A wrist splint is a device used to stabilize or otherwise immobilize the wrist joint. This helps prevent injury or stabilize the joint for transport during an emergency situation; it can also be used in some instances to help alleviate pain or retrain the wrist to move in a certain way. The materials used to make a wrist splint can vary; some are quite hard and can feature plastic components, while others tend to be softer and more portable. An aluminum splint, for example, is a lightweight and malleable piece of equipment that can be wrapped around the wrist and taped in place.
A very simple wrist splint can be made using medical tape. Simply wrapping the tape around the wrist and hand until it is thick enough to prevent movement can provide temporary support, though this is hardly the most convenient option. In emergency situations, solid materials such as pieces of wood or plastic can be taped around the wrist as well to stabilize it, creating a makeshift wrist splint. Most emergency technicians will carry an aluminum splint, however, since this is lightweight, packable, safe, and easy to use in various emergency situations.
Other models are designed for short- or long-term use. Neoprene splints can be wrapped around the wrist and hand, then secured with a hook and loop strap system. In some cases, the wrist splint will feature a plastic insert that will help limit the movement of the wrist during everyday activities. Such inserts are usually used to stabilize the wrist while an injury heals; inserts can dramatically reduce one's range of motion, meaning everyday activities may not be possible while wearing the splint. If a person needs the wrist to bend but simply wants added support for the bones, ligaments, and muscles, a neoprene or nylon wrap should be sufficient.
Some more modern materials can also be used to create a wrist splint. For people with recurring wrist problems or severe injuries, a carbon fiber wrist splint may be a good option. Such a device is likely to be quite expensive, but carbon fiber is a great material for splinting because it is very lightweight and exceptionally strong. A person recovering from a wrist surgery may benefit from such a splint, though people with temporary or mild wrist problems can probably avoid spending higher amounts of money by buying a neoprene splint or even a nylon one.