IT Technician’s / Developer’s Guide to Ergonomics, Hand Braces

Every Bit Counts

As I outlined in the first part of this article, every small improvement adds up when it comes to ergonomics. No one improvement is going to make your environment perfect. At this point your hands are probably already damaged so even the smallest repeated agitation can cause problems.

Hand / Carpal Tunnel Braces

Forces me to maintain good form

Forces me to maintain good form

If I had to choose the single most helpful thing for me in treating symptoms. It would be my hand braces. I can tell how much they help, because on laundry day when I don’t have them, I fatigue much quicker than when I have them. Good quality hand braces immobilise your hands and limits movement to only areas that should move. They surprisingly help with a lot more than wrist pain, as they help to hold your hands in a healthy position.

Now they look a little silly, and people will crack a joke or two. I don’t usually take them off at the office even when I’m not at the computer, and that’s a running joke. But, that said, you get so used to having them on, you forget them at times. I wear them while driving too, because gripping the steering wheel can get uncomfortable after about an hour or two.

Don’t cheap out on hand braces

These things are going to be strapped to your hands every day, for hours. Anything remotely wrong with them is going to slowly amplify until you hate them. If they don’t fit very comfortably, that small agitation will make you want to use them less which is a terrible idea.  I have some cheap braces, and they don’t hold up very well to abuse, $20 seems to be the price difference between garbage and great.

They will start to stink

Oh hell do they stink. Think about all the times you’ve felt your palms being sweaty? Yeah, that’s all going into your hand braces. Get machine washable braces. The good ones let you remove the metal supports, and pop them right into the washing machine with your laundry. Mine say cold wash only, but I’ve had no problems putting them in with my ‘warm’ laundry. I probably should hand wash them, but I figure if I get six less months of life out of them it was worth it not having to hand wash them every week. I’m about to buy two more sets, so that I can wear them just like clothes. This way I’m always wearing a clean pair. I’d really recommend once you find a pair you like, in the right sizing, by a bunch of them, and keep them in your dresser. Change them just like other clothes, they get more abuse than most clothes.

Get Braces with both upper and lower support

Thermoskin Carpal Tunnel Braces with Dorsal Stay

Thermoskin Carpal Tunnel Braces with Dorsal Stay

I have a pair that only covers the bottom half of the brace. I thought it was great, but I always kind of wished it had a top support to keep my hands from curling up on the keyboard. Fortunately, I got my current pair, unknowingly they did indeed have a top support. The difference is remarkable. Furthermore, because the top support doesn’t let my hands curl up in an unnatural way, I can actually adjust my desk so that my fingers are coming out my braces are the perfect straight angle with no bends. You don’t realise how much that centimetre or two makes a difference until you’ve tried both with and without adjusting the desk.

What works for me