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The best wrist braces for carpal tunnel of 2024, according to hand specialist and health experts

Say goodbye to carpal tunnel flare-ups with these expert and tester-approved carpal tunnel braces

The best wrist braces for carpal tunnel of 2024, according to hand specialist and health experts

Pain, discomfort and numbness in your fingers can have any number of causes, but a common culprit is carpal tunnel syndrome, a neurological condition that occurs when there's compression of the median nerve — one of the three major nerves of the forearm and hand. Pressure on the nerve often results in a tingling sensation, pain and numbness. As it worsens, CTS can make even the most mundane tasks — pushing a shopping cart or pulling the garbage can to the curb — incredibly painful. While it's important to see a health care provider for wrist pain or numbness, one of the most common treatments for mild to moderate CTS is bracing. Dr. Raymond Hwang, medical director at Hinge Health, says, "Braces help keep the wrist in a neutral, slightly extended position, which relieves pressure on the median nerve as it travels through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This can reduce numbness, tingling and pain."

Quick overview
  • RCAI Wrist Brace for Carpal Tunnel Relief

    Best wrist brace for carpal tunnel overall

  • Braceowl Carpal Tunnel Wrist Brace

    Best wrist brace for carpal tunnel for sleeping

  • Featol Carpal Tunnel Wrist Brace

    Best budget friendly brace for carpal tunnel

  • Copper Compression Arthritis Gloves

    Best compression gloves for carpal tunnel and arthritis

  • ComfyBrace Night Wrist Sleep Support Brace

    Best carpal tunnel brace for comfort

  • Dr. Arthritis Copper Wrist Brace

    Best carpal tunnel brace for typing

  • Featol Carpal Tunnel Wrist Brace

    Best carpal tunnel brace for hot and cold therapy

  • BraceAbility Resting Hand Splint

    Best immobilizing wrist brace for carpal tunnel

See 3 more

Certified hand therapist Brenda Cummings says, "Wrist braces for carpal tunnel work by keeping your wrist in a neutral position to alleviate pressure from the median nerve." To be effective, Cummings says, it should prevent you from being able to bend your wrist more than 15 degrees in any direction.

If you determine an over-the-counter wrist brace is right for you, there are many options available. To help find the best wrist braces for CTS, we spoke with orthopedic experts to learn what to look for in carpal-tunnel-specific braces, and what to avoid. We learned that a rigid insert or stay (typically made of metal) is key to stabilizing the wrist. These stays are commonly placed on either the dorsal side (i.e., the back of the wrist), the palm side or both. A dorsal support brace is often best for carpal tunnel since it prevents flexion, but depending on your level of pain or discomfort, a simple wrist brace or wrist wrap you wear while sleeping may be the better choice.

Using our experts’ feedback, we evaluated more than 20 wrist braces for CTS, rating each based on construction, materials used, breathability, brand reputation, user and in-house tester reviews, cost, comfort and efficacy. These are the eight wrist braces for carpal tunnel that made our cut as the best of the best.

Cost: $48 | Can be used for: Carpal tunnel as well as tendonitis, radial nerve compression, arthritis, repetitive strain injury | Sizes available: X-small, small, medium, large, extra large | Material: Thermoplastic

The RCAI wrist brace for carpal tunnel doesn’t look like your average drugstore wrist support brace, but that’s a good thing. This is a dorsal-style splint with a rigid posterior component on the back of your wrist while leaving the palm side relatively open. "The dorsal brace might seem awkward at first, but this type of brace works best for carpal tunnel symptoms," explains Cummings She explains that dorsal braces are an excellent choice if you need daytime wrist support, but they’re comfortable enough to wear while sleeping. The dorsal support effectively keeps your wrist in a neutral position while the open palm still allows for daily activities, such as typing. 

While this brace is one of the most expensive on this list, dorsal splints are generally pricier than compression sleeves or wrist wraps. That said, RCAI’s brace is more affordable than many of its dorsal counterparts. It’s also more accessible: The majority of dorsal splints are only sold on medical sites. And not to worry, its commercial availability doesn’t minimize its quality. It's constructed with high-quality, lightweight thermoplastic and a soft, moisture-wicking liner.

It's important to note this brace is left/right-specific, so make sure you are ordering the proper brace depending on your needs.

Pros
  • Allows full dexterity
  • Durable material
  • Multiple sizes available
Cons
  • Not universal to both wrists
  • Pricey
$35 at Amazon

Cost: $23.97 | Can be used for: Carpal tunnel, nighttime bracing | Sizes available: One size | Material: Cotton, nylon and neoprene

Morning pain or tingling in your hands can be a telltale sign of CTS which is why nighttime bracing to prevent CTS flair-ups is often the most recommended therapy. "Wearing a brace at night can help relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Braces help keep the wrist in a neutral, slightly extended position, which relieves pressure on the median nerve as it travels through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This can reduce numbness, tingling, and pain," explains Hwang.

