One of the downsides of having been at a keyboard for [mumble, mumble] years for too many hours each day, is that you start having these annoying little problems with Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI). The most publicized being Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), but there’s also tendonitis, arthritis, and—if you ignore the symptoms for too long—nerve damage…possibly permanent.
Like most people who develop RSIs, my pride of not wanting to be “one of those people” delayed my seeking help. The result was so debilitating that I was unable to type normally for months—in fact, at one point it was so bad I needed both hands to weakly hold my toothbrush so I could brush my teeth.. In the course of rehabilitating myself, I tried a number of wrist supports. There are scores, if not hundreds, of options available. For the most part, it’s hit-or-miss. You basically have to keep trying them until you find one that works for you.
I ended my rounds of trial-and-error when I got the BioSkin Cock-up Wrist Support. Despite the unfortunate name, it was exactly what I needed to speed my recovery. The two aluminum splints in the brace are removable–which makes washing easier, and offers a less restricting option for those days when I don’t need quite so much support. The palm-side splint curves around the heel of the hand to ease the pressure on the carpal tunnel area and is still comfortable to wear.
I make no claims that this is the right support for any particular person or situation other than my own. That said, I don’t hesitate in listing it among the supports RSI sufferers might consider trying.
Since I write so much and/or spend several hours a day using my hands while doing art, it’s all too easy for me to over-work my hands. Usually, just wearing splints on my wrists each night as I sleep serves as an effective prophylactic, but when it isn’t I’ll don a brace during the day for force me to take care of my hands lest they become infirm again. So, I’m not just a casual user of these supports. I depend on them daily. I do admit, it can be a bit annoying sleeping with what are more-or-less light casts on your arms, but the alternative is much worse.
The only real downside, which is not exclusive by any means to this product, is that the loop part of the hook-and-loop strap system leaves something to be desired as time goes on (meaning years). I solved it by sewing in place the loop part of some hook-and-loop tape I got at the big-box store. Problem solved for much less money than buying a new set of supports.
If you have any pain in your wrists or forearms when you are at the keyboard, these are *Highly* recommended (though, as I said, your meterage may vary).
Original version published November 30, 2005, 2:01pm