Do compression gloves help arthritis?

Do compression gloves help arthritis?

Trevor Petrie - Chief Medical Officer
2 minute read

Compression gloves have been shown to reduce perceived pain.

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, in particular, can appreciate relief from symptoms due to the reduction of swelling just beneath the surface of the skin at the joints.

There is definitely disagreement in the medical community as to what it is exactly that compression gloves do to help with arthritis.

Some believe that compression gloves reduce pain by reducing swelling, supporting soft tissue structures and increasing the rate of circulation to “flush out” inflammation in the joint spaces.

Because there is little conclusive evidence that compressive gloves do any of these, others believe that compressive gloves only have a placebo effect on reducing pain. 

My view is somewhere in the middle.

Some of the claims made by the current leading sellers of compression gloves have little scientific evidence to back them up, particularly those purporting the medical benefit of copper or other materials woven into the fabric.

But I also have seen first hand the positive effects of compression gloves on my patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, too much to be written off as a placebo effect entirely.

There is good evidence that compression gloves can at least temporarily reduce swelling in the hands and fingers.

I also believe that we don’t fully understand the neurological effect compression has on our perception of pain.

Over a third of our sensory and motor cortices are devoted to our hands and wrists. Pressure has a very strong effect on our nervous systems generally.

So it stands to reason that a little bit of compression through the very complicated and intricate system that is our hands and wrists could have a very real effect not only on our perception of pain but our body’s reflexive response to it. 

In conclusion, I believe compressive gloves can be very good for arthritis pain relief because I’ve seen so many people, even people who were initially skeptical, experience a very real and very immediate improvement.

Human beings are very complicated creatures, particularly where chronic pain is involved, and I have helped many people control chronic pain and get back to doing the things they love with the help of compressive gloves.

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