Armworks Hand Therapy provides many specialized treatments for the elbows, wrists, and hands, which sometimes includes custom splinting. One reason a custom splint may be necessary is after a tendon injury. Today we will discuss what a tendon is, how it may become damaged and why a custom splint is a crucial component of the healing process.
What are tendons?
Tendons are the tissues that connect our muscles to our bones. They are made of collagen and composed of dense fibrous cords (like a rope made from many strong threads). Tendons and muscles work together to move the bone (or joint the tendon passes over) as the muscle contracts. Tendons vary from ligaments. Ligaments connect bones to bones, holding an area together and keeping it stable.
What causes tendon injuries?
Tendon injuries often occur by a sharp knife or machinery cuts, but they can also happen with crush injuries. There are also unexpected injuries that can happen in sports such as football or rock climbing.
Why is a custom splint needed after a tendon injury?
A custom splint is one that is made for your specific anatomy and injury. Using warm water, a hand therapist softens a low-temperature plastic material until it is moldable. They then place the material on your injury and fabricate it until they create the desired shape for optimal healing. As the plastic cools and hardens, it creates a perfect fit just for you.
A custom splint allows the therapist to place your wrist and hand in the best position for it to heal correctly after surgery. It is especially important to not put force on the repaired tendon, allowing the right amount of scar tissue to form.
A custom splint can also allow for other areas that are not affected to still have movement, lessening stiffness, and muscle weakness. The hand therapist will give specific instructions on the frequency and duration of custom splint wear and adjust the splint as necessary as the injury improves.
If you have an elbow, wrist, or hand concern, including a tendon issue that may require a custom splint, contact Armworks Hand Therapy.
All Armworks offices can be reached by phone or you can request an appointment online.