Why is a custom splint needed after a fracture injury?
Armworks Hand Therapy specializes in the rehabilitation of the elbows, wrists, and hands. For several injuries, the treatment plan provided by Armworks includes custom splinting.
Today we will attempt to answer all your fracture questions as we explore what a fracture is, common mechanisms of injury, and why a custom splint is likely needed for successful recovery.
What is a fractured bone?
It is quite surprising how strong human bones are. Did you know, compared to an ounce for ounce, they are actually stronger than steel?! With that being said, with enough force they can still break. A fracture is a medical term for a bone that has broken, cracked, or shattered.
What causes fractures and who is at the greatest risk?
Fractures are most commonly caused by accidents or falls. These may be from car crashes, work injuries, slips, or other types of trauma.
Accidents can happen to anyone, but fractures may be the more likely result for some than others. The elderly have weaker bones and are at a higher risk of falling. These factors make elders the most likely to experience fractures.
Children and athletes also carry additional risk, as they have higher activity levels which may lead to accidents and injury. Stress fractures (tiny cracks in the bone) may be found in both athletes and obese individuals. Certain medical conditions such as osteoporosis, infection, and tumors may indirectly cause fractures, as they weaken the bones, making them more likely to break.
Why would a custom splint be needed after a fracture injury?
When a bone is broken, it may also be displaced or have very sharp edges. Moving the broken bone, even slightly, can cause extensive damage to the surrounding tissues, muscles, vessels, and nerves. Movement may even cause the bone to break through the skin, creating an open wound.
A crucial piece in the fracture recovery process is a custom splint. It stabilizes the broken bone, keeping it in one place so it heals in its original and proper position. We use our elbows, wrists, and hands for endless daily activities; sometimes forgetting, out of habit, to refrain during the fracture healing process.
Wearing these splints prohibits us from any accidental setbacks. Splints also help reduce additional inflammation and pain.
Related Article: Why Is A Custom Splint Needed After A Repetitive Hand Injury?
A custom splint is one that is made specifically for you. A hand therapist uses a low-temperature plastic material that is adaptable to your body. Anatomy varies from person to person, so what might fit you, will not work for someone else. With the protection of a custom splint, the fracture can rest and heal.
Additionally, the therapist is able to keep all remaining, non-involved joints fully functional, making the recovery a little easier on the patient. The hand therapist will give specific instructions on the frequency and duration of your custom splint wear and may adjust as the injury improves.
If you have an elbow, wrist, or hand concern, including a fracture that may require a custom splint, Armworks Hand Therapy may be able to help. Referrals are not generally needed for cases involving personal insurance, but they will be required for Motor Vehicle or Worker Accidents. Please consult with your primary care or urgent/emergency care provider for immediate concerns regarding your fracture.
If advised, Armworks Hand Therapy is happy to make your custom splint and provide any additional rehabilitation necessary. For any questions or concerns, all Armworks offices can be reached by phone or you can request an appointment with one of our therapists online.