Question: I’ve been prescribed to wear a couple of braces to give my thumbs and wrists some rest (kind of diffuse tendinitis / de quervain). The doctor that prescribed them said nothing about when to wear them, but the guy who made them said to wear them at work, and to leave them out (off?) when not working. However, I remember reading on this list the opposite – not wearing them at work, but only when you rest/sleep. Now I’m confused? What would be the reasons to wear or not wear them at work?
Answer 1: First of all, it depends on what sorts of brace that you have right now. I usually would prescribe two braces for my clients, one is hard and the other one is soft. I recommend my client to wear the hard one in night time and the soft one for work during the acute phase, i.e. first 6-8 weeks after the onset of the pain or during the stage when the pain is sharp in nature if the onset of pain is more than 6-8 weeks. The sole purpose is to protect the injured body parts (those are the extensor pollicis brevis and the abductor pollicis longus in your situation) from further injury, and let you body heal the damage. Gradually, you have to wind off the braces if the pain is subsiding, otherwise your muscles would be weakened by prolonged usage of the braces.
Answer 2: Are you suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome?? If you are so unlucky to be suffered from CTS, I agree with your PT that the wrist brace should be worn only in night time. However, sometimes I would recommend my client to wear the brace at work if the numbness is so severe to influence your work performance.
Answer 3: I have been wearing wrist support straps (the Velcro type with metal inserts) for the last six months. I started wearing them at work when typing but became concerned about wearing them all the time. My physiotherapist recommended wearing them only at night when sleeping because I should have awareness of my “proper” wrist position while awake, which of course is not the case when in deep slumber!