Compression gloves are designed to provide therapeutic compression to the wrists, hands and fingers, together with support and warmth. The compression they provide improves blood circulation through the wrists and hands. As a result, your hands and wrists receive an enhanced supply of nutrient rich and freshly oxygenated blood that will relieve sore and tired hands and wrists.
Comp[ression gloves are probably most frequently worn to relieve the symptoms of wrist arthritis. In addition, they can help to improve recovery time from other hand and wrist injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and sprained wrists. These benefits are explained in greater detail below.
Because of their role in helping to relieve the symptoms of wrist arthritis, these gloves are sometimes also referred to as arthritis gloves or arthritic gloves. Yet another popular name for them is therapy gloves.
They are available in many different styles, including copper infused, open finger, etc. You can therefore choose from a wide range of styles to satisfy your individual tastes. Below, we outline the results of a study that provide some evidence that compression gloves all provide broadly similar benefits irrespective of brand or style.
Other Benefits Of Compression Gloves
We outline below some of the other benefits that compression gloves are believed to offer.
However, we should point out that there is some evidence that their use can be counter productive in some cases. Later in this article, we discuss the results of a study that indicate that there may be adverse effects when compression gloves are used to treat those suffering from both wrist arthritis and carpal tunnel.syndrome.
As a result, we counsel those considered wearing these gloves to treat unspecified medical conditions to seek medical advice before proceeding.
As mentioned above, compression gloves are frequently worn to combat the pain and joint stiffness of wrist arthritis, particularly when rheumatoid arthritis is involved. They provide warmth to relieve joint stiffness. In addition, their therapeutic compression is believed to help relieve the inflammation that is central to some types of arthritis (like rheumatoid arthritis) and the pain that it may cause.
The support offered by compression gloves can be helpful in relieving some of the stress being experienced by injured hand/wrist ligaments and tendons. This allows them to rest and recover more quickly than would otherwise be possible.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Therapy gloves are also sometimes chosen to combat the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, which are sometimes similar to those of wrist arthritis (i.e. wrist pain and stiffness upon awakening in the morning). The warmth, support and compression offered by these gloves is believed to be helpful in easing the stiffness, pain and tingling that carpal tunnel sufferers frequently experience.
Improved Blood Circulation
The improved blood circulation from compression gloves can help to heal a broader range of wrist injuries, including wrist sprains, strains, general tiredness and soreness.
Those suffering from non specific wrist stiffness and swelling are also believed to be helped by the compression and warmth offered by these gloves. The warmth helps to reduce wrist joint pain and improve range of motion.
A Review Of A Study Into The Benefits Of Compression Gloves To Wrist Arthritis Patients
A 1991 study was carried out by McKnight & Kwoh to investigate the ability of two different brands of compression glove to reduce pain and swelling as well as provide other benefits to patients suffering from rheumatoid wrist arthritis.
The study was a randomized, controlled trial and was based on observations of 39 patients
suffering from hand synovitis due to the effects of rheumatoid arthritis.
After seven days of wearing compression gloves, the researchers found that both brands reduced pain and stiffness compared to the control group. The results were determined to be significant at the 5% level, meaning that there was less than a one in twenty chance that the results seen could have been reproduced in the absence of any underlying effect from wearing compression gloves. In other words, the probability of this being a false positive result was lease than one in twenty.
The gloves were also found to reduce swelling of the proximal interphalangeal (figer) joints, with the results determined to be significant at the 5% level.
Other measures of wrist joint function also showed improvement, including joint range of motion, rate of finger motion and grip strength.
Two additional points should be noted concerning the study results:
The results were found to be similar with either brand of compression glove. This provides preliminary evidence that the choice of brand or style may not have a marked effect on the therapeutic benefits received;
12 of 13 patients who were also suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome experienced temporary worsening of symptoms. This may point to the need for additional medical advice for those with both wrist arthritis and carpal tunnel before a decision is taken to wear compression gloves.