Thursday, March 22, 2012

Redesigning my braces

As you may not know, I wear arm braces almost all the time.   (crazy RSI problems.   And apparently I am too young for surgery, but that's a whole different issue we're not going to get into today.)  Anyhow -- the braces -- the ones I've been wearing for the past few years are *huge* and have extra boning up the sides to keep my wrists from torquing.   The concept is good, but in practice the boning hits my actual bones (I have pointy wrists) and finally started causing bruises -- so they were no longer really an option.   I'd been toying with the idea of making my own for a little while, and went for it the other day.    

What you see in the image is my first set of prototypes.  They are made of spandex with a double layer on the underside (of my hand) with a channel for the splint.   The channel is lined in a double layer of polar fleece to keep it the splint from jabbing me.   The black webbing holds everything down tight, otherwise the spandex would allow me too much freedom of movement, bending my wrists and making the braces pointless.   I finished them with snaps so I could get them on and off one handed.

The good:
- I've been wearing them for two days now and I think they work better than my normal braces -- no extra pain from boning.
-the much slimmer design allows them to fit under sleeves, which means they attract less attention.  (Random point - if you see someone you don't know with braces or something similar -- don't ask about them.   Someone else's long term pain is not an appropriate topic for small talk.  Comment on the weather. Trust me, they will not think you are uncaring.  Rather the reverse.)    The original models have have large plastic bits on top that hold the velcro that make the whole thing adjustable - but mine aren't mass market and the velcro was always getting caught on everything I wear.

The bad:
They aren't adjustable, and I guess my arms swell and contract a little as sometimes they were slightly too large or too small.

The plan:
I'm going to get some thicker spandex about the color of my skin for the final version.   I'm not entiarly sure what to do about the strap.   I need something there, and I like how slim this is -- but it needs to be adjustable and velco will not do.  Not only does it get caught on everything, but with daily wear it looses its cling and starts popping open more or less whenever.   I thought about a small laced section that I could loosen as needed -- but that can't really be operated with one hand.  So, I'm looking for ideas on how to make this work -- any thoughts would be most welcome.

The things I was hoping for last time have all happened - and a few others.  I'm sorry to be vague - but I like to keep work things and blog things separate - but I'm bubbling over and have to share, even if its just in a roundabout way.


  1. Could you just make it have multiple snaps so that you can loosen/tighten it as needed? Or maybe use some hook/eye tape? Hope you get it figured out. :-)

  2. I was just going to ask about hook and eye tape, CGC beat me :)

    My husband had a wrist injury (severed tendon) that necessitated a splint for several months and brace long after---such a pain (especially if the surgery could help... Grrr). They look good and I think flesh-toned will be awesome. Either that or removable covers in a rainbow of hues.

  3. You are awesome giving this a go, well done you. I think yo conquer so many different fabric types & construction techniques! I agree with Tanit-Isis, rainbows would be cool ...& congrats on your good news by the way :-)


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