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 some of the best selections on the market, and then chose our favourite from the list.
Today, we’ll be looking at the following best thumb splints:
What is a Thumb Splint?
These 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 devices 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 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 splints 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 product 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 option 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 flexibly 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 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 options available.
Durability, price, effectiveness and customer feedback factored into our decision to highlight these viable options.
1. Mueller Sports Thumb Stabilizer
- Adjustable straps
- Antimicrobial treatment
- Breathable fabric
- Neoprene material is stiff and heavy
- Size doesn’t fit small hands
- Contains latex
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 stabilizer 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.
2. Bracoo Thumb and Wrist Brace
- Dual-spring stabilizers
- Breathable fabric
- Reversible design
- Thumb opening is too small
- Wrist section is bulky
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.
3. Push Thumb Brace
- Contoured metal insert offers custom fit
- Can be worn under gloves
- Not reversible
- Velcro straps don’t work well
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 palmer 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.
4. Futuro Deluxe Thumb Stabilizer
- Ergonomic fit
- Soft, breathable material
- Not eligible for return
- Inadequate thumb support
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.
5. BraceAbility Hard Plastic Thumb Splint
- Can be worn beneath gloves
- Velcro malfunction
- Plastic edges rubs on skin
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.
6. BIOSKIN Thumb Stabilizer Brace
- Latex and neoprene free
- Full use of fingers while being worn
- Aluminium plate falls out easily
- Fits tight for some
This reversible 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.
7. FLA 3D Adjustable Thumb Brace
- Red Dot Award-winning design
- Dirt and water repellent
- Velcro wore out quickly
- Straps need improvement
- Material gets hot and sticky
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.
Our Pick: Mueller Sports Thumb Stabilizer
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 thumb.
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.