The BraceOwl carpal tunnel wrist brace was specifically designed for nighttime comfort and support so you don't wake up with excessive pain and tingling. Where this brace really shines and sets itself apart from the pack is in the built-in bead pocket at the palm that applies gentle pressure to help circulate blood flow while sleeping, even when your arm stays stationary for hours. The brace also features a removable metal splint so you can find the right amount of support and structure for your needs.

Pros
  • Designed specifically for sleep
  • Soft, breathable material
  • Can be worn on either arm
Cons
  • Only one size
$24 at Amazon

Cost: $11 | Can be used for: Carpal tunnel, arthritis, tendonitis, sprain, injuries, wrist pain | Sizes available: X-small, small/medium, medium/large, large/x-large | Material: 75% foam, 15% polyester, 5% plastic, 5% metal

Don't let the low price fool you, the Featol Wrist Brace offers three adjustable straps for customizable comfort and comes in four sizes (x-small up to x-large), making it a viable option for a broad range of people who suffer from carpal tunnel. We do want to note that the brace is not applicable to both arms so be sure you purchase the brace for the correct arm. To add to the customizable comfort, the brace has a removable aluminum palmer stay and two fixed plastic splints to provide stability and wrist support.

With more than 23,000 5-star ratings that praise it for its fit, feel and structure, this is an effective, budget-friendly brace that has loads of endorsements that speak to its performance. One reviewer even got their doctor’s approval: “The doctor's office said the brace probably looked as good or better than what they would give me,” said one reviewer.

Pros
  • Great price
  • Easy on and off velcro straps
  • Multiple sizes available
Cons
  • Not universal to both arms
$11 at Amazon

Cost: $30 | Can be used for: CTS, Arthritis, compression | Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large, extra large | Material: Copper-infused soft breathable fabric

Arthritis sufferers are all too familiar with the pain, inflammation, stiffness and swelling that comes with the often debilitating condition. Couple that with morning CTS pain, and your entire morning is spent trying to get your hands to work. There is only so much your arthritis pain relief creams can do. These copper compression gloves offer an easy-on, easy-off glove that can help provide compression support throughout flare-ups without the immobilization and finger restrictions that come with traditional wrist braces. 

Made with moisture-wicking material to keep your palms dry and fingers comfortable, and thanks to the durable, copper-infused machine-washable material, you don't have to worry about the gloves staying clean with daily use.

Pros
  • Allows for full dexterity
  • Can be worn day or night
  • Helos with both arthritis and CTS
Cons
  • Gloves may be hard for some to get on and off
$20 at Amazon

Cost: $15 | Can be used for: Carpal tunnel, minor wrist injuries, arthritis, tendonitis, sprain, wrist pain | Sizes available: One size fits most | Material: Proprietary high-quality breathable fabric

This ComfyBrace wrist brace was explicitly made to be worn overnight and offers unparalleled comfort to those who find sleeping with a rigid brace difficult. The brace can be used on both wrists and provides gentle pressure and support to relieve pain and reduce inflammation and swelling that tend to flare up at night in CTS sufferers. It also has a removable palmar splint for ergonomic support. The easy slip-on sleeve design offers comfortable day- and nightwear.

Pros
  • Machine washable
  • Universal to both arms
  • Removable splint
Cons
  • Only one size
$15 at Amazon

Cost: $15 | Can be used for: Carpal tunnel and arthritis | Sizes available: One size | Material: Neoprene, copper-lined

The Dr. Arthritis Copper Wrist Brace is designed for use both during the day and night. Unlike the other braces on this list, it covers only the palm and wrist, rather than the length of your forearm, allowing for full dexterity and comfort. It's also the brace our in-house tester who suffers from CTS says in the best she's ever used: "I’ve found that this one has better durability than any other brace I’ve used — the velcro is still going strong after multiple machine washes — which can likely be credited to it being doctor-designed with typical patient pitfalls in mind." She added that it’s especially good if you’re looking for a wrist brace that helps with other conditions, like arthritis. She prefers to wear it while sleeping but wears it during the day for flare-ups, because "it’s not too restricting but stiff enough to reduce swelling."

Pros
  • Comfortable to wear during work or typing
  • Educational booklet included
  • Doctor designed
Cons
  • Not as rigid and supportive as other braces on this list
$16 at Amazon

Cost: $19 | Can be used for: Carpal Tunnel, arthritis, tendonitis, repetitive strain injury, sprains | Sizes available: X-small, small/medium, medium/large, large/extra-large | Material: Neoprene, Velcro | Structure and design: Removable palmar stay

Research suggests that alternating heat and cold therapy can effectively treat CTS symptoms. This is why the Featol wrist brace, with a reusable hot or cold therapy gel pack, is an excellent choice for CTS sufferers. It runs from your palm to over halfway up your forearm and features a removable palmar stay and three large adjustable straps to ensure a snug, yet comfortable fit. There is only one gel pack included with the brace, but you can always buy replacement packs if needed.

