Activities that require you to repeatedly move your hand or wrist can eventually lead to injury in your nerves, joints and the connective tissues in your hand .
Other causes of hand pain may be due to systematic diseases such as osteoarthritis, De Quervain’s tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, or degenerative joint disease.
The pain can develop suddenly or gradually in the thumb, wrist or arm and may even travel up the forearm, depending on the cause of the pain.
This is where thumb splints, braces and stabilizers come in.
In simple terms, they are designed to help with the healing of swollen, weak and damaged joints and thumbs, along with other conditions as well.
Other treatment includes medication, steroid injections, physical therapy and in some cases surgery might be required.
However, in most cases, these can be costly and may come with side-effects.
Thumb splints, braces and stabilizers are more cost-effective and there are no harmful side-effects associated with this mode of treatment.
In this article, we’ll share vital information about thumb splints— highlighting their benefits and the available options.
We’ll also review the best thumb braces and splints on the market, and then chose our favourite from the list.
How Does Wearing a Thumb Splint Help?
Thumb braces work by helping to decrease movement, and allowing you to rest the joints and encourage the correct position for your thumb.
The brace/splint immobilizes the thumb, while allowing the other fingers freedom of movement.
Additionally, thumb splints can help to reduce pain by compressing the thumb joint, and in some cases protect the joint while you participate in rigorous activities.
Some of these thumb braces can be worn all day, while others are meant to be worn for a specified period only.
The period of use is often stated on the product, or you can get further clarity from your physician.
Who can Benefit from Using a Thumb Splint?
Thumb splints help with the healing process for those suffering from thumb, or wrist pain, injuries and related conditions.
Persons suffering from certain hand disabilities, repetitive strain injuries, or anyone recovering from thumb surgery can benefit from using a thumb splint.
Verywellhealth also suggests this option as a non-surgical mode of treatment for thumb arthritis.
If your work involves repetitive movements that can cause wrist pain or strain, you can also use a thumb splint to aid with this issue.
Types of Thumb Splints
Thumb splints are available in different sizes, colours and types, and they are made from different materials.
Some are lightweight and thin covering only the thumb, while others are thicker and provide coverage for the thumb, wrists and parts of the hand.
There are so many different shapes, sizes and types to choose from, where do you even start?
It’s always best to choose an item that is conducive to your specific condition.
Here are some common types of thumb splints you’ll come across while searching for your ideal pick.
If you work outdoors or outside of the office these thumb braces work best because of the plastic material.
They are waterproof and you can easily wipe away any dirt or grime that may get on the device.
Some thumb braces are made from softer materials such as neoprene or micro-fleece, and they may have metal inserts.
The softer materials allow for less irritation on the skin and are often more comfortable than hard plastic.
These are ideal for persons with sensitive skin, although it does depend on the type of soft material used.
Hand & Wrist Brace
This type covers the thumb, wrist and parts of the hand.
They are most ideal if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome which usually affects the wrist and can cause radiating tingling and pain in the hand.
Some thumb splints live up to their name; they only cover the thumb.
Persons with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ligament instability, thumb sprain or recovering from thumb surgery can utilize this option.
These tend to be lighter and thinner than the hand and wrist splints, and can usually be worn underneath your gloves.
They can also be comfortably worn while working, doing household chores or participating in recreational activities.
Features to Look for When Buying a Thumb Splint
If you’ve never used a thumb splint before, you might be overwhelmed when trying to narrow down your options.
If you decide that a thumb splint is the best option for your condition, here are some essential features to ensure you get the best thumb brace for your money.
Some products are designed specifically for either the left or right hand, they are not all designed for both.
Look for a reversible thumb stabilizer that can be worn on both hands, especially if you frequently suffer from thumb or wrist sprains and strains.
This is not just about comfort and durability; some materials may also cause an allergic reaction.
If you have sensitive skin, stay away from anything with latex or rough materials that can rub on the skin and cause irritation.
The material should be durable but flexible enough to allow mobility.
You should also opt for breathable fabric to dissipate sweat and allow for maximum comfort while being worn.
Ease and Flexibility
Ease-of-use is very important in any product, functionally and flexibility are equally important as well.
You don’t want a product that is hard to get on and off, this can further aggravate the damaged area and delay the healing process.
