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May 2, 2006

Carpel Lock Review

In February I diagnosed myself with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. I mentioned that I had bought some cheap wrist braces and I didn't like them. I still don't like them. I also bought some better ones online. Well I've had a few months with the Carpel Locks and I really like them.

These pictures were taken with my Treo, so excuse the poor quality. They link to larger images of my hairy, beefy forearms. My wrists are 7.5 inches around; their chart suggested Large braces, and they fit great.

The ones they sent me are tan, not the black ones in the picture on their site. I don't guess it matters either way, neither really matches my skin tone so it's not like either color makes it less obvious I've got these big-ass braces on my forearms. The braces are about 8 inches long and have three straps. Two "stretchy" straps that wrap around the forearm and one "non-stretchy" strap that wraps around the palm. There is one pad that attaches to the brace and fits between the brace and back of hand. There is another pad that goes at the opposite end of the brace and provides comfort for the forearm. The pads and two elastic straps can be removed for cleaning. The brace itself is covered with light padding and material. The internal part of the brace that runs parallel with your forearm is made of either strong plastic or metal which does not flex unless you take it off and try to bend it; even then it doesn't flex much.

They seem very sturdy; after a couple months of heavy wear, they look much like they did when I first pulled them out of the box. The only exception is the two elastic straps; they seem to have lost some of their elasticity at the point where the velcro attaches. This is only at one section on each strap and since the rest of the strap is still very elastic, it doesn't cause any problems.

When I first got them, I wore them to bed every night. They almost completely solved the problem of waking several times every night with numb-painful arms. When I sleep, I've found that I can't wear them as tightly as I do during the day because it can cause a different kind of soreness, people with this problem can easily feel the difference. The solution was simply to wear them a little more losely at night. They are very comfortable to sleep in; they are not hot and don't rub. Now I wear them almost every night, I won't wear them some nights to give myself a "break" from some of the soreness that can result from wearing them almost 24/7.

I wear them a lot during the day. I have found them most usefull while using the computer and driving. I'll often wear them just while relaxing or watching TV. I feel like a knob when I wear them in public and try to avoid it as much as possible. When I first got them I found myself accidentally hitting keys on the keyboard; this was due to bad wrist position and have trained myself to hold my wrists up to avoid this. I think I type slightly slower while wearing them I do without them, but it's not by much.

After wearing them overnight or for a few hours during the day, you might find they make your forearms stink a little. Barely noticeable, but it might be time to wash the braces. I've also developed some dry patches on the tops of my forearms where they touch the pads. When I first commented on this to my wife, she just put lotion on my forearms and that seemed to fix the problem. I don't like using lotion because I hate having greasy hands, it smells "fruity", I'm lazy, and I think it conflicts with my idea of masculinity.

My hands still go numb sometimes, but it's much more rare then it was. The tip of my middle finger on my left hand is pretty numb all the time; I'm guessing there was some kind of nerve damage. From what I've read, it takes a long time for these nerves to heal if they do at all. When I'm not wearing the braces, just being careful to keep my wrists straight works well, too.

In conclusion, the Carpel Locks work great. I would highly reccommend them to anyone suffering with CTS. They aren't hot, are comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and don't put any pressure on the Carpel Tunnel (unlike the more common wrist braces).

Posted 14 years, 4 months ago on May 2, 2006
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