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Critical Reviews™ in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
SJR: 0.121 SNIP: 0.228 CiteScore™: 0.17

ISSN Print: 0896-2960
ISSN Online: 2162-6553

Critical Reviews™ in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevPhysRehabilMed.v16.i4.10
24 pages

Hand Splints in Rehabilitation

Tatjana Paternostro-Sluga
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Vienna, General Hospital, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, A 1090 Vienna, Austria
Martina Stieger
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Vienna, General Hospital, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, A 1090 Vienna, Austria

ABSTRACT

Hand splinting in rehabilitation has a long tradition and represents a well-established clinical treatment method. There are various therapeutic goals in hand splinting, from immobilization to functional improvement. Pathological conditions that frequently require splint treatment as a part of their rehabilitation management are rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis, tendinopathies, neurological diseases, and burn injuries. Moreover, splint treatment plays an important role in the aftercare of hand surgery. Scientific evidence is poor. There are a number of studies about RA demonstrating that working wrist splints do not have a detrimental effect on grip strength, but no beneficial effects can be statistically proven. The studies concerning splint treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) report evidence for significant short-term relief from clinical symptoms. Following stroke there is insufficient evidence to support or refute the effectiveness of hand splinting. The lack of clinical evidence is in contrast to the widespread clinical use. It is our hope that this review article will encourage physicians and therapists to conduct randomized, controlled clinical trials to broaden the scope of available evidence of the efficacy of this treatment method.


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