If your thumb is painful, it could signify a developing chronic condition or an injury. Suppose the pain in your thumb is severe; your doctor could recommend wearing a thumb brace. It’s essential to know how to wear a thumb brace properly to prevent future damage.
Here are 15 tips on how to properly wear a thumb brace:
- Ensure the thumb brace is completely dry before wearing it.
- Wash your hands before wearing the thumb brace.
- Ensure your hands are dry before wearing the thumb brace.
- Loosen the fastener on the thumb strap.
- Loosen the fastener on the palm strap.
- Loosen the fastener on the wrist strap.
- Slip the thumb into the thumb section.
- Push the thumb brace as far down on your thumb as possible.
- Wrap the thumb strap of the brace.
- Adjust the palm strap.
- Wrap the palm strap of the brace.
- Adjust the wrist strap.
- Tighten the wrist strap.
- Squeeze the metal or plastic inserts on the thumb brace.
- Adjust the straps of the thumb brace accordingly.
The thumb brace helps relieve pain in the thumb and keeps the thumb immobile, thus forcing it to rest for quick recovery. If you don’t wear the thumb brace properly, it’ll not be of much use to your thumb and could worsen its condition. This article will explain how to wear a thumb brace properly.
1. Ensure the Thumb Brace Is Completely Dry Before Wearing It
Many thumb braces are removable, and you can thus remove them when bathing. You can also remove the thumb brace when you want to clean it. If your brace is new or you have taken it off, it’s good to ensure that it’s dry before wearing it.
If you wear a damp brace, the moisture can irritate your skin, leading to itching and discomfort. If the thumb brace is of a material that takes longer to dry, such as neoprene, you can put it out to dry.
However, suppose the brace is of plastic or other material that dries quickly. In that case, you can dry it quickly using a hairdryer’s ‘cool’ setting.
2. Wash Your Hands Before Wearing the Thumb Brace
It’s best to wash your hands using soap and water before wearing the thumb brace. Hands harbor a lot of dirt and germs, and if you wear the brace on top of a dirty hand, the grime on the hand could irritate the skin. The irritation especially happens when the covered area starts sweating.
3. Ensure Your Hands Are Dry Before Wearing the Thumb Brace
It’s also good to ensure that your hands are completely dry before wearing the thumb brace. When you wear a thumb brace on a wet hand, the wetness can cause itching and skin irritation, increasing the risk of infection. The itching and skin irritation especially happens if the thumb brace is of a material that does not wick moisture.
So, once you’ve washed your hands thoroughly, pat them dry using a cloth towel or paper towel. You can also rub them together under a hand dryer before wearing the thumb brace.
4. Loosen the Fastener on the Thumb Strap
The designs of thumb braces may vary depending on the manufacturer. However, many of them have several straps that include the thumb strap. The main work of the straps is to hold the thumb brace securely in place.
The straps also ensure that the thumb is comfortable and relaxed and that there’s no restriction to circulation.
All the straps on thumb braces have strong fasteners and easy-to-pull tabs so that you can wear the brace without much effort. When your thumb brace is not in use, it’s good to fasten it for ease of storage. Keeping the thumb brace secured also prevents the inside of the device from becoming dirty quickly, and it will also help it maintain its shape.
The thumb strap helps hold the thumb in place while wearing the thumb brace. The thumb strap also exerts pressure on any metal or plastic inserts around the thumb area.
The metal or plastic inserts around the thumb area of the brace lift the head of the thumb, thus supporting the thumb. In addition, when the inserts lift the head of the thumb, it helps relieve pain in the thumb. You are therefore able to perform some tasks such as driving.
So, when wearing a thumb brace, it’s best to loosen the strap first to enable you to slip your thumb into the brace easily.
If you don’t loosen the thumb strap, you’d hurt your thumb or strain it as you try to force it into the brace.
5. Loosen the Fastener on the Palm Strap
Many thumb braces have a strap around the palm with a strong fastener. The palm strap helps to hold the brace in place. Thankfully, the palm strap doesn’t interfere with the functioning of the other four fingers.
So, after loosening the thumb strap, the next step is to ease the fastener on the palm strap.
Loosening the fastener on the palm strap is one way of opening it up to allow for more movement. Doing so makes the brace easy to wear and prevents hurting your thumb further.
6. Loosen the Fastener on the Wrist Strap
Most thumb braces have wrist straps to help hold the brace in place. The wrist strap fastener is usually strong so that the strap remains intact even as you go about your duties.
It’s best to loosen the wrist strap after loosening the thumb and the palm strap. When you loosen the wrist strap, your thumb brace reduces, enabling you to put it on without struggling. However, you should try not to keep it too loose while it’s on since it defeats the purpose of wearing it in the first place.
7. Slip the Thumb Into the Thumb Section
Once you’ve loosened the thumb, palm, and wrist straps, it’s time to wear the brace.
