The Dos and Don’ts of Wearing a Wrist Brace (2024)

Your Guide to How to Properly Wear a Wrist Brace

By keeping the wrist in a neutral position and providing support, wrist braces help alleviate pain from inflammation, injured tendons, and even systemic diseases that affect the joints. There are a number of reasons why you might need to wear a wrist brace. These are some of the most common ailments treated with a wrist brace:

  • Tendonitis
  • Sprain
  • Strains
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Other systemic joint diseases

In this guide, we’ll explore different types of wrist braces, how to wear them properly, and more.

Choosing the Right Wrist Brace

Unless you’re sleeping in it, any of the wrist braces listed below can be used for any of the conditions mentioned above. Therefore, you can find the type that relieves your pain best, while also providing sufficient comfort, ease of use, and the best fit.

Wrist braces vary in materials, level of support and immobilization, adjustability, and methods of adjustment. Many wrist braces have a metal or plastic stay to keep the wrist from bending. Often these splints are malleable, so that they can be shaped for better fit.

Splints provide additional support, but are not appropriate for sleeping. The following four wrist braces range from light support for a strain or mild discomfort to laced, adjustable splints.

Compression Sleeve for the Wrist

When extra wrist support is required for an injury, recovery, or for conditions like CTS, a wrist sleeve can be a good option. They provide compression for stability and blood flow. It’s also an easy way to help warm the joints, while not drastically restricting movement for those suffering from joint diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

This Incrediwear wrist sleeve includes embedded semi-conductors to help increase blood speed and reduce inflammation. It is offered in two sizes for a custom fit.

Wrist Support Glove

A slip-on glove with a stay provides more support while also being easy to wear because it has no fasteners. In fact, the Brownmed’s IMAK SmartGlove pictured here, includes a flexible support splint and has received the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease of Use Commendation.

Designed by an orthopedic surgeon, it helps prevent and relieve wrist pain associated with CTS, arthritis and tendonitis by encouraging proper hand and wrist position. The cotton fabric makes it breathable and washable. This product comes in one size, and reverses, so it can be worn on either wrist.

Wrap-around Wrist Brace with Palmal Splint

Wrap-around braces with removable palmal stays are the most commonly used wrist brace. They are easy to put on, adjust, and remove. The pictured here features perforated neoprene to give vented support for long-lasting comfort, and a malleable stay, which can be shaped for a more custom fit. It comes in short and long options, to better suit the type of ailment for which you are treating.

Laced Wrist Brace with Palmal and Dorsal Splint

Some injuries and surgery rehabilitation may require maximum stability of the joint. Braces with stays on the palm side and the dorsal side can provide the additional support. The stays are usually removable, so that you can continue to wear it with one or no stays as you progress further in your healing process.

The from OrthOut takes a little more time to put on, but both stays are malleable, and the palmal stay can be repositioned for a better fit.

This video demonstrates the proper application of the Titan Wrist Lacing Orthosis.

When to Wear Your Wrist Brace

Wearing a wrist brace is simple, provided you get one that fits your hand and wrist well. One of the most common questions about wrist braces is actually how much to wear it. It’s important to know which activities you should and shouldn’t wear a wrist brace while performing, which will vary somewhat, depending on the reason for wearing it, with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome being the prime example.

When to Wear Your Brace for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

According to the National Institute of Health, "Many people with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome wear a splint at night for a few weeks.” The reason for wearing one overnight is that you are more likely to put pressure on a bent wrist while you’re sleeping, which can compress the tunnel that the median nerve runs through.

Certain repetitive tasks or ones that cause jarring or strain can exacerbate CTS. Therefore, wearing a supportive splint during such activities can help to prevent further pain.

When to Wear Your Brace for Strains and Sprains

When your wrist pain is the result of a minor strain, a sprain, tendonitis, or degenerative arthritis from a joint injury, wearing the brace during activities that put more stress on the joint can help prevent further pain and provide stability, increase circulation and reduce inflammation while it heals.

When to Wear Your Brace for Arthritis

For arthritis sufferers, the times you would use a brace would likely coincide with when you are demanding more from your wrist, especially tasks that you have learned aggravate the joint. Warming and stabilizing the joints during activities can be helpful in reducing pain. However, it’s also important to move the hand and wrist normally throughout the day to prevent stiffness.

How Long to Wear Your Wrist Brace

It's a good idea to consult your physician or physical therapist, but generally, extending use slightly beyond the cessation of symptoms is a good practice. Caught early, symptoms of CTS may subside after just a week or two. If you’ve had surgery, your physician will tell you how and for how long to use your splint, when you might switch out to a less-restrictive brace, and when you can discontinue use altogether.

