Your wrist is an essential part of your hand. It affects your grasp and helps you perform everyday tasks, such as driving, cooking, typing, and more. If you can’t move your wrist freely or injure it, you’ll struggle to perform simple everyday tasks, and you may need to wear a wrist hand orthosis. But what exactly is it and should you wear one? In this article, we’ll explore key things you need to know about wrist braces and supports.

What is Wrist Immobilization Orthosis?

wrist orthosis

An orthosis is a device that supports a certain part of the body. Thus, as the name suggests, a wrist immobilization orthosis supports the wrist.

Also known as a wrist hand orthosis, a wrist immobilization orthosis supports the joints, ligaments, nerves, bones, and tissues that affect wrist mobility. Generally, wrist immobilization orthosis provides support by limiting wrist movement while allowing the fingers to move freely.

There’s also a special orthosis called a wrist hand finger orthosis that reaches the fingertips and thumb.

Who Should Wear Wrist Hand Orthosis?

A wrist hand orthosis can help to treat wrist injuries and alleviate wrist pain and can benefit people with injuries and conditions such as:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Wrist sprains and fractures
  • Wrist tendinitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Radial nerve palsy
  • Wrist drop

Why to Wear a Wrist Hand Orthosis

An orthosis is primarily worn to provide support to the wrist after injury or to treat and manage medical conditions. In addition, here are some more aims to this treatment:

  • Support the wrist after surgery
  • Protect the hand and wrist after an injury
  • Alleviate pain arising from conditions such as wrist tendinitis and arthritis
  • Limit wrist movement 
  • Allow light use of the injured wrist 
  • Improve grasp strength
wrist hand orthosis

What is Wrist Drop?

Wrist drop is a condition that paralyzes the wrist and the extensor muscles causing the wrist to droop. As a result, wrist drop greatly limits hand functionality because it renders tasks with the fingers pointed upwards pretty much impossible.

Fortunately, an orthosis can rebalance the muscles in the wrist, enabling the hand to stand upright and restore normal function to the hand.

Which Orthosis is Used in Wrist Drop?

There are various types of wrist hand orthosis, such as:

  • Post-operative
  • Gauntlet
  • Scaphoid
  • Hypermobility
  • Resting

For wrist drop treatment, many physical therapists and doctors recommend resting hand orthosis because they support the flaccid wrist by putting it in a functional resting position while helping it to regain strength.

What is a Resting Hand Orthosis Used For?

A resting hand orthosis can be used for wrist drop treatment. Additionally, a resting hand orthosis can be worn after surgery to minimize pain, prevent deformity and manage conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and hand trauma.

Is a Wrist Splint Considered an Orthotic?

The terms wrist splint, wrist brace, and wrist hand orthosis are sometimes used interchangeably. That said, a wrist splint is also considered an orthotic because, like other orthotic devices, it supports weak or injured wrists.

Final Word on Wrist Hand Orthosis

A wrist hand orthosis can be useful in the treatment of many conditions and injuries. If you’re considering using one for any of the conditions or injuries mentioned above, consult your physical therapist or doctor.