Introduction: Night Brace for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Picture of Night Brace for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

I love using water bottles as an inexpensive, durable, versatile material.

This instructable is for light weight comfortable night braces, made from recycled water bottles, for preventing and helping relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Night braces allow your nerves to heal after a long day of repetitive use.

For many years I've had problems with my hands and fingers going numb at night.

Because of positioning of my hands when I sleep, there is a restricting of the carpal nerve, which causes the numbness. When this is allowed to continue over time, there can be permanent damage to the nerve and the pain and numbness may become chronic.

There are commercial braces available for a substantial cost and I find them quite bulky and heavy. Lots of Velcro makes them destructive to some fabrics and skin. Scratchy on the face.

These bottle braces are soft, comfy and lite as a feather. I've been using the same pair for 6 months now and they are still going strong. (The blue stripy ones above.)

Very easy to remove for those night time trips to the washroom. They simply slide off over the hand, no buckles fasteners or Velcro.

I like the Dasani water bottles because there are a number of double curves on this bottle that add substantially to the strength and stability of the brace.

The 591ml size is a good size for a woman's medium/large size. For me, I max out this size and my hand measures 8" around the fattest part. This would be good for anyone smaller as well, by adjusting the size of the holes for a custom fit.

For larger hands I would try the larger size bottle.


Materials needed.

2x591ml water bottles.

Scissors.

Paper hole punch.

Hack saw.

Strips of polar fleece 1" wide.

600 grit sandpaper.

Marker.

Ruler.

Step 1:

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Cut the top of the bottle and smooth the edges.

Step 2:

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Remove the bottom of the bottle. Leave some extra space for trimming to size. Trim to the end of the small flare.

This makes a nice fit on the forearm.

Step 3:

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Punch holes around the bottom of the bottle about 1/2" apart, on centre.

Step 4:

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Cutting the two holes for the thumb and fingers is a bit tricky. And even trickier to describe.

I'll give the measurements that worked for me and you will have to adjust.

Measure down 3/4" from top and mark. Another mark 2 1/2" from top. Now measure 1" across the egg shape as above at the widest point.

This will give you a rough size to work with.

This is the thumb hole.

Be sure to make the holes big enough to allow for the binding. It should not be tight.

Step 5:

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Next is the fingers hole.

Measure 5/8" from the thumb hole and mark, as seen in figure 1. This piece will go between the thumb and fingers.

The top and bottom of the hole will be at the same level as the thumb hole. You could mark a line around the bottle at these 2 levels as a guide.

From this point you have to trim and try.

My fingers hole ended up being 1/2 the circumference of the bottle in width. You can see this in a picture from the bottom in a upcoming step. See figure 2 in step 7.

Don't assume both hands will be the same. I ended up having to redo one when I realized I have one hand bigger than the other.

Step 6:

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Punch some breathing holes around the widest part of the bottle. Not too close together. You don’t want to weaken the walls too much.

Step 7:

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Sand the inside of the bottle with 600 grit sandpaper.

This will be much more comfy on the skin. It allows you to slide it on and off without the sticky grabby plastic feeling.

Step 8:

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Now you want to punch holes around the perimeter of the thumb and finger holes. Don't punch the strip that runs between the thumb and fingers.

Start punching at the base of the same strip and work your way around as far as you can go till you come to the top. You will get to a point where you can't punch through the plastic at the top of the bottle neck, because of the thickness. Continue punching on the other side of the finger and thumb holes at the top and end up back at the first hole.

Step 9:

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Cut a strip of polar fleece 1"x 60",(x2 for the other hand). This does not have to be in one piece. 3 x 20" works fine.

Now you can start lacing your polar fleece through the punch holes.

Start at the top of the bar between the thumb and fingers. Once you lace it through the hole, wrap the fleece downward around the bar 5 or 6 times (figures 2,3,4) to make it nice and padded and no bottle edges are showing.

Start lacing by bringing the end of the fleece through the next hole from the back side and loop it around to the back again and repeat.

Now you can lace all the way around the perimeter. When you get to the neck and run out of holes, wrap through the neck opening 3 or 4 times and continue lacing on the other side of the neck, till you join up at the bottom of the thumb hole.

Lace around the bottom and your done. The ends are easily tucked into your previous stitch.

You can leave a 2" tail on one of the braces so you can tell which hand is which, in the dark.

Don't forget to reverse the holes on your second one. Right and left.

Sleep tight.

Comments

fluffystew made it! (author)2016-08-28

I bought a traditional wrist brace for $20 and then made this one for my other wrist at a cost of $1.25 for a 1 litre bottle of Dasani (I couldn't find the 591 ml ones but also thought it might not fit). I cut a bit more off the top than shown (not deliberately but it worked out well). I wish I had cut less off the bottom so it would be a bit longer but it still limits the movement the same as the other wrist brace.

I used some thick craft wool I had on hand instead of the polar fleece. One tip: use a small safety pin as a substitute needle to make the lacing go faster. I wasn't able to put the air holes in as I couldn't figure out how to get the hole punch further down the plastic but it doesn't seem to matter. I have to say I prefer the homemade version to the regular wrist support - it does the job without feeling constricting and is lighter and more comfortable overall. Ingenious!

zimitt (author)fluffystew2016-08-28

Thanks fluffystew! I can't tell you how happy I was to see your results.

Great job. Great tip.

You made my day.

mole1 (author)2015-12-14

This is elegant! Every aspect is perfect... it's for an important purpose, uses recycled and scrap materials, the process is low enough tech that anyone can do it, and the result is better than 'store bought'. Thanks so much for posting it!

zimitt (author)mole12015-12-14

Thank you, I am truly flattered.

This one is my favorite.

sunshiine (author)2015-12-06

Nice hack there zimitt. Thanks for sharing and do have a safe and happy holiday season~

sunshiine~

seamster (author)2014-12-30

Very nicely done!

I've had the thought to try to make myself some custom braces too, so it was nice to see your take on this. Not sure bottles would work for my man-mitts, though. But if they are working for you that's awesome!

leash9418 (author)seamster2015-01-19

my hands would slip out of the bottles!

Nice job though

zimitt (author)leash94182015-01-20

Hi leash9418,

I'm sorry to hear your first attempt at this project didn't work out so well.

The fit with these is all about getting the holes just right. When that happens, the way your hand is positioned in the bottle will prevent it from coming off.

A second consideration could be the size of the bottle you choose.

I hope you will try again.

zimitt (author)seamster2014-12-30

Thanks so much. I thought of sizing up. You could try the 1 liter size or bigger. I would use a second bottle and cut off the top 1 1/2" and cut it up the side and put it inside the first bottle. This would give you a double wall and add much strength to the larger bottle.

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