Recent research has investigated the effects of wearing compression gloves in people with inflammatory arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis affecting the hands can have a major impact on the ability to do daily household tasks. Pain, swelling, and stiffness can interfere with daily activities such as doing dishes, laundry, and gardening (among many other things).
Compression gloves, sometimes called arthritic gloves, apply pressure to the hand and increase blood flow and body temperature in the hand. These gloves are usually made of thick, durable fabric, including Lycra, and cover everything from the center of the forearm to about 3/4 of the fingers. Fingertips are usually exposed, making it easier to use. Compression gloves can be very expensive after prolonged use, usually every 4-6 months, or if they are too loose, new gloves will be required.
Why Wear Compression Gloves for Arthritis?
Compression gloves are commonly prescribed by the NHS to people with arthritis to reduce pain, reduce swelling and improve hand function. It can also be worn at bedtime to reduce morning stiffness in the hands.
New study reveals effectiveness of arthritis gloves
However, the benefits of wearing compression gloves for arthritis are unlikely to come from the pressure they put on the hands, new randomized controlled trials have found. The researchers provided participants with a suitable high-quality compression gloves from a popular brand, or a pair of gloves made from a loose, similar but slightly thinner material. What was tested here was whether the pressure created by wearing actual pressure gloves (the intervention group) actually helped improve symptoms of hand arthritis. If stress was the key to these effects, wearing similar stress-free gloves (the control group) did not confer the same benefits.
Changes in pain, stiffness, and hand function measured by the researchers after 12 weeks of wearing either glove were not considered clinically meaningful. The two types of gloves are very similar, but the advantages are small. Incredibly, both groups reported the same degree of increased satisfaction, with the positive feeling that gloves help relieve hand symptoms, and the warmth of wearing gloves being especially helpful. I did it. More than two-thirds of participants in both groups reported that they liked wearing gloves and benefited from the increased warmth and comfort. Surprisingly, half of the participants who wore the compression gloves reported adverse effects such as numbness, tingling in the fingertips, and heat and itching during sleep. However, in the control group,
What do these results mean?
On average, neither glove had a significant effect on hand symptoms or hand function. Participants in both groups reported positive effects of wearing gloves, but these improvements may be due to the extra warmth and support they felt. This is contrary to the belief that the extra pressure of wearing compression gloves is the "active ingredient". As a result of these findings, the researchers who carried out the study also conducted a thorough cost analysis of pressure glove formulations within the NHS and called for a review of the guidelines for arthritis pressure gloves.
Are compression gloves worth it?
Whether you've used compression gloves in the past or are looking for a new solution to arthritic hand pain, regular 3/4 finger gloves (lightweight wool, cotton, nylon, some lycra, etc.) are solid compression gloves, can bring as many benefits as possible.