Hand splinting

Splinting provides pain relief, protects the extremity from additional trauma, corrects or prevents deformity, facilitates maintenance of fracture reduction, and/or provides protection during functional activities. Splinting may be static or dynamic, or a combination of both. Static splints hold the affected motion segment in a functional position and protect injured structures at rest and during functional activities. Dynamic splints provide support and protection and allow motion during activities. Examples of static splints include palmar blocking splints, which are used to hold the wrist and fingers in extension after extensor tendon injury, and forearm-based wrist splints, which are used at night to avoid positions of wrist flexion during sleep.

Protective splints may support inflamed soft tissue and injured or compromised joints; stabilize weak muscles, thereby preventing damage; or neutralize unstable fractures. One such splint is the dorsal extension block splint, which is used after flexor tendon repair. Static positional splints stabilize fractures and dislocations, prevent deformity, and/or substitute for lost function. Examples of positional splints include web space abduction splints, which are used to prevent web space contracture, and MP flexion splints, which are used after release of MP extension contracture.

Static splints have no moving parts. Dynamic splints may include flexible components, hinges, and/or devices (eg, outriggers) that provide dynamic forces. Both types of splint are used for immobilization and support. Serial adjustment or alteration of static splints is referred to as static progressive splinting. This type of splinting is accomplished by locking and unlocking hinges or by the serial modification of solid splints. Examples of dynamic splints include MP extension splints, radial nerve palsy splints, and finger flexion splints used for the Kleinert flexor tendon protocol. Static progressive splints incorporate components that can be adjusted as ROM increases.