What is a Wrist Brace and How Does it Work?
A wrist brace is a protective garment that is worn around a person’s wrist that is most commonly used during the healing process of a wrist-related injury or condition. It works to relieve wrist pain due to a wrist-related injury by limiting the mobility of the wrist joints through heat and compression that is applied to the wrist bones and ligaments.
Most wrist braces are composed of nylon or neoprene fabrics and are fixed with Velcro straps to ensure that the brace adheres tightly around the thumb. This keeps the wrist brace in proper alignment with the natural shape of the arm, wrist, and hand, thus aiding in the overall level of immobilization required for the injured wrist to heal properly.
Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis and the Impact of Wearing a Wrist Brace
The wrist is composed of a complex of eight different bones located between the hand and forearm. Playing a very important role in the human body, the wrist allows us to make marginal, intermediate, or combined movements of our hands.
Because the wrist contains so many tendons and ligaments, it’s one of the more fragile parts of the body and is highly susceptible to injury if not properly cared for. In fact, the wrist is one of the most common joints on the human body that is affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Approximately 75% of people with rheumatoid arthritis have it in their wrists, which causes severe wrist pain, inflammation, loss of motion range, and structural joint damage.
Many people that suffer from rheumatoid arthritis in their wrists have found that wearing wrist braces have helped tremendously in overall pain management and maintaining wrist strength. In fact, a small study was implemented to test and record the overall impact that wearing a wrist brace has on people with rheumatoid arthritis.
This study lasted for a period of 4 weeks, and during those 4 weeks, many of the subjects that participated in the study experienced a 35% decrease in their wrist pain and a 5% increase in grip strength. Those that did not wear the wrist brace during the same period of time experienced an increased pain level of 17% and a poorer level of grip strength of approximately -8%.
Other Important Reasons to Wear a Wrist Brace
Whether someone wears a wrist brace to prevent from enduring a wrist injury, to treat an already existing wrist injury, or to ease wrist pain, wrist braces have been proven to work effectively.
Engaging in everyday activities can potentially cause wrist pain, but can be easily preventable through wearing a quality wrist brace. Examples of how certain everyday activities may cause wrist pain include: engaging in sports that involve frequent use of the wrist, rigorous typing on the computer, playing video games, writing, sketching, painting, repetitive lifting, and the list goes on and on.