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Wrist Splint for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Topic Overview

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.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Herbert von Schroeder, MD, MSc, FRCSC - Hand and Microvascular Surgery
Last Revised October 2, 2012

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