Whether it’s hobbies, work, or activities of daily life, we use our hands for nearly everything. It’s no wonder, then, that arthritis is so debilitating when it shows up in the joints of the fingers and wrist. Although arthritis is tricky to treat, compression gloves can help reduce pain and swelling so that you can continue doing the things you love.
Why Compression Gloves Help Arthritis
Remember the acronym RICE? The “C” stands for Compression, a key step to recovery for most musculoskeletal injuries. Compression garments, such as socks or gloves, use restrictive fabric to provide therapeutic compression with even consistency.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but wearing tight compression gloves can improve your blood circulation. Putting pressure on a swollen area helps increase blood flow by forcing the extra fluid to move elsewhere. With less fluid to work around, blood flows more easily to your muscles and joints. And when you have arthritis, better blood circulation means less pain.
Compression Gloves for Everyday Wear
Typically, compression gloves are meant to be worn for 8 hours at a time. You may decide to wear them while you sleep to curb swelling and stiffness in the morning. Conversely, you can wear these gloves during the day as you go about your normal activities. Because they’re fingerless, these gloves can accommodate most activities, including typing, gardening, cooking, or playing piano.
Besides providing therapeutic compression, arthritis gloves can help insulate your hands. Nothing stiffens joints like cold air, but thermal arthritis gloves will help you stay warm and pain-free, even in an over-air-conditioned office building.
If you’re concerned about dexterity, keep an eye out for compression gloves that include palm grips. Although grips may make the gloves stiffer and less flexible, they will certainly give you more confidence handling glassware or a steering wheel.
Many people with arthritis in their hands also need compression for their wrists. The right pair of compression gloves will include a wrist cuff that you can tighten with a hook-and-loop closure.
Top 5 Compression Gloves for Arthritis
Before we dive into the top 5 compression gloves for arthritis, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- You will be using these gloves a lot – after all, your hands are involved in just about everything – so don’t be surprised if they need replacing after a short time.
- Compression gloves are very tight, and the seams can easily tear, so be careful pulling them on and off.
- Before buying a pair of compression gloves, make sure you check the size chart. A compression glove is supposed to feel tight – otherwise it wouldn’t provide compression. The size for which you measure will probably fit much smaller than you’re used to.
Overall, a well-chosen pair of compression gloves will help you manage your arthritis more comfortably. Below are 5 products that have helped thousands of consumers like you reduce arthritic pain and swelling.
- Material Content: Nylon, rubber foam, and polyester. Latex-free.
- 6 sizes
Pros: Heavier duty; durable; very supportive/compressive
These gloves deserved the first spot on this list because they are some of the highest-quality compression gloves for arthritis available on Amazon. The name “Thermoskin” insinuates the latent heating property of these gloves, lined to insulate your hands using your own body heat.
But just because these gloves are warm doesn’t mean they’ll give you clammy hands. Thermoskin’s three-layered technology allows for air flow and wicks away moisture without losing warmth.
As far as compression gloves are concerned, this pair will likely last the longest. They also include a wrist cuff, so you can expect all-around compression and pain relief.
High quality often correlates with a high price tag, so it’s no surprise that these gloves cost double or even triple the price of other gloves on this list.
- Material content: 45% Cotton, 45% Polyester, and 10% Spandex
- 4 sizes
- 7 colors
- $16 for 2 pairs
Pros: pack of two; no tags inside; good customer service
Cons: little wrist support; less restrictive
For a slimmer profile, consider the Brace Master arthritis gloves. Their cotton material softens the compression and suits everyday wear.
Most compression gloves come in a dingy gray or black, but Brace Master offers their arthritis gloves in 7 colors, including a copper-infused pair. (I’ll touch more on copper-infused gloves – and their perceived benefits – at the end of this article.)
Unlike the Thermoskin gloves, the Brace Master gloves offer little wrist compression. Many users felt the wrist fabric was too loose to be supportive. Overall, however, these gloves help ease arthritic pain and swelling, and you can buy two for half the price of a pair of Thermoskins.
- Material content: 60% Cotton, 33% Polyester, and 7% Spandex
- 3 sizes
- Gray or Grippy Gray
Pros: comfortable; grip variety
Cons: itchy tags inside; loose wrist area
I don’t know this Dr. Frederick, but thousands of Amazon shoppers know – and love – his gloves. As a top seller in compression gloves, Dr. Frederick’s Original Arthritis Gloves provide soft compression and gentle pain relief for all kinds of achy hands.
Similar to the Brace Master product, Dr. Frederick’s gloves are made of a cotton blend, lending a coziness to their compression. These gloves don’t have the wide range of color options as the Brace Master’s, but they do come in a “grippy” variety for half a dollar more. With a generous helping of raised dots along the palm and hands, the grippy gloves provide both confidence and comfort.
Users complained mainly about two things: the wrist area is too loose to provide much support or compression, and the irksome product tags are sewn inside the glove. Luckily, the latter issue is easily solved with a little snip-snip.
- Material content: Spandex and cotton
- 3 sizes
- On sale for $10
Pros: Comfy fit; responsive customer service
Cons: One color option; thin compression
I’ve reviewed products by Comfy Brace before, and from my experience they really do live up to their name. The Comfy Brace compression gloves are no exception, providing comfortable compression for all-day arthritic pain relief.
These gloves also fell prey to the annoying-tag-inside design early on, but Comfy Brace has since addressed the issue and removed the tags inside. So while you may see negative reviews about this issue, it’s no longer a cause for concern.
Otherwise, reviewers loved these gloves for their breathability, fit, and low price tag – all reasons why they’re currently the top rated compression gloves on Amazon. Keep in mind, however, that a thin cotton glove is less restrictive than a medical-grade pair. So if you need something heavy-duty, Comfy Brace may let you down.
- Material content: Cotton-spandex blend
- 5 sizes
Pros: comfortable; cheap
Cons: less compressive; wear out quickly
The last pair of compression gloves on this list offer the same benefits for a couple dollars less. Comfortable, thin, and soft, these gloves provide mild compression for all-day wear.
There’s only one color to choose from, but for a basic pair of compression gloves, one color is all you need. At such a low price, you can buy a few pairs to rotate in between launderings.
You’ll appreciate the “smart seam stitching” designed to minimize the bulk of the seams without compromising their strength. This design can’t withstand all wear and tear, however, and reviewers found that they needed to replace these gloves very often.
A word about Copper Compression Gloves:
In your search for the best gloves for arthritis, you will inevitably come across copper-infused compression gloves. Copper is fabled for its “healing properties,” but in scientific studies these properties come up short. There’s no evidence of copper helping blood flow or arthritic pain.
Not only are these gloves inflated in promise, they’re inflated in price. You’ll pay twice as much for a copper-infused pair of gloves than for the simple gloves on this list.
A copper-infused product might not be entirely useless. Research has shown that copper, as an antimicrobial material, can help wick away sweat and reduce body odor. But it’s unclear whether this benefit extends to copper-infused material such as compression gloves.
In general, I recommend steering clear of this gimmick and selecting high-quality compression gloves, regardless of copper content.