When narrowing down your options, consider the unique features that the other available products don’t have.
Some of the thumb braces on our list have interesting features such as antimicrobial treatment to prevent stains and odours, dual spring stabilizers for proper mobilization, and contoured inserts for custom fit.
Evaluate these qualities to determine which ones are important to you, and then make your decision.
The Best Thumb Splints, Braces and Stabilizers
Now that you know what to look for when purchasing your thumb splint, we’ve rounded up some of the best thumb braces.
Durability, price, effectiveness and customer feedback factored into our decision to highlight these viable options.
1. Mueller Sports Thumb Stabilizer
Made from breathable fabrics for extended wear this thumb stabilizer from Mueller is designed to help with your tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, arthritis degenerative joint disease and other issues such as a weak, sore or injured thumb.
One unique component is the inclusion of an antimicrobial treatment which is designed to eliminate and/or prevents stains and odours – often caused by the growth of bacteria and microorganisms.
It comes in colours beige and black with three adjustable straps for a custom fit; it’s reversible for use on your left or right hand and covers your thumb, wrist and a portion of the hand.
If you are allergic to latex, this is not the thumb brace for you, also the neoprene material can be stiff and heavy, and the sizing option is not ideal for small hands.
However, this option is reversible, breathable and comes at a cheap price for those on tight a budget.
Pros: Cheap, adjustable straps, antimicrobial treatment, breathable fabric, reversible thumb stabilizer
Cons: Neoprene material is stiff and heavy, size doesn’t fit small hands, contains latex
2. Bracoo Thumb and Wrist Brace
The Bracoo Thumb and Wrist Brace is made with superior-quality, breathable fabric and has a lightweight, versatile design.
There are perforated moisture vents throughout the entire surface of the brace which allows for easy dissipation of sweat.
This feature not only helps to prevent and/or reduce skin irritation but it ensures your optimal comfort throughout the day or night.
Additionally, the breathable neoprene material helps to increases blood circulation to the area without excess perspiration.
Another enviable feature is the dual metal splints which immobilize the wrist and lower thumb to ease pain from chronic trigger finger, tenosynovitis, Carpometacarpal injuries, repetitive stress injury, and sports-related thumb and wrist strains.
Users were not impressed with the bulkiness in the wrist section, and many complained about the small size of the thumb opening.
Nonetheless, this wrist brace has a reversible design, breathable fabric and unique dual spring stabilizers; a good selection if you’re a first- time user.
Pros: Dual-spring stabilizers, breathable fabric, reversible design
Cons: Thumb opening is too small, wrist section is bulky
3. Push Thumb Brace
Smaller and less restrictive than some of the other options, this thumb brace from Push can be comfortably worn during household activities or at work.
Unlike the options from Bracco and Mueller, this one only offers support for the thumb.
It has been proven to optimize function and relieve thumb CMC osteoarthritis pain, and if worn early in the early stage of diagnosis, may even prevent distal joint deformity.
This thumb brace has a contoured metal insert, which allows for custom fit and stability without impeding your movement.
Furthermore, this option is latex-free and is so slim and lightweight it can even be worn under a glove.
It offers full palm support and comes in five sizes.
The downsides are; this option is not reversible, the velcro straps don’t work well and it is one of the most expensive braces on our list.
However, if money is not an issue, give this small, lightweight device a try. It’s latex-free and offers a custom fit.
Pros: Contoured metal insert offers custom fit, latex-free, can be worn under gloves
Cons: Not reversible, expensive, velcro straps don’t work well
4. Futuro Deluxe Thumb Stabilizer
The Futuro Deluxe Thumb Stabilizer helps aching, sore and weak thumbs while offering moderate support and stability to your lower thumb joints.
It has a durable lacing system which is easily adjustable, and the snug, ergonomic fit still allows for proper range of motion.
This allows you to wear the device during daily activities at work or at home.
The soft, breathable materials enhance comfort, thanks to the convenient design.
This deluxe thumb stabilizer can be worn on your left or right hand.
It is available in black, and the sizes offered are small/medium and large/X-large.
However, Futuro needs better thumb support and the company does not provide a return policy – a major complaint for users.
