Tuesday, March 10, 2020

OS1st Performance Wrist Sleeve Review

by Terry Craig, aka
The Disabled Hiker

Well, it seems time is finally catching up with me. Recently I found myself yet again needing a little help to keep the journey going.  And thanks to OS1st, I may have found exactly what I need to do so.
In the past on my reviews, I offer a lot of hiking/backpacking stats and variables such as size, weight, setup time and the like. But this didn’t seem to fit this product. So I decided to take a more journalistic approach, skipping the mundane and obvious and going straight to the core. 
I.e.: why did I need it, and did it help!
Living with Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, or CRPS, is a never ending battle between the forces of atrophy, and one’s own willpower and perseverance to stay in shape despite the constant and extreme amounts of pain.  So needing a little help seems inevitable.
After 24 years of living with this rare disease, I’ve developed a rather heavy limp along with some balance issues that have made using a cane to move about a matter of safety and a necessity.

Going forward, the constant gripping on the handle of my cane has caused a recurrence of some old carpal tunnel problems in my right hand and wrist.  This problem persists even though I had the carpal tunnel repaired through surgery over 15 years ago. However, with the knowledge that subsequent surgeries could spread my CRPS to other parts of my body, I am extremely hesitant to consider any further surgeries as an answer to any health problem unless it’s deemed necessary to save my life. 
Because of my CRPS, these issues all center around the slow atrophy throughout much of the left side of my body. The most recent of victims being my left knee joint. As the old domino effect settled in, the knee problem subsequently increased the amount of pressure I exert on my cane, and therefore my wrist and hand as well. Before long my wrist and hand started hurting and numbing out like in the days before my carpal tunnel surgery.

It was suggested that I start using my heavy plastic and metal reinforced wrist restraints again.  But if you’ve ever experienced wearing one of these wrist restraints it would immediately occur to you that you would never be able to hold onto a cane while wearing one.
Quite a conundrum, isn’t it?  But, like many of us living with chronic conditions across the spectrum of Health Care, conundrums are a way of life for us.  And although they can be very depressing, I like to look at them as a challenge as well.
It’s the Disabled Hiker way! 
After seeing a few wrist sleeves in the stores I became discouraged as they all seemed to either offer too little support or too much restriction.  And to be honest, I gave up looking. It just seemed like what I needed just didn’t exist. A few days later however, I would get a surprise in my emails inbox.
As a product reviewer, I am part of an organization that connects product manufacturers with reviewers for the sole purpose of reviewing products and publishing reviews, no strings attached.  Everything’s reviewed honestly. Sadly however, it is a rarity when any of these products actually meet the specific challenges we face. So I usually scan through the e-mail and then hit delete.
On this day however, something told me not to be so quick to dismiss the email, and sure enough, something caught my eye.
It’s strange how instinct works.  How you can be walking through a forest and then suddenly know without a shadow of the doubt that somebody, or should I say something is watching you.  Of course, it’s usually a squirrel or opossum or other critters you’ve walked up on. But in some cases, it can be other things too.
So after reading that OS1st was offering a Performance Wrist Sleeve for review, that also seemed to be the middle of the road option I was looking for, those instincts lit up like a Christmas tree.
Sure it was a long shot.  But my instincts must still be sharp because it paid off!
As an example of my condition when receiving the OS1st Performance Wrist Sleeve: when out, I was pretty much forced to stop about every quarter mile to wait until the feeling returned to my hand before continuing.  And yes, using a cane with a numb hand is just about as dangerous as trying to use a cane while wearing a hard plastic brace on your hand.  

So although stopping to recover feeling in my hand became essential by that point, all that stopped immediately once I added the OS1st Performance Wrist Sleeve. 
It did however take a little getting used to when putting it on.  At first, I found the fit to be a bit uncomfortable, especially on the webbing between the thumb and index finger.  And sure enough, after looking online I found that other people had made the same claim about the fit of the sleeve.  Some even posting photos showing red and sore areas between the thumb and index finger. I quickly noticed something however, something that changed things immediately for me. 
When putting on the OS1st wrist sleeve, there’s a tendency to pull the material as far up the arm as possible.  I noticed when trying other sleeves that pulling the material all the way up in this way seemed to be the only way to get any real feeling of constriction and support out of them. But this is not necessary for the OS1st sleeve. 

I know, it looks so sleek and smooth pulled all the way up like on the package, right?  Form fitted to the hand, sleek, so why does it hurt? That’s when it quickly dawned on me that this artist's interpretation of the product on the box shouldn’t be interpreted so literally.
As soon as I pulled the material down towards my fingers to relieve the pressure between my thumb and index finger to a more comfortable level, this entire problem stopped.  Unlike the picture however, the material does hang over my knuckles a bit more. But it still fits perfectly and does its job. Now when I put it on I just instinctively know not to pull it up so high on my arm.

