Thumb brace for arthritis

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The thumb is very large. Its wide range of movement allows it to perform many tasks. The joint is more likely to get old over time because of this mobility.

When the cartilage at the base of the thumb breaks down from wear and tear, it can lead to pain and loss of function, also known as basal joint arthritis. As with any type of hand arthritis, early treatment relies on modifying activities, taking anti-inflammatory drugs, and resting the joint.

A way to rest the joint is through a process called smilng, where you wear a brace to restrict the movement of your thumb.

There are a lot of options to help you find the best thumb brace.

A 2017 research review has shown that splinting can help decrease pain and functional disability. Splinting the thumb involves using a brace that’s typically made of fabric or molded plastic material.

The brace limits the use of your finger, so you can fully rest it. It’s also designed to reduce the inflammation associated with osteoarthritis of the thumb.

Who can benefit from using a thumb brace?

“A thumb brace can help people with thumb pain. The brace’s length will depend on the condition of the joint.”

The brace will help with ergonomics, inflammation, and pain.

According to one 2018 research review, finger and thumb joint arthritis is more prevalent in people over the age of 50, with the need for treatment increasing with age. Women are also more likely to develop this kind of arthritis than men.

We chose the thumb braces that were designed with materials that aimed to strike a balance between rigidity and comfort, and those that had more positive reviews than negative. We also included a range of price points.

Pricing guide

We included thumb braces with a range of prices.

  • $ = under $20
  • $$ = $20–$40
  • $$$ = over $40

Best overall thumb brace

Mueller Reversible Thumb Stabilizer

  • Price: $
  • Pros: reversible, affordable
  • Con: may not be a good option if you need total immobilization
  • Material: polyester

The most popular thumb brace is affordable. It allows for complete movement of the fingers, but limits thumb movement. The design of the straps allows it to fit many sizes, and it can work on either hand. A blend of materials is designed for long wear and odor reduction.

It has 4.5 stars out of 16,000 reviews. Many customers say the brace provides better support and comfort than other braces.

Best spica brace

Armstrong Amerika Thumb Spica Splint

  • Price: $$
  • Pros: firm support, adjustable straps
  • Con: some reviewers say the Velcro doesn’t last long
  • Material: neoprene blend

The thumb spica splint is the most heavy-duty braces on the market, and is best for people with more advanced conditions who need more restriction of movement. This one goes the extra mile by also offering wrist support.

It is made out of a blend of neoprene and spandex, which makes it durable and adds some level of breathability. It has options for both right and left hands, and in two sizes: small or large.

This spica splint has 4.5 stars out of 900 reviews on Amazon, which is a good rating for a spica splint. Many people appreciate the support it offers. They like the fact that it has straps that are more comfortable to wear.

Best push brace

Push MetaGrip CMC Thumb Brace

  • Price: $$$
  • Pro: low profile design
  • Con: pricier
  • Material: latex-free materials

“The carpometacarpal joint at the base of the thumb is stable with a push brace. It keeps the thumb in a straight line so that you can keep doing what you’re doing.”

The low-profile design of this brace makes it easier to wear all day. It is made of latex-free materials that are machine washed. It is available in x-small, small, medium, and large sizes.

The glowing customer reviews suggest that this is a good option for those who want protection with maximum hand function.

Best lace-up brace

Futuro Thumb Brace

  • Price: $
  • Pro: durable lacing
  • Con: some reviewers say it gets a bit looser with wear
  • Materials: nylon and polyester

The thumb stabilizer is a lace-up design that allows it to be fully adjusted to your thumb. You can loosen or tighten the laces depending on your thumb and stability. It is made of soft, absorbent materials and can be used on either the right or left thumb. It is available in two sizes: small or medium.

It has 4.5 stars on Amazon. Many customers praise the lightweight support it offers.

Best waterproof brace

Basko Healthcare CMCcare Thumb Brace

  • Price: $$$
  • Pro: cushioning around the thumb
  • Con: Velcro not long lasting enough
  • Material: TPU plastic, shapeable aluminum

This thumb brace is waterproof and can be used all day. The thumb is stable with the moldable stay, but the fingers and top of the thumb are free to be pinched and grabbed. The brace has rounded edges and a liner to cushion the thumb. It can be used for either the right or left hand and in sizes small, medium, or large.

Many customers report less pain and improved mobility with this brace. Some say that you may need to add additional cushioning where the plastic meets the thumb, using moleskin or similar material.

What is a stay?

A stay is a strip of metal or plastic that adds support to braces.

Price Pros Cons Material
Mueller Reversible Thumb Stabilizer $ reversible, affordable may not be a good option if you need total immobilization polyester
Armstrong Amerika Thumb Spica Splint $$ firm support, adjustable straps some reviewers say the Velcro doesn’t last long neoprene blend
Push MetaGrip CMC Thumb Brace $$$ low profile design pricier latex-free materials
Futuro Thumb Brace $ durable lacing some reviewers say it gets a bit looser with wear nylon and polyester
Basko Healthcare CMCcare Thumb Brace $$$ cushioning around the thumb Velcro not long lasting enough TPU plastic, shapeable aluminum

When shopping for a thumb brace, it is important to know which hand you need the brace for. Some manufacturers make thumb braces that fit both the left and right hand, and others make them interchangeable so that you can wear them on either hand.

The level of comfort you want while wearing the brace is the next thing to consider. Finding a brace that is comfortable is important because most conditions require wearing the brace for long periods. The material should be firm enough to not cause irritation to the skin.

A brace that restricts movement of the thumb and wrist is needed for more severe forms of thumb osteoarthritis.

Does thumb arthritis go away?

Thumb arthritis is not going away. Treatments such as splinting can help reduce pain and prevent further damage to the joint.

How long do you need to wear a thumb brace?

A typical treatment time is 3 to 4 weeks. You may need to remove the splint several times a day. You will do this to strengthen your hand and keep it moving.

A 2007 research review concluded that once the splint starts helping, it can be used during the day while gradually phasing it out over the space of 1 month. After that, the researchers recommended wearing the splint intermittently. You can do this when symptoms return or when your thumb is under a lot of stress. Doctors still generally consider this an appropriate course of treatment.

If you experience pain or a feeling of being asleep, you can use a thumb brace or a resting splint.

Should I sleep in my thumb brace?

Yes, depending on the condition of your thumb joint. A 2018 research review suggests that continuous use of a thumb brace throughout the day and into the night could be required to properly rest the thumb and make sure it stays in an ergonomic position.

It is best to check with your doctor or physical or occupational therapist about how to use your brace.

What are other ways to treat thumb arthritis?

Other conservative treatments include:

If pain and function become worse over time despite other treatments for your thumb or hand arthritis, surgery may be an option.

A brace that helps the joint rest may be able to improve the condition of the thumb. You should find a brace that supports your specific level of pain.