SplintingThis is a featured page

The Purpose of Splinting
One of the main purposes of splinting is to improve hand function in
patients. A splint is custom-made for the patient by the therapist using
low-temperature plastic material and is fitted to each individual.
Splints are helpful if there’s limited joint motion, and they assist in
correcting or reducing deformity. They also play a role in the appropriate
positioning of one or several joints. The two basic types of
splints, static and dynamic, are discussed in the following sections.

Static Splints
Static splints have no moving parts and are generally used to place the
hand in a functional position. Static splints can be used to
_ Protect weakened muscles from overstretching or to keep functioning
muscles from contracting. Temporary paralysis following
a nerve injury might warrant the use of static splints.
_ Support the hand to allow for resting or healing. Patients with
tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome are often helped by wearing
static splints for support.
_ Prevent or correct a deformity. Static splints are used to prevent
or correct deformities resulting from rheumatoid arthritis.
Sometimes the aide will help the patient adjust to performing activities
using a splint.

Dynamic Splints
A dynamic splint is designed to assist weak muscles or serve as a substitute
for absent or significantly decreased muscle power. The goal of
a dynamic splint is to afford the patient the maximal amount of normal
function_given the patient’s current limitations.
Dynamic hand splints generally have a static base and one or more
moving parts. This allows mobility in certain directions but also controls
the degree and direction of movement.

Dynamic splinting is usually used to
_ Correct or prevent a deformity, as with tightening joints or contracting
_ Prevent weakened muscles from overstrengthening
_ Provide an even muscle balance where there’s an imbalance
_ Assist in strengthening weak muscles or tendons
_ Temporarily support painful, inflamed, or healing parts
_ Prepare for surgical procedures, such as gaining better range of
motion prior to surgery
_ Position or protect areas following burn debridement (removal
of dead tissue), skin graft, or other surgical procedures
_ Assist in regaining functional hand use
Although helpful in many instances, splinting isn’t indicated for all
individuals. The limitations of hand splints may include
_ Decreased use of the hand when wearing splint
_ Skin irritation or breakdown after splint use
_ Complaints by the patient that the splint is unattractive

Precautions when Splinting
There are precautions that must be taken with all patients who wear
splints. Patients can generally monitor these precautions independently.
However, for patients who have decreased cognitive and perceptual
functioning, such as children or comatose patients, these
precautions must be monitored by a responsible parent, aide, or other
When the splint is issued initially, the area involved should be
checked every one-half to one hour. As the patient becomes accustomed
to the splint, it can be left on for longer intervals. If a patient
has delicate skin, poor circulation, or unusual sensation, the splint
should be checked more frequently. The patient
should also be instructed to watch for any red marks from pressure or
skin irritation from the splint. The patient can be instructed to use
powder, cornstarch, or a cotton sock on the splinted area to help absorb
excess moisture often caused by the splint.

It’s important to care for splints properly. Therefore, instructions for
wear and care need to be given to all patients or caretakers. Instructions
for splint care should include the proper cleaning method using
warm water and mild soap, or alcohol. Patients should also be told
not to place the splint near a heat source or leave it in a car on a hot
summer day because the low temperature plastic material can melt.
Each patient fitted with a splint should have a complete understanding
of the splint’s purpose, wear and care instructions, and of any precautions
to look for. Also, the patient or caretaker should always have
a phone number and contact person to call if any problems arise due
to the splint.

Latest page update: made by cindytomac2010 , Aug 8 2010, 11:48 AM EDT (about this update About This Update cindytomac2010 Edited by cindytomac2010

677 words added

view changes

- complete history)
Keyword tags: None
More Info: links to this page
There are no threads for this page.  Be the first to start a new thread.