Working splints

Back to Splints for arthritis of the wrist and hand

Working splints support your wrist and hand joints while you’re using your hands. They can be worn when you carry out daily tasks and should make the job less painful. They can also help by keeping your wrist joint in an efficient position when doing a job and may help to make your wrist and hand feel stronger. However, because these splints support your wrist and hand firmly they may also make these joints feel a little less flexible.

Working splints are usually made of an elastic or light synthetic rubber-type fabric (e.g. neoprene) with Velcro straps. They’re available commercially or from physiotherapy or occupational therapy departments.

Why should I wear a working splint?

You may find that a working splint:

  • gives your wrist or thumb support while carrying out activities that would normally be painful
  • makes jobs easier to manage
  • increases your grip strength
  • helps protect and support your wrist or thumb
  • helps reduce or prevent wrist or thumb pain.

When should I wear a working splint?

You should wear your working splint:

  • during activities that cause you pain
  • when your wrist or thumb is swollen
  • when your wrist or thumb feels weak
  • when you’re experiencing more discomfort than usual
  • as advised by your therapist.

If you want to wear any type of working splint while driving, contact your insurance company first for advice about whether your cover will be affected.

For further information contact a member of your rheumatology team or of the department that supplied the splint.

Wrist working splint

A wrist working splint

This is a wrap-around splint that has a metal bar inserted in a pocket on the palm side of your wrist. This helps to stabilise your wrist joint in a comfortable and efficient position.

How do I put it on?

1.    Undo the straps.
2.    Place your hand into the splint so that the supporting metal bar is fitting closely into your palm.
3.    Roughly line up the edges.
4.    Do up the straps – not too tight – this time starting with the strap nearest your wrist, as this is the narrowest part (if you start with the strap nearest your elbow it tends to push the splint down and restrict movement at your fingers. This isn’t the case for resting splints, which you fasten from your elbow first).

Wrist wrap working splint

A wrist wrap working splint 
This is a wrap-around splint that gives light support to your wrist.

How do I put it on?

1.    Place the loop over your thumb.
2.    Take the long section of the support round the back of your wrist and wrap around, pulling slightly.
3.    Do up the strap.

Thumb spica working splint

A thumb spica working splint

This is a wrap-around splint that goes around your thumb and wrist. Some have an extra support for the thumb joints. This helps to stabilise the thumb.

How do I put it on?

1.    Undo the straps.
2.    Place the reinforced strip on top of your thumb joints.
3.    Do up the straps – not too tight.

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