Carpal Tunnel Supports

March 13, 2018

Carpal tunnel occurs when inflammation puts pressure on the median nerve as it passes through the narrow of ligaments and bones in the wrist, known as the carpal tunnel. This inflammation can develop from repetitive wrist movement or prolonged flexion/extension and is characterized by pain, numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers, and/or loss of functional grasps.

Nighttime splints, wrist wraps, active supports

Active supports limit motion and encourage a neutral position while allowing function for work/daily activities. Glove-or-wrist -sleeve models provide light support, gentle compression, and in some cases, cushioning under the wrist to help channel pressure away from the media nerve. When more support and stabilization are needed for heavier work situations, a semirigid splint is indicated. Semirigid splints achieve greater stabilization through the use of a more supportive-often more durable-splint body material like leather, or through the use of a metal insert that can be positioned to limit wrist motion.

Nighttime splints rest the wrist and fully limit motion in order to relieve symptoms and help reduce underlying inflammation. Most nighttime splints fully support the wrist in neutral, and many also immobilized the fingers in extension to further limit aggravation of the muscles and tendons. Nighttime splints may also be indicated for daytime wear during periods of acute flare-up until a daytime/active support can be tolerated.

Wrist wraps give minimal support and are a good alternative to an active or rigid splint for early intervention of carpal tunnel symptoms. Wraps can also be used to help progress individuals out of a more rigid splint as symptoms improve.