Upper Limb Splinting
For Management of Muscle Length and Supporting Movement
In neurological conditions such as stroke and cerebral palsy, muscles often shorten due to limited movement, muscle tightness or muscle stiffness called spasticity. Muscle shortening can often worsen after a growth spurt as the muscle is unable keep up with the change in bone length.
In the upper limb, splinting is often recommended after Botulinum Toxin injections and/or serial casting to maintain the benefits for a longer period of time.
Upper limb splints are used in neurological conditions to:
provide prolonged stretch to tight muscles
prevent further muscle shortening (contracture)
support muscles that are weak
provide sensory input into the upper limbs
Support joints in a more optimal position for hand use.
There are two major categories of splints:
Resting Splints - usually worn at night or rest. Places muscles in a stretched position.
Functional Splints - support and corrects positions of wrist and hand to maximise its ability to move and function. Can be adapted to specific tasks.
Always consult your occupational therapist or physiotherapist! They will be able to help you decide which type of splint is most appropriate and how best to use and care for it.