3 Ways a Brace Can Help Your Wrist Arthritis

Your wrist is a complex joint made up of 15 bones and multiple small joints. When damaged by arthritis, pain and stiffness make basic functions of the wrist difficult or even impossible. Writing, typing, and opening lids become painful chores.

In a healthy wrist, your bones glide easily along because they’re protected by cartilage. When you have wrist arthritis, though, this cartilage is damaged or worn away so bone rubs against bone, causing pain, stiffness, and inflammation. 

Arthritis can’t be cured, but our team at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists can help you manage your pain and possibly alleviate symptoms, often with noninvasive methods like activity modification, medication and injections. 

A wrist brace can also be an asset if you have wrist arthritis. Here’s why it’s so helpful. 

A brace offers stability

A brace essentially immobilizes your wrist to prevent the bones from rubbing together too much and causing pain. The brace also shifts weight away from inflamed areas of your wrist joint to help reduce pain and discomfort. 

A brace helps you manage swelling

Certain types of braces are compressive, so they hug the joint and reduce the swelling that can contribute to pain and stiffness. 

A brace improves your confidence

A brace offers extra support to your wrist joint so you feel protected and more confident when completing daily tasks. 

What are the types of braces used for wrist arthritis?

We recommend different types of assistive devices for your wrist arthritis, depending on the nature of your condition and symptoms.

You may benefit from a splint that immobilizes your wrist and thus reduces arthritis pain.

Some of our patients use a compression brace that squeezes the joint like a tight glove to reduce swelling. Arthritis gloves are another compressive device that also create body heat to relieve inflammation.

If you use your wrist frequently, such as with typing or gardening, a wrist wrap that has an opening for the thumb is a good choice. We may include a metal support for your hand in this type of brace. 

Can all types of arthritis benefit from a brace?

The two most common forms of arthritis that affect the wrist — rheumatoid and osteoarthritis — both benefit from bracing as a form of treatment. 

Osteoarthritis usually develops with age and is due to normal wear-and-tear of the joint. Wrist injuries, infections, or repetitive movements can accelerate the development of osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your joints, causing swelling, pain, and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis can show up in people as young as 20 with no known cause.

When should you wear a wrist brace?

At Maryland Orthopedic Specialists, we give you clear instructions about when to wear your brace. Usually, it’s best worn whenever you’re doing activity that involves the wrist, whether that’s typing, painting, gardening, playing a racquet sport, lifting weights, or putting away objects. 

There will be times when you want to give your wrist a chance to breathe without the brace to prevent irritation. For example, you might choose to sleep without the brace.

We at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists are available to help you with wrist arthritis and other joint issues. Make an appointment today at our Bethesda or Germantown, Maryland, office.

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