Occupational Therapy: Splinting

Hand therapy is a specialized area of occupational therapy that focuses on treating upper-extremity orthopedic conditions and promoting independence in functional activities. Hand therapist’s make custom splints/orthotics to meet the individualistic need of the patient. Ranging from a multitude of diagnoses/injuries (fractures, tendon lacerations, contracted joints, tendonitis, arthritis); splints are fabricated to ensure optimal healing by supporting, protecting, and positioning appropriately.  For example, an occupational therapist evaluates a patient after receiving a flexor tendon repair approximately ten days prior. It is essential that a dorsal blocking splint is fabricated to prevent composite wrist and digit extension in order to protect the repair. Splinting material is unique in that it can be adjusted easily and placed in a variety of positions due to the low-temperature plastic. The adaptability of splinting material helps ensure that the patient’s extremity is at the most optimal position during the healing process.