands to break a fall during a ski trip. As you use your hands so often any injury is painful and debilitating, with the constant risk of aggravating the damage. A wrist support can be prescribed following injury to the area in an attempt to stabilise the wrist and allow it to heal. Similar supports can also help in the recovery from injuries to the thumb and conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
For further information on finding the source of the problem visit our wrist injuries section.
If you’re still unsure then contact us and we can help you out.