Category Archives: Hand

The Benefits of Custom-Made Splints for Hand and Wrist Injuries

Benefits of Custom-Made Splints for Hand and Wrist Injuries

The Benefits of Custom-Made Splints for Hand and Wrist Injuries

The Benefits of Custom-Made Splints for Hand and Wrist Injuries

Hand and wrist injuries can be surprisingly debilitating if it prevents you from doing your job or daily necessary tasks. Hand and wrist injuries have a very broad range, from mild muscle strains to more devastating injuries such as fractures or deep lacerations. Pain and discomfort can push patients to quickly decide the best way to quickly relieve pain. When this is the case, buying an over-the-counter splint at a local store may sound enticing, but did you know that you can have a custom-made splint built specifically to suit your needs?

We asked one of our colleagues at Desert Hand Physical Therapy, Brittney Moya OTR/L CHT, about the benefits of having a custom-made splint for a hand or wrist injury.

Q: What types of conditions or injuries benefit from having a custom-made splint?

Any injuries that involve the elbow or wrist, such as carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel,(typically post-operative they don’t need them because they want them moving for nerve compression) elbow fractures, hand fractures, metacarpal fractures, P1-P2-P3, any and all tendon & artery repairs need one, nerve repairs also need one. There is also specific positioning [that] has to be adjusted over time to manage the protocol directly.

What are P1, P2, and P3?
P1 is the proximal phalange(lower third of a finger), P2 is the middle, and P3 is the distal phalange(the end of the finger).

Q: What makes custom-made splints better than the standard splints that are sold in convenience and big box stores?

Most importantly, they’re individualized. We like to say that over-the-counter splints are really one-size-fits-none! -there’s a small, medium, and large.

The custom splint will [be] individualized for the left or the right hand, where it fits that person specifically and it won’t fit one person to the next. They’re also individualized in care based on protocol and what that patient needs; so, if we’re making one for a CMC(carpometacarpal) joint, for example, some people have very mobile CMC, where we can put in the right position, some people we really have to work our way out into that more functional position- so they can be individualized in that way also.

They are carefully constructed to fit said protocol and/or