Many people think that occupational therapists are the only types of therapists that work with hands and wrists; when in fact physical therapists are highly trained to do the same. Splinting is a learned skill that a lot of physical and occupational therapists offer to their clients to assist with positioning, reducing hypertonicity, and increasing range of motion. This article will discuss the importance of hand splinting for patients that have suffered from a stoke.
Anyone that knows someone that has been affected by a stroke can tell you that physical limitations are a typical result, along with cognitive and speech problems; but not all necessarily occur or persist as time and extensive rehab are carried out. When a post-CVA patient has a resulting flaccid upper extremity, meaning they cannot control or move it, it’s very important that their arm is positioned properly in a neutral position so that they do not incur any contractures or loss in range of motion.
A resting hand splint typically lies on the palm-side of the hand and wrist to maintain proper alignment of the wrist and fingers. Custom fabricated splints are typically a better option so that the patient has a more tailored splint to fit their hand and provide the support they need. Factors that can influence how a custom splint include the amount of muscle tone or spasticity the patient may have in their hand and wrist, any current contractures (tightness) in their wrist or fingers, pain and/or sensory problems, ability to be able to put the splint on by themselves.
A resting hand splint is something that a post-CVA patient would wear during the day at rest. If they have minimal to no use of their hand, this would stay on throughout the day. But if they had some function in their wrist, hand or fingers, it is advised to take the splint off to work on activities promoting coordination and fine motor control often throughout the day. A physical or occupational therapist can get you set up on a program for this.
At Hohman Rehab & Sports Therapy in Clermont, FL and Ocoee, FL we offer physical therapy assessments for patients that have suffered a stroke and think they made need a hand splint. We provide a custom evaluation to determine the exact type of splint you will need, along with the suggested wear time and activity level.