An Orthotist understands that the arm has a series of complex tasks occurring with each movement. Often times the hand serves as the main function as the wrist elbow & shoulder position it in space. Bracing for the upper extremity serves to stabilize the arm or hand while maintaining consideration of overall function.
Immobilization of the shoulder joint can be achieved by holding the arm in a sling type orthosis. The shoulder may need to be held close to the torso or the arm may be supported away from the torso in various positions depending on the type of brace chosen.
An orthosis for the elbow may have a simple wrap design or uprights attached to a hinge. An elbow hinge can be designed to either limit range of motion of the elbow or dynamically assist with flexion or extension. Click here to view pdf
Bracing for the wrist typically consists of static supports used to immobilize the wrist in a certain position secondary to pain or weakness.
Wrist hand finger orthoses are beneficial to maintain joint alignment secondary to weakness, a deformity or to manage neurologic tone. Customizing the orthosis with an adjustable hinge can benefit for hand positioning and range of motion.
There are various finger orthoses available from static plastic splints to devices with springs and small hinges. Bracing for the hand and fingers must give consideration to the possibility of loss of function due to the size & bulk of the device.
Thin, resilient materials allow for brace use during functional activities.
Heat moldable plastics can also be used which provide easy adjustability within the rehabilitation setting. An Occupational Therapist OTR may make changes to the splint to manipulate the position of the hand. Click here to view pdf