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How to Wrap Your Wrist

Kathryn Milbert, OTD, OTR/L, one of Summit’s registered and licensed occupational therapists, gives tips on wrapping your wrist the right way.

If you’re experiencing wrist pain, one common conservative measure is RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. For compression, some people turn to an ACE-style bandage, a flexible, reusable strip that wraps around an injured joint. It’s available over the counter at drugstores or other retailers. It’s important to wrap your wrist the right way, in order to get the benefit. Here are some tips from Summit occupational therapist Kathryn Milbert, OTD, OTR/L.

1. Start to wrap your wrist in the palm

Place one end of the bandage in the palm of your injured wrist, making sure that the Velcro’s rough edge is facing up, so that it doesn’t irritate your skin while you’re wearing the bandage. Wrap around the palm, including the thumb or not, depending on the injury.

2. Use proper positioning

“As you wrap, move toward the heart. You start at the hand and move toward the elbow,” Milbert said. As you wrap, keep your wrist in a neutral, or straight, position. “You don’t want your wrist bending in any direction. The neutral position will make sure the ligaments and tendons are not receiving any increased pressure,” Milbert said.

3. Make it comfortably snug to wrap your wrist well

When it comes to how tight the wrap should be, Milbert said, the phrase she keeps in mind is “comfortably snug.” “You don’t want the wrap to shift around, but you also don’t want it to be so tight that it causes numbness, tingling, or increased pain,” Milbert said. The bandage’s strips should overlap each other by 50 percent. At the end of the bandage, you’ll use the Velcro strip to affix the edge to the bandage, securing it.

4. Consider other options

If wrist wrapping isn’t helping, there are many other options to consider. Wrist braces are available for more rigid support, keeping your wrist in a neutral position. “These can be helpful for everything from carpal tunnel syndrome to tennis elbow,” Milbert said.

In addition, Summit offers Orthopedic Urgent Care, conveniently located walk-in clinics open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. At Orthopedic Urgent Care, you can see a specialist, and Summit’s team can make a custom-fitted brace or splint (called custom orthotics) the same day.

Summit Orthopedics provides personalized hand and wrist expertise

The function of our hands is integrated through our wrists and arms to our shoulders; a problem anywhere along our arm may have a significant impact on hand function and quality of life. Summit physicians receive the highest levels of training and exclusively provide individualized care for conditions of the hand, wrist, and elbow. Start your journey to better function and less pain. Find your hand expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a consultation.

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