Can Copper Hands Gloves Help With Arthritis?

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woman with white hair holding her hand in pain
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Copper Hands are compression gloves that have copper fibers included. They are marketed through infomercials and bear the "As Seen on TV" logo. The advertising copy reads:

"The temporary relief you need.

If you're suffering from arthritis pain or have weak hands and wrists, you need Copper Hands - the technologically advanced compression gloves that are made with real copper."

But will they provide you with relief? While some consumer reviews are positive, wearing copper jewelry has long been shown to have no clinical effect on arthritis. Gloves with copper filaments are unlikely to give relief for arthritis pain in any way other the placebo effect.

Claims, but No Clinical Evidence

The infomercial for Copper Hands presented it as an arthritis glove with the purported benefits of copper. Prior to 2016, the manufacturer's website used to provide specific bits of information about the product's supposed benefits for arthritis and other types of hand pain.

  • "Copper Hands help with arthritis, injuries, and repetitive motion pains that can arise in your hands and joints. It is also beneficial for stiffness and swelling."
  • "Compression gloves put continuous pressure on the area in pain, which helps circulate blood flow. In turn, you will feel pain relief in your muscles and joints."

There were no scientific studies provided to support the claims that copper and compression relieve arthritis pain. It seems the company may have had to change its message, as the 2019 website contained more generalized claims as well as a disclaimer.

  • "Designed to support muscles & joints and help relieve stiffness & soreness in your wrist, palms & fingers!"
  • "Designed to help improve circulation and reduce swelling*"

"*Individual results may vary. Results not typical. Studies of compression garments have shown faster relief of muscle soreness and joint pain when worn for 12-48 hours after exercise."

Notice the new wording doesn't mention arthritis, repetitive motion injuries, or any specific conditions.

Compression may help alleviate some pain and swelling. It's even part of the mnemonic device "RICE" for treating injuries and inflammation: rest, ice, compression, elevation.

However, not only is there no evidence that copper-embedded compression gloves are more effective than regular compression gloves, research on whether compression gloves help with arthritis pain at all are mixed. A 2016 review of scientific literature concluded that all the trials it found were small and prone to serious error, and therefore evidence is inconclusive.

Product Design

Copper Hands have a fingerless design, which allows you to continue with your usual activities while wearing them. You can wear them all day, and at night as well. They have grip dots on the palm

The Copper Hands gloves are made of:

  • 90 percent cotton
  • 5 percent copper
  • 5 percent spandex

The gloves come in two sizes: S/M for small or medium hands and L/XL for larger hands.

Copper Hands is one of many products marketed by Telebrands, Inc. This is the same company that markets the Hurricane Mop, Stone Wave, and Pocket Hose.

Consumer Reviews

The consumer reviews for Copper Hands on Amazon.com are a mixed bag, with more people giving them one-star and two-star ratings than five-star. In 2014, 60 percent of reviewers gave it a four-star or five-star rating. As of 2018 that had dropped to only 32 percent giving it those ratings while almost 60 percent gave them two-star or one-star ratings. In mid-2019, the reviews were split about 50%-50% between four- and five-stars versus one-through-three-star.

Five-Star Reviews

  • "Eases the pain."

  • "Helps with the pain in my fingers."

  • "Made my hands feel great in less than one week."

Two-Star Reviews

  • "Don't notice any difference...no improvement."

  • "Waste of money."

  • "Had mine for a week...stitching came undone...poor quality."

Placebo Effect

The Arthritis Foundation notes that copper jewelry doesn't ease arthritis, so copper fibers in gloves are unlikely to be effective. If there is no clinical evidence Copper Hands works, why did almost 60 percent of consumers give a four- or five-star rating? The answer might be the placebo effect. This means you may experience a beneficial health outcome that simply results from your belief a product, medication or procedure will help you. The placebo effect can be effective in providing relief from pain, but it is not due to the design of the product.

If you tried Copper Hands and think the manufacturer's made false claims or you have issues with your order, contact your Better Business Bureau for advice.

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Article Sources

  1. Hammond A, Jones V, Prior Y. The effects of compression gloves on hand symptoms and hand function in rheumatoid arthritis and hand osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Clin Rehabil. 2016 Mar;30(3):213-24. doi:10.1177/0269215515578296

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