Nonetheless, if you want a cost-effective product that offers an ergonomic fit and is made from soft, breathable material, this is the one for you.
Pros: Ergonomic fit, soft, breathable material, cost-effective
Cons: Not eligible for return, inadequate thumb support
5. BraceAbility Hard Plastic Thumb Splint
This thumb splint is made from hard plastic and is designed to help those suffering from gamekeeper’s thumb, skier’s thumb osteoarthritis and De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
Additionally, if you suffer from pain associated with post-op recovery, arthritic thumbs, or any sprains, fractures, injuries or dislocation of the thumb, this can prove helpful as well.
This durable, waterproof device is made from latex-free, perforated polyamide plastic and has an elastic, medical-grade Velcro wrist strap.
The splint comes with a soft, polyester undersleeve for added comfort and to avoid irritation or chafing of the skin.
BraceAbility’s product is also hypoallergenic and there are three sizes available for both the right and the left hand.
The plastic edges might be rough on the skin, and the velcro weakens in some instances.
Despite these complaints, this is a waterproof, hypoallergenic selection; a good choice to consider if you have sensitive skin.
Pros: Waterproof, can be worn beneath gloves, hypoallergenic
Cons: Velcro straps malfunction, plastic edges rubs on skin
6. BIOSKIN Thumb Stabilizer Brace
This reversible thumb stabilizer from BioSkin works on both the left and right hand to treat bursitis, arthritis, thumb sprains and De Quervains.
The brace’s easy-to-use design allows you full use of your fingers while being worn.
Touted as the most lightweight and comfortable option available, it is made from soft micro-fleece and all the BioSkin products are 100% latex and neoprene free.
It is moderately priced and available in sizes x-small/medium and large/xx-large.
Some users noted that the large option was too tight, and there seems to be a construction issue with the aluminium plates.
However, this product is moderately priced, reversible and hypoallergenic; if you have sensitive skin this might a good brace for you.
Pros: Latex and neoprene free, reversible thumb stabilizer, full use of fingers while being worn
Cons: Aluminium plate falls out easily, fits tight for some
7. FLA 3D Adjustable Thumb Brace
The 3D Adjustable Thumb Brace from FLA is a useful product for ligament instability, rheumatoid arthritis, soft tissue injuries, thumb osteoarthritis and postoperative immobilization.
This Red Dot Award-winning design ensures the immobilization of the MCP and CMC joints.
It ultimately restricts thumb movement while allowing you to maintain the daily functionality of your hand.
This latex-free brace is made primarily from thermoplastic polyurethane, a core out of aluminium alloy with straps made out of polyamide.
These materials are dirt and water repellent plus the moldable aluminium core is easily adjustable for a seamless fit.
Offering stability and functionality, comfort is also an important component in this design, as evidenced by the smooth edges of this design.
Complaints are that the velcro wears out quickly, and the material can get hot and sticky. Some users also had issues with the straps.
Despite the complaints, it is reasonably priced and is perfect if you work outdoors, since it is dirt and water repellent.
Pros: Red Dot Award-winning design, latex-free, dirt and water repellent
Cons: Velcro wore out quickly, straps need improvement, material gets hot and sticky
6. Copper Compression Long Thumb Brace
This thumb brace from Copper Compression is guaranteed to have the highest copper content compared to others on the market.
It is reversible so you can use on your right and left hand and is made from breathable, lightweight fabric which aids in all-day support and relief.
It features an aluminum support bar with 3 adjustable straps to guarantee a firm and supportable fit.
It is designed to support and stabilize the lower thumb joint, wrist and around the knuckle area.
Your purchase also comes with a 100% money back guarantee.
The complaints about this product were about the quality as it came apart at the seams for some persons.
Others noted that it was uncomfortable due to one size fits all feature.
Pros: Reversible, has highest copper content, features aluminum support bar with 3 adjustable straps.
Cons: Too tight for some people and too large for others, not the best quality, only once size available.
7. DropSky Gel Wrist Thumb Support Braces
This ergonomically designed wrist brace is 100% waterproof and provides support during the day or while you sleep.
The breathable and flexible brace expands to fit the size of your hand, offering maximum comfort and support.
It can be worn on both hands and comes in 4 pieces that are easy to assemble and fit.