Slip your thumb into the thumb section of the brace. The thumb strap is usually adjustable and therefore fits different thumb sizes.
When you slip your thumb into the brace, the long side of the splint should rest outside your thumb. Doing so is vital so that the thumb can get the support and relaxation it requires and thus help relieve pain.
Once you place your thumb correctly inside the brace, the palm and wrist will naturally take their rightful position.
8. Push the Thumb Brace As Far Down on Your Thumb As Possible
Before wrapping the thumb strap, you must push your brace as far down on your thumb as possible. By doing so, the fingers on that hand can function optimally. Pushing the device far down also helps to reduce the pain in the thumb. It allows for better support while going about daily activities, so this step is essential.
9. Wrap the Thumb Strap of the Brace
Wrap the thumb strap once your thumb, palm, and wrist are in the right place. It’s best to ensure that you don’t wrap the strap too loosely or too tightly because it has some consequences. Below is what happens if you don’t wrap the thumb strap of the splint properly.
- If you wrap the thumb strap too loosely, the brace will not hold it properly. If the brace secures the thumb loosely, the thumb isn’t well protected, thus risking further injury to the hand.
- Suppose the thumb strap holds the thumb too tightly. You’d feel some discomfort or pain, thus making you miserable.
- A tight thumb strap could also interfere with circulation to the thumb and the rest of the hand. This also means that your hand could go numb after a while due to insufficient blood flow, so make sure you are entirely comfortable with the tightness of the splint.
10. Adjust the Palm Strap
If it’s the first time you’re wearing the thumb brace, it’s essential to adjust the palm strap to fit your palm. Many thumb braces come with adjustable palm straps to fit different hand sizes. So, you can shorten or lengthen the palm strap to fit your palm.
You can still make further adjustments to the palm strap after wearing the thumb brace.
11. Wrap the Palm Strap of the Brace
After adjusting the palm strap to fit your palm, wrap it around your palm. Make sure that it’s neither too loose nor too tight. Here’s what happens if you wrap the palm strap of the brace too loosely or too tightly:
- If the palm strap is too loose, it will not hold the brace securely in place, and as a result, it will not work efficiently. It could leave you at greater risk of injury and won’t serve its intended purpose.
- If the palm strap is too tight, it will make you uncomfortable and miserable.
- A tight palm strap could also interfere with circulation leading to other health complications.
12. Adjust the Wrist Strap
Many thumb braces also have adjustable wrist straps to fit various wrist sizes. So, you can lengthen or shorten the strap to fit you before tightening it. If the need arises, you can make further adjustments to the strap after wearing the thumb brace.
13. Tighten the Wrist Strap
Once you have adjusted the wrist strap to fit your wrist, tighten it up to a comfortable point. The wrist strap helps hold the thumb brace securely in place like the palm strap. Many wrist straps on thumb braces are easy to tighten, and you should be able to adjust them using one hand.
If you fasten the wrist strap properly, it does not interfere with the normal functioning of your wrist. When tightening the wrist strap, it’s good to ensure that it’s not too loose or tight.
Below is what happens when the wrist strap of the thumb brace is too tight or too loose.
- When the wrist strap of the thumb brace is too loose, the splint is not securely in place, so your thumb isn’t well protected. As a result, the thumb could take longer to heal or suffer further damage.
- If the wrist strap is too tight, it can make your hand uncomfortable, thus interfering with the normal functioning of your wrist.
- A tight wrist strap could also interfere with blood circulation leading to muscle soreness and other complications.
- When the wrist strap is too tight, it could eventually irritate the skin on the wrist leading to discomfort, pain, and other health issues.
14. Squeeze the Metal or Plastic Inserts on the Thumb Brace
As mentioned earlier, many thumb braces have plastic or metal inserts around the thumb area. The inserts help hold the thumb in place, thus supporting and protecting it. So, squeeze the metal or plastic inserts firmly after tightening all the straps on the thumb brace.
The inserts should fit snugly around the base of the thumb without causing any discomfort.
15. Adjust the Straps of the Thumb Brace Accordingly
When you finish wrapping all the straps of the thumb brace, it’s good to flex your wrist and wiggle your fingers to find out if any strap is too loose or too tight. If any strap is too loose or too tight, adjust it accordingly. Since the braces have fully adjustable straps, you can get the best fit every time.
A thumb brace is a cost-effective device that helps to support and eliminate pain in your thumb. It’s essential to wear your brace correctly so that there’s no restriction to circulation or discomfort.
These tips can help you wear a thumb brace properly.
- All the straps should be loose before wearing the thumb brace.
- Secure the thumb properly before dealing with the palm and the wrist.
- Ensure that the straps are not too tight because they can make you uncomfortable or restrict circulation.
- Ensure the straps are not too loose; otherwise, the brace will not secure your thumb in place.
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