Evaluation and Application of appropriate upper extremity splints is a part of hand therapy. All splints are individually applied and fitted to the patient. Unique splints can be created to increase range of motion and/or function.
For example, if a patient is not able to extend his or her fingers due to a nerve injury, a splint can be fabricated to hold the fingers in extension, but also allow him or her to make a fist. Also, if a patient has difficulty making a fist due to a fracture, a splint can be designed to apply a small amount of force to increase the flexion of the hand joints which is needed during gripping activities.
Splints are also necessary for positioning the upper extremity joints in optimal alignment to protect from formation of joint deformities as seen in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Splinting is often necessary to rest the limb for relief of swelling and/or pain. Fracture bracing is sometimes prescribed by doctors following a forearm or upper arm fracture. Fracture bracing protects the fracture and promotes healing.
The following splints are a partial list of what can be provided:
- Wrist cock-up
- Resting pan
- Thumb spica
- Thumb web space
- Dorsal protective splint for flexor tendon repair
- Dynamic extension and flexion
- Static Progressive flexion and extension
- PIP extension splints
- Fitting for commercially supplied splints (Silver ring splints, Dynasplints)
- Fracture bracing: humeral, forearm, hinged elbow