Custom Splinting – Do You Need A Special Fitting Brace?
Wrist, thumb or finger pain is a common problem after an injury. People often turn to bracing to help reduce swelling or pain, and allow an injury to rest and heal. With the loads of braces out there, it is often hard to know if you can get by with an off-the-shelf brace or if you need custom splinting. Therapists at Armworks Hand Therapy can help you get the best fitting brace for your injury.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SPLINT AND A BRACE?
Essentially, there is no difference between a splint and a brace; the words are used interchangeably. Sometimes a splint is also called an orthosis. A splint or brace is a devices used to hold a body part still after and injury or surgery. There are many different types of splints and each one is appropriate for different types of injuries.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SPLINTS
There are essentially two types of splints: Pre-fabricated and Custom. A pre-fabricated splint is one made to be used for general injuries/ problems and usually come in a small, medium, or large size. A pre-fabricated splint can be very helpful but is not always the right size, or does not come in the proper position for certain problems. Often, a custom splint is helpful. A custom splint is made to fit just you. It is made from a low temperature plastic and formed right in the clinic. It can be adjusted for swelling, and remolded as you heal to protect the injured area. Ligament injuries often require custom splinting to heal properly. Therapists at Armworks Hand Therapy can help determine the best splint for your needs.
HOW LONG SHOULD I WEAR A SPLINT?
Sometimes a splint has been applied and the injury starts to feels better. We are often asked the question: How long should I wear the splint? It depends on the type and severity of injury. Bone, tendon, ligament, and muscle all heal at different rates. It is the therapist’s job to assess the different tissues involved in an injury or surgery, and prescribe the correct length of splinting. Removing a splint too early can cause re-injury. Wearing a splint too long can cause stiffness, weakness, and even a worsening of pain. A consultation with a therapist can help clarify the injury and how long a splint should be worn.
If you have questions about splinting for the elbow, wrist, or hand, request an appointment at Armworks Hand Therapy for an evaluation.