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7 Best Thumb Braces for Arthritis

by Amanda Ghosh May 05, 2017

Thumb pain

Finding the best thumb brace for arthritis can support, stabilize, and relieve the some of the painfully common symptoms of arthritis. Your thumbs help to accomplish an incredible amount of the activities and tasks you perform every day. An arthritic thumb is like having an “injured” thumb because it affects your ability to execute these daily tasks. It’s straight up painful and debilitating. While utilizing a thumb brace for arthritis won't provide a cure, it can largely decrease pain you may be experiencing. These braces are designed to give your thumbs support by keeping them in the correct position and taking pressure off of damaged areas. If you’ve got arthritis pain in your thumb that's become quite the inconvenience, take a look at the top arthritis braces that we’ve pooled together and see which suits you best.

1. Mueller Sports Medicine Thumb Stabilizer 

Mueller Sports Medicine Thumb Stabilizer

Amazon

Due to popular demand, this brace made the top spot on our list. It supports the thumb and limits how much the thumb joint will move. Your fingers get to retain their full range of motion which helps. The freedom of this brace allows you to perform activities like cooking, typing, gardening, etc. It's a smart choice for those with gatekeeper's thumb, osteoarthritis and degenerative joint diseases. 

Pros:
  • Keeps thumb area nice and toasty (but not too toasty)
  • You can wear this for a long time and it stays pretty clean
  • Helps to protect your thumb when sleeping
Cons:
  • You need to play around with the Velcro to get it to stay in place

2. Arthritis Thumb Splint by Vive

Arthritis Thumb Splint by Vive

Vivehealth

This is our second pick and we like it because it helps reduce discomfort associated with arthritis in the thumb and carpal tunnel. It also helps thumb injuries to heal. The splint feature offers a lot of extra support and stabilization for a healing thumb (think a less intense cast), but you can remove it if you want to downgrade on the intensity of the support. It’s nice to have a variety of support options though, so we think that’s a big bonus with this brace.

Pros:
  • It stays in place with wraps that Velcro really well
  • You get “two for one” because you wear this brace on either hand
  • Its universal fit fits most people so there’s no hassle or complication when it comes to sizing
Cons:
  • Thumb movement is restricted completely

Tip:
Add a small finger splint to the thumb area to keep it from moving if you need to fill up some space due to small hand or thumbs.

3. Wrist Brace with Thumb Stabilizer by BioSkin

Wrist brace with thumb stabilizer by Bioskin

Amazon

We like this brace because it addresses multiple conditions (arthritis in the thumb, bursitis and wrist sprains) and because it is hypoallergenic. Hypoallergenic means it’s completely latex and neoprene free (some people can react to neoprene and it’s the material used in a large number of braces). Plus, this brace has an awesome fleece lining that is really comfy for your hand.

Pros:
  • You get to keep full range of motion of your fingers with this brace!
  • You get to be one of the athletes. Over 40 professional sports teams use BioSkin products (pretty neat, huh?!)
  • The light weight of this brace means you don’t feel like you’re lugging around a cast
Cons:
  • There’s a metal part of this brace that can rub against the thumb if your hand is of a certain size

Tip:
Wear for only a few hours a time if the metal irritates your thumb. It’s not bad to wear for a few hours.

4. Bracoo Neoprene Reversible Thumb Support Stabilizer

Bracoo Neoprene Reversible Thumb Support Stabilizer

Amazon

We like this brace because it offers compression and is well-suited for those with arthritic thumbs and people with tendonitis and carpal tunnel. This brace is also a good choice for post-surgery wear. We also like that it keeps the hand and thumb warm. This is a nice feature for many who suffer in the cold from arthritis.

Pros:
  • Wear on either right or left hand, it doesn’t matter
  • helps to ease discomfort from repetitive stress injuries
  • You can still type, drive and cook because this brace does let your thumb flex a little bit (and your fingers too!)
Cons:
  • The top of the thumb feels a bit tight

5. Push MetaGrip Thumb Brace 

Push MetaGrip Thumb Brace

Amazon

This brace made our list because of its lack of bulkiness. We like that it almost fits like a second skin without being super glove-like because sleeve (or glove) style “braces” tend to offer less support and more compression. This brace offers a lot of support for the thumb. Made out of a hard material, it can withstand a lot of wear which is great because you will probably be wearing it a lot. You fit this brace by molding the metal that is embedded within its sleek gray exterior around your thumb. This brace is best suited for those with osteoarthritis.  

Pros:
  • It gives you a customizable fit that stays in place because of the firm metal material
  • Machine washable
  • It’s fine to wear during activities (leisure and vigorous) as it really does stay in place quite well
Cons:
  • This brace is not going to fit properly on those who have a bony bump at the bottom of their thumb (a condition related to the progression of arthritis)

Tip:
People who don’t have normal muscle tone in their thumb are probably going to experience fit problems with this brace and we advise you to select from among the other four options here.

