Introduction: Cardboard Wrist Immobilization Brace

Picture of Cardboard Wrist Immobilization Brace

Do you need to immobilize your wrist for some reason? This Ible makes a sturdy, disposable brace that will prevent flexing of your wrist.

DISCLAIMER: This Instructable is not medical advice about whether or when you should use a brace. If you think you have injured your wrist, see a doctor and get advice; you could have a fracture or a dislocation that needs urgent attention. Ask your doctor about what you need and what activities are safe for you.

My creation of this Ible was motivated by my own wrist injury, which happens to be relatively mild. I have a professionally-provided brace, but I am a runner and I wanted something I could use to immobilize my wrist while running, something that I wouldn't mind getting sweaty. This brace was an easy solution.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Sturdy cardboard
  • A sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper
  • A cutting tool like a razor knife
  • Duct tape or similar
  • A marker of some kind (not pictured)
  • A safe place to cut cardboard (a few layers of thick backing to prevent cutting the surface below)

Optional:

  • Old, clean gym sock
  • Printer that can print full bleed to the edges of an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paoer

Step 1: Step 1: Template

Picture of Step 1: Template

My experience of other braces and a failed attempt led me to the template I have provided.

In order to create the template you could print out the PDF on a printer that will print all the way to the edges of a sheet of printer paper. But if you don't have something like that, don't worry.

To transfer the pattern to any 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, notice that I have drawn a grid on the template. The grid breaks up the image into smaller rectangles that can be recreated on your sheet by folding it in half, then half again in one direction, then in half, then half again in the other direction (i.e. it's a 4 x 4 grid).

Notice in the close-up pictures, each individual rectangle is relatively easy to trace. In fact, much of the pattern touches the edge of a rectangle. In other places, freehand estimation should be relatively easy.

  • Use your preferred method to transfer the pattern in the PDF to your sheet of paper.

Step 2: Step 2: Transfer Pattern to Cardboard

Picture of Step 2: Transfer Pattern to Cardboard
Sturdy cardboard is best for this project. One source is any box used to carry bottles full of heavy liquids (like pool shock, which is what I used). Most corrugated cardboard will do, however.
NOTE on customization: My wrist is on the small side of medium for a male wrist. If you feel you have large wrists, you can extend the tab on the right. But as-is, this pattern should fit a medium-sized male wrist. You can always trim it down later if your wrist is small. You can also use the template to judge the relative size of your wrist.
  • Line up the pattern with the cardboard.The corrugations should run top to bottom, as in the picture. You want to be able to bend this around your wrist, taking advantage of the cardboard's weak direction to bend it and taking advantage of the cardboard's strong direction to support your wrist.
    • NOTE: If it matters to you what side of the cardboard is on the outside of your brace (for instance, if there is printing you don't want to see on the brace), look at all the steps before you begin and choose to transfer the pattern to the correct side of the cardboard for your desired outcome.
  • Use some method of transferring the pattern. You can cut out the template and trace it. You can use marker bleed-through. You can poke holes in the template and then play "connect the dots". Whatever works for you.

Step 3: Step 3: Cut the Cardboard

Picture of Step 3: Cut the Cardboard

  • Cut it out!

Use your sharp cutting tool.

Cut away from you. Turn the cardboard if necessary. Make sure you're not cutting through to something important underneath.

Cut away from the center of the pattern so that if you over-cut you cut the scrap not the brace.

Step 4: Step 4: Bend the Brace

Picture of Step 4: Bend the Brace

  • Bend the brace as shown in the images. This brace is completely reversible, but I am bending it in the photo for a right-handed usage.
  • Your palm is going to go between the thumb hole and the tab, not matter what hand you use. The tab should be pointing away from you when you put your thumb through the hole, but it will point towards you when you bend the brace around your wrist.
  • For a usage on your left hand, flip the cardboard over and make your bends toward you. The brace will be a mirror image of the right-handed brace.

Step 5: Step 5: Tape in Place

Picture of Step 5: Tape in Place

  • Cut off a 6-or-so inch piece of masking tape.
  • Attach the tape to the part of the brace closest to you.
  • Wrap the brace so that the tab is underneath.
  • It's easier with help, but if you're doing this alone you should be able to gently wrap the brace around your hand with three of your fingers and flip the tape over and press it in place with your thumb and forefinger as I did here.
  • If you're running or otherwise moving around, gently gripping the brace with your fingers helps immobilize your hand.

Step 6: Optional Step 6: Adjust the Thumb Hole

Picture of Optional Step 6: Adjust the Thumb Hole
Once you have checked the thumb hole for comfort, you may feel the need to enlarge it. You don't want it to cut off circulation to your thumb, and the brace may ride down and press on the inside of your thumb. Give yourself ample space.
  • Cut to adjust thumb hole size

You can also use duct tape to make the hole softer by placing pieces of tape over the cardboard edges. Let the tape overlap the edges loosely to make a soft edge. Make sure your hole is large enough, since this will make the hole slightly smaller.

Step 7: Optional Step 7: Comfort Sock

Picture of Optional Step 7: Comfort Sock

A sock can make your brace more comfortable and also make it easier to re-use as it can absorb sweat and body oils, be thrown in the wash while keeping the cardboard relatively clean.

  • Judge roughly where two holes should go, a small hole for your thumb and a larger one for your fingers. NOTE: Take care not to make these holes very large. The sock is stretchy and will accommodate your fingers. You can always make a hole larger later.
  • Put your hand in the sock, then double the end of the sock back over your hand for additional padding and to more-or-less hide it under the cardboard.
  • Tape the brace closed. Don't make it very tight; it's intended to limit wrist movement not squeeze the life out of your hand. Make sure you can slide a finger easily under the brace

You're good to go with your disposable, temporary brace.

WARNING: Don't wear this thing sleeping. It's meant to be worn for an hour, maybe two, out on a run.

About my hand: You might notice my hand is a little abnormal. That's not related to my wrist injury. I was born with Poland's Syndactyly.

Comments

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2015-11-01

Clever way to make use of everyday materials. MacGyver would use something like this.

Thanks for saying so!

And perhaps I should have also mentioned that it is possible to make this thing mostly one-handed. :)