Have the Best Wrist Brace for Your Needs Delivered to Your Home

At Orthopedic Outfitters, we have been serving the public and clinics with supplies for injury prevention and recovery for more than 20 years. Browse our full line of braces and home rehabilitation equipment, and reach out to us online if we can assist you in finding the best wrist brace for your needs. Plus, when you spend $50 or more with us, shipping is free!

Shop All Wrist Braces

The Dos and Don’ts of Wearing a Wrist Brace (2024)


How many hours a day should you wear a wrist brace? ›

Gradually build up to half hour periods two times daily, • Then to one hour periods once daily. This will enable you to become accustomed to wearing it. (All guidance is approximate). Following this, wear your wrist brace during activities which put strain on your wrist such as carrying, housework or gardening.

Is it better to sleep with a wrist brace on or off? ›

Many people with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome wear a splint at night for a few weeks. The splint holds the joint in a neutral position. The symptoms are worse at night because your hand is more likely to bend while you're sleeping. The splint prevents this from happening.

What happens if you wear a wrist brace for too long? ›

Another risk of wearing a wrist brace is that it can lead to dependence on the brace. If a person wears a brace all the time, they may become reliant on it and find it difficult to move their wrist without it. This can lead to weakness in the muscles and joints and may even make the original problem worse.

Is it OK to wear wrist support all day? ›

Generally, you should only wear a wrist brace in the most challenging activities so you don't become dependent on them. Also its important to not overuse your brace so your wrist doesn't become weak. For injuries or tendonitis, you might want to wear it longer until it's healed.

When is the best time to wear a wrist brace? ›

A 2012 study found that using a wrist brace at night did more to relieve carpal tunnel symptoms than using no treatment at all. You may also find it helpful to wear a brace during the day, especially during activities that trigger flare-ups. Repeated motions or extra strain on your wrist can make your symptoms worse.

How long does it take for a wrist brace to work? ›

It puts the wrist in a position which places the least amount of pressure on the median nerve and so reduces pain and other symptoms. It can take three to four weeks to see any improvement and while not a cure it can give some relief from the symptoms for short periods of time.

Should a wrist brace feel tight? ›

There are a few things to keep in mind when wearing a wrist brace: -Make sure that the brace is snug but not too tight. It should be comfortable enough to wear for extended periods of time without causing pain or cutting off circulation.

How long do you have to wear a wrist brace for wrist pain? ›

You may be given a removable splint to wear to support the wrist. This should be used for two to six weeks to enable you to use the arm more comfortably whilst the injury heals. You only need to wear the splint when using the arm. You can remove it at rest, at night and when bathing or showering.

How tight should wrist brace be at night? ›

Wearing the brace should be comfortable because you must sleep with it. The brace should not be tight; this will restrict fluid drainage and blood circulation. Make sure the wrist brace is easily put on and removed; Velcro straps are the most useful.

Should I wear a wrist brace 24 hours? ›

This duration will also depend on medical advice. However, they must not be worn for 24 hours straight. It's highly recommended to take them off at night when asleep. If you're feeling pain in the area where the muscle connects with the bone, this may signify tendonitis.

Why does my wrist hurt worse after wearing a brace? ›

As a result of the isometric movements from wearing a wrist brace, you cause more stress damage to the tendons. That's because they work harder against the immovable brace. This is why many doctors now recommend you do NOT wear a brace for wrist tendonitis on a 24/7 basis.

Is it bad to sleep with your wrists bent? ›

“When we sleep, we often have our wrists bent forward or backward, which can pinch the nerve and lead to carpal tunnel symptoms at night,” explains Dr. Delavaux. “Initial conservative treatment of wearing a brace that holds the wrist in a neutral position during sleep may help to alleviate symptoms.”

Is it OK to wear a wrist brace overnight? ›

You can wear the wrist splint overnight, but we suggest 8 hours as the limit. Throughout the day, you should remove the wrist support every now and again and do gentle movements and wrist exercises to ensure an effective recovery from your condition.

Can you wear a wrist brace all night? ›

“If you have had a fall or think you may have fractured your hand or wrist, it is OK to wear a brace overnight until you can get to the doctor's office,” says Dr. Delavaux. “But be sure to get it checked out, especially if the pain doesn't get better after a day or two.”

Should a wrist brace be worn at night? ›

It keeps the wrist in a neutral position that decreases the compression on the nerve that causes carpal tunnel syndrome. It is best to wear it every night as it usually interferes with activity during the day, and most people with carpal tunnel syndrome have symptoms predominantly at night.

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