I have however run into one odd problem with the Performance Wrist Sleeve.  Typically, I use what is known as a derby handle cane. That’s the typical T shaped handle cane you see used a lot today.  This sleeve worked perfectly with this style cane, as I’m sure it would with any other flat handled cane.

But, as the universe is never perfect, I did experience a rather odd pain developing in the middle of my palm when using my old style hooked walking cane.  And I must admit, I’m a little miffed by this! I mean, it’s obvious the culprit is the two different shapes of the cane handles. But why the OS1st Performance Wrist Sleeve was now causing pain in an area I had no pain in before was quite puzzling.

A little back story on why I use two different style canes: although I use a derby style cane most of the time,  after my service dog TaSunka and I had been brutally attacked on three separate occasions by off leash and uncontrolled dogs, I sensed I had to take a far more defensive posture when walking with my service dog in public.  The heavy oak, hooked walking cane I now carry when I walk or need my service dog in public is a big part of that defensive posture and the future safety of my service dog. 

So for the time being, when with my service dog, I guess I'll still be stopping every quarter mile to get the feeling back in my hand.  But that's OK… TaSunka is worth it.

To continue with the testing, I used the OS1st Performance Wrist Sleeve with my backpacking trekking poles.  I was really enthusiastic to see how it felt when using a walking stick as opposed to a cane, especially with the perpendicular hand grip on a textured surface.  And as I had hoped, they did not disappoint in this department.

Those of us with carpal tunnel issues will confirm the fact that holding onto a trekking pole for a few hours with carpal tunnel problems can be a sure recipe for agony.  But, much like I'd experienced with my derby (T shaped) handle cane, I experienced full relief from the numbness and pain I had been experiencing recently while using my trekking poles.

An added bonus: as a songwriter and guitarist with CRPS, my hands can give me a lot of trouble. I’ve been experiencing a weak feeling in my hands that not only can carpal tunnel syndrome cause, but CRPS can cause as well. In short, I drop guitar picks.

By the dozen

I’ve even gone to the trouble of glueing little fussy spots on my picks so I can better hang onto them. Yeah… it can be comical in some settings.  And completely devastating in others. 
I usually removed the OS1st Performance Wrist Sleeve to play my guitar, but for some reason, one day I decided to wear it during a practice. To my suprise, I noticed a sharp reduction in dropped picks during the session. Although I’ve occasionally experienced numbness and pain before while playing, I can usually regain the feeling in my hand between songs enough to continue. So I’ve never made too big of a deal about it. 
The Disabled Hiker @ the Quadrant Book Store 2015
But if I can knock out both problems with one Performance Sleeve… I guess I have new stage attire for my hand when I play. Fortunately It’s black, so it fits very well with my usual look when I’m out playing. 

I suppose the last subject to confront here is durability. 
Callie, the Electric Furball Studio cat

After a solid month of enthusiastic and extreme use, my OS1st Performance Wrist Sleeve has taken a bit of a beating.
So, it’s a little frayed around the edges, a few pulls in the material  here and
there where my cat decided to do her own durability test... with her claws of course.

But both the cat and I agree! This wrist sleeve is still doing a great job!
Good thing too, cause I got a busy year planned ahead of me, hiking and enjoying the outdoors.

I am awarding 4 Stars to OS1st for their Performance Wrist Sleeve. Yes, just shy of a perfect score. In particular, because of the unexplainable pain I experienced in the palm of my hand when using my hooked walking cane.
TDH Rating System
Although this may seem like something I would only knock off a half a star over, I am a bit concerned about downplaying this issue as I know a lot of folks who still carry the old style hooked canes. Especially for their self defence applications. So this is a point I believe OS1st could improve upon.

In closing, I would like to point out that in spite of the problems associated with my hooked cane, I will be continuing to use the OS1st Performance Wrist Sleeve. It definitely helped.  And it’s definitely worth checking them out for yourself. 

You can find the OS1st Performance Wrist Sleeve by clicking on the link below

Thank you OS1st for participating in our review process.
Review by
Terry Craig
aka The Disabled Hiker


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Be well and Happy Hiking!

Produced by: Terry Craig,

The Disabled Hiker

Assistant editor: Dave Deubler

Photos & video by: Larry Deitch,
& Terry Craig, 

Disclaimer: This blog, written articles, video presentations, and all content within are not intended to take the place of professional medical advice. Please consult your Doctor before making any changes to your treatment plan and/or changes to your exercise routine.

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