Splints and braces can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions of the upper limb. At Melbourne Hand Therapy we have braces available for different joints or can custom make a thermoplastic splint depending on what your hand therapist believes is required. Splints can be made for immobilisation to protect structures while healing or to allow movement, such as hinge braces, within specific ranges of motion. Following a comprehensive consultation and assessment, your therapist will recommend the most appropriate type of splint or brace for you.
Thermoplastic splints can be reshaped by your therapist as often as required which is beneficial for acute injuries where swelling may fluctuate or if positioning needs to be adjusted. Often one splint is used through the entirety of treatment and can be modified as needed for comfort, fit and therapeutic goals.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that is caused by compression of the median nerve at the wrist. This nerve provides sensation to the thumb, index finger, middle finger and inside half of the ring finger and when the nerve is compressed it can cause tingling, pins and needles or numbness to these digits. Commonly these symptoms occur overnight and can disturb sleep. A wrist splint or brace is prescribed to keep the wrist straight overnight which relieves the pressure on the nerve to resolve your symptoms.
Tendons are soft tissue structures that attach muscles to bone. Tendinitis is an inflammation or irritation of the tendons that can cause pain, tenderness and swelling in the affected area. The pain is often worse when moving and can result in reduced range of motion and weakness. Bracing or splinting can be beneficial in the short term to rest the inflamed tendons and your therapist will also develop a treatment plan for graded range of motion and strengthening exercises.
Ligaments are soft tissue structures that attach bone to bone and are vital for joint stability. Strains and sprains to ligaments can be acute injuries, such as finger dislocations from sport, or chronic conditions from repetitive stress over time, such as gamekeeper’s thumb. In both instances, splinting or bracing are essential in allowing the tissue to heal and scar (acute injuries) or to try and increase stability of joints (chronic injuries).
Arthritis, whether osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, can result in pain, deformity, stiffness, swelling, weakness and functional limitations. There are many types of braces and splints for the different joints in the upper limb which can help with these issues.
Following surgery your surgeon may refer you to a hand therapist so they can fabricate a splint to immobilise particular structures to ensure you don’t stress the wound or surgery performed. Your hand therapist will liaise with your surgeon so you have the best outcome possible.
If injuries are left untreated, deformities or contractures can occur over time which can result in functional limitations or lead to chronic pain. Splints are generally used to progressively correct these deformities.
The hand therapists are Melbourne Hand Therapy can comprehensively assess your injury or condition and recommend the brace or splint that would be most appropriate for you and provide it to you on the day of your appointment.
You can be referred to Melbourne Hand Therapy for splinting or bracing by your local GP or surgeon, however you don’t require a referral if you are a private patient.