6. OK- Spacer Thumb Wrap

OK- Spacer Thumb Wrap

Amazon

This brace packs a punch with its no neoprene, no latex and no allergy design. It's actually made from quick dry yarn which is really cool. It also features a removable thumb splint. As an FDA approved medical device, this is perfect for those suffering from a sprained thumb, broken thumb, skier's thumb, trigger and keeper thumb, and a host of other thumb problems ("texting thumb" cough cough).

Pros:
  • Awesome for sports like golf, tennis, badminton, cricket and cycling
  • Keeps its fit all day
  • It's totally fine to be tossed in the wash
Cons:
  • Velcro has trouble sticking

7. Smart Thumb Splint by IMAK RSI

IMAK RSI Smart Thumb Splint for Carpal Tunnel

Amazon

We made sure to include this brace because it targets both arthritis & carpal tunnel symptoms. With carpal tunnel cases on the rise along with today's increased use of computers and technology, more often than not you may be suffering from carpal tunnel pain too. This one can be worn on either hand. It can be worn during the repetitive activities that cause you pain for support and relief. Use while typing and more without losing the thumb's range of motion.

Pros:
  • Works really well for crafting and knitting
  • Can help with tendonitis pain (perhaps reducing the need for cortisone shots)
  • Thumb is held in a pain free position
Cons:
  • Sizing runs tight on some

Tips for Wearing a Thumb Brace for Arthritis:

Once you have a brace, you can take some additional steps to further help you with your arthritis pain. Try these steps:

  • Ice your thumb when it swells
  • Use heat to minimize stiffness and get the thumb joint loosened up and relaxed
  • Buy a bottle and jar opener so your thumb doesn’t have to exert pressure in an awkward way
  • Don’t try to shove your thumb into uncomfortable tools. Instead, buy tools that better accommodate your thumb
  • Change your coffee mug and your scissors
    • There are two items you probably use a lot that are particularly uncomfortable for your thumbs: your coffee mug and scissors. But, did you know that coffee mugs have handles that come in a variety of sizes? I just bought a new one myself because my thumb was sore, and now I drink my morning coffee and revel in how great it feels to comfortably hold my coffee (my thumb is no longer squished!). Scissors also come with different size finger and thumb holes. Definitely, avoid using child scissors because they have no room for adult thumbs.

Arthritis & Your Nutrition

Arthritis, for many people, is episodic. In other words, flare-ups of arthritis symptoms come and go or have peaks and lulls. It’s hard to pinpoint exact nutrition remedies for this condition because there are so many factors that cause arthritis and the episodic nature makes it hard for researchers to discern whether food is truly behind positive changes in arthritis or if the person just experienced a lull in their symptoms due to the episodic nature of the condition. Nevertheless, if you are looking for even more ways to maximize the benefits your brace is offering you, try following these bits of dietary advice:

  • Supplement with fish oil
    • Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that affect the ability of the body to make chemicals that spark inflammation of the joints and cartilage destruction
    • It can take up to 3 months for the benefits (anti-inflammatory properties) of fish oil to be noticeable
  • Reduce your intake of omega-6 fatty acids
    • This promotes the work of chemicals that work to produce arthritic symptoms
    • Omega-6 fatty acids are found in foods like vegetable oil, salad dressing and mayonnaise

Sometimes people also find that reducing dairy and red meat helps lessen their arthritis symptoms.

Finding the Best Thumb Brace for Arthritis

Don’t wait longer than necessary to get a brace for arthritis in the thumb. It can’t be stressed enough how important your thumbs are in your ability to go about your daily activities (even the most basic ones). We’ve picked out 5 great braces. Each brace offers its unique pros and cons. As always, speak with your doctor, take time in doing research on your particular arthritic condition, and make the choice that is right for you. We don’t think you’ll go wrong with any of these choices, but choosing the one that is best suited to your individual needs is a smart choice.

Hope this article has been helpful :)

Sources:

Nutrition Therapy & Pathophysiology by Marcia Nelms, Kathryn P. Sucher, Karen Lacey, Sara Long Roth 2nd ed. 2011. Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

http://www.orthop.washington.edu/?q=patient-care/hand/thumb-arthritis.html

Amanda Ghosh
Amanda Ghosh

Amanda has a Masters of Science in Nutrition from Syracuse University which equipped her with courses applied to licensure as a dietitian. She also worked as a Program Director for the Wellness and Fitness Department for the YMCA. She is well versed in physical fitness, with a certificate from the National Academy of Sports Medicine in physical fitness training. She has taught numerous fitness classes, including college courses in the Athletic Department, as an adjunct instructor, at the SUNY University at Buffalo. She currently resides with her husband in the NYC area, and loves to put her knowledge of anatomy and physiology to use by being active. Both her and her husband are self-declared "foodies."


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