It features lots of elasticity and is made from rubber-latex that is antibacterial and easy to clean.
The thumb brace is very durable and is made with SEBS gel which is purported to be the strongest gel on the market.
Buyers complained about the lack of moisture support for this product and that it fits very tight despite the flexible material.
However, if you have small hands this may be just the support you’re looking for.
Pros: 100% waterproof, product is antibacterial and easy to clean, made with strongest gel on the market.
Cons: Not for persons with rubber or latex allergy, does not offer any moisture support.
8. Bauerfeind RhizoLoc Thumb Stabilizer
This thumb stabilizer offers an option for the left and right hand and is made from breathable, latex-free material.
It features air pores in the design allows air circulated through the material during use which allows the skin to breathe.
Furthermore, it has shapeable aluminium in the straps to ensure adequate stability in the joint of your thumb and in the thumb saddle.
It allows you to use your thumb during daily activities and at night the straps can be loosened to eliminate compression while you sleep.
This product only has 2 size options for each hand.
Buyers also complained that the velcro closure gave out in a few weeks and that the brace wasn’t very comfortable.
But the latex-free material is a major plus and the air pores makes it a good pick for hot climates.
Pros: Has air pores, made from latex-free material, has shapeable aluminum in the straps.
Cons: Not reversible, does not offer a variety of sizes, Velcro wears out very easily.
9. Vive Arthritis Thumb Splint
This thumb splint from Vive is available in gray, black and beige and is ideal for carpal tunnel, repetitive stress injury as well as sprains and strains.
It fits both the right and left hand and is fully adjustable thanks to the 3 extra-strength fastening straps.
This product is made from breathable neoprene fabric to keep the area cool during use and while you sleep.
The brace has 2 ergonomically designed aluminum splints to help immobilize the thumb, while giving you full use of the remaining fingers.
These lightweight and removable metal splints also offer support for the thumb when engaged in activities that require flexibility.
Buyers complained that the brace only comes in one size and they had issues with fitting, some also noted that the velcro wears off easily and the wrist support is weak.
But, keep in mind that this is a very cost-friendly option that can be worn on the left or right hand.
Pros: Has 2 ergonomically designed aluminium splints, item is reversible, made from breathable neoprene fabric, fully adjustable
Cons: Only available in one size, needs more wrist support, Velcro wears off easily.
10. Comfort Cool Thumb CMC Restriction Splint
This restriction splint has an option for the right and left hand and is available in sizes small to large— offering mid to light weight compression support for CMC joint pain.
It boasts a patented contour thumb strap that is padded and wraps around the base of the thumb for proper joint support and compression.
It is also designed to be less irritating on the skin thanks to the minimal edge stitching.
The Comfort Cool thumb brace is made with lightweight, perforated neoprene material and features a soft terry cloth liner to absorb excess moisture.
Buyers shared the thumb brace runs small and that the velcro wore out very quickly. However, this one is moderately priced and is a good pick if you need CMC joint support.
Pros: Minimal edge stitching to prevent skin irritation, patented contour thumb strap, neoprene material absorbs excess moisture.
Cons: Velcro wears out very quickly, product runs small.
Best Thumb Brace Recommendation
Proving that more expensive doesn’t always mean better, the Mueller Sports Thumb Stabilizer gets a top pick for its cheap price and much more.
Made from breathable material, it also boasts an exclusive feature – the inclusion of antimicrobial treatment.
This unique component helps to eliminate and prevents stains and odours which are caused by the growth of bacteria and microorganisms.
This reversible stabilizer can be used on both the left and right hand, and comes in two colours, black and beige.
It is designed to help with your tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, arthritis degenerative joint disease and other issues such as weak, sore or injured thumbs.
If you’ve never used a thumb brace before then go for this option; it is durable, firm and effective, plus you can’t beat the price.
Before this article ends it’s important to remind you to read the instructions on the product packaging carefully to avoid any harm or further injury when using your thumb splint.
If the thumb splint causes pain or restricts your movement, it is either too small or simply not the right option for you.
If you need additional advice, consult with a physical therapist or other professional.
We must also tell you that it may take some time to get the best out of your thumb splint but relief and healing should come with consistent use.
Just ensure that you follow the directions carefully and wear the device for the recommended period of time.