Pros
  • Offers hot and cold relief
  • Removable metal stay
  • Provides high support
Cons
  • Only includes one gel pack
  • Somewhat bulky
  • Not universal to both arms
$19 at Amazon

Cost: $25 | Can be used for: Carpal tunnel, tendonitis, stroke recovery, rheumatoid arthritis, fractures and sprains, post-surgery recovery | Sizes available: X-small, small, medium, large, X-large | Material: Breathable cotton and neoprene 

A resting hand splint is — you guessed it — best used while at rest. Whether that’s asleep or just lounging around, resting splints promote healing by keeping your wrist immobilized and in a proper position. There is a thumb strap to immobilize the thumb, along with three wrist straps. Unfortunately, that means it restricts hand and finger movements, but that also means it will reduce compression of the median nerve to relieve pain and discomfort. 

The resting hand splint from BraceAbility is available in five sizes, from extra-small to extra-large. It’s made using padded materials, so it’s also comfortable.

Pros
  • Fully immobilizes the thumb and wrist
  • Adjustable
  • Available in five sizes
Cons
  • Limits movement of hand and fingers
  • May be difficult to put on for some
$25 at Amazon

Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms and level of severity are divided into three stages:

Stage 1: Frequently waking in the night with a sensation of a swollen, numb hand or severe pain that irradiates from the wrist to the shoulder. There is also tingling in the hand and fingers. After waking, hand stiffness usually persists.

Stage 2: The symptoms are present during the day as well, especially if you stay in the same position for prolonged periods, or perform repeated movements or tasks with the hand and wrist. This is the stage where you may have lost so much feeling in your hands and fingers, you frequently drop things.

Stage 3: This is the final stage where atrophy can set in and the median nerve usually responds poorly to surgical decompression. In this phase, sensory symptoms decline.

Carpal tunnel braces are designed to keep your wrist in a neutral position. Immobilization is important because wrist flexion puts pressure on the median nerve; bracing prevents that. However, in order for the brace to work, it needs to fit correctly. It should be snug enough to provide adequate support but not too tight to restrict circulation or cause skin irritation.

A big part of comfort has to do with quality materials. Neoprene is one of the best material choices since it offers compression, warmth, elasticity and breathability. Mesh fabric can also add to a brace’s overall breathability. Softer materials, like memory foam, can provide padding for additional comfort. Other braces use copper-infused fabrics, which can help deodorize the brace. While many of these braces can be washed by hand, most are not machine washable.

Most braces have a rigid insert on either the dorsal side (i.e., the back of the wrist), the palmar side, or both. Studies show a dorsal support brace is best for carpal tunnel since it prevents flexion without adding more pressure to the median nerve. Palmar support can be beneficial, too; just make sure that the rigid stays don’t press in on the median nerve or that they’re removable.

Length is also important. “A wrist brace that is too short may apply more pressure to the median nerve,” says Cummings. Look for a wrist brace that doesn’t stop directly at the wrist and instead extends about halfway up the forearm.

Finally, cost is something to consider. The best wrist brace for you is one that is comfortable and effective, but more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better.

To help you determine the best carpal tunnel braces, our team looked at over 20 different wrist braces and evaluated each based on their efficacy. The truth is, there are a ton of wrist braces on the market, but not all of them work well to alleviate symptoms of carpal tunnel. We considered factors like the overall structure and design of the brace, the amount of stability it provided, and how comfortable it was to wear. Finally, we consulted with two orthopedic experts, including a hand pain specialist and an orthopedic surgeon.

Dr. John Thomas, a board certified hand surgeon, says that wrist braces can be extremely beneficial for mild to moderate carpal tunnel, especially if used overnight. “Most people like to curl up and fully flex their wrists at night,” he says. “This places pressure upon the median nerve in the carpal tunnel and increases symptoms.”

In addition to bracing, treatments for CTS include oral anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, and in severe cases, surgery to decompress the carpal tunnel and increase space for the median nerve.

Wrist braces aren’t meant to be a permanent fixture in your life. Instead, Thomas says, they’re best worn for a few weeks. If symptoms don’t improve during that time, it’s a sign that you might need to try a more intensive form of treatment. Dr. Melissa Boyette, an orthopedic surgeon, says, “I would caution against wearing a brace longer than a few weeks if a physician has not evaluated you,” warning that prolonged bracing can lead to stiffness and weakness.

Hwang recommends taking frequent hand/wrist stretching breaks, especially for those with repetitive hand motions at work. He also says, "Prevention through ergonomic workstations, exercises, and avoiding excessive wrist bending is important for those at risk." You can also try oral anti-inflammatory medication or a pain relieving cream for immediate relief.

Dr. Melissa Boyette, orthopedic surgeon; hand and wrist specialist, Bradenton, Fla.

Brenda Cummings, OTD, OTR, CHT, certified hand therapist, Fort Collins, Colo.

Dr. Raymond Hwang, orthopedic surgeon and medical director at Hinge Health

Dr. Sara P. Simmons, orthopedic hand and wrist specialist, Bradenton, Fla.

Dr. John Thomas, orthopedic hand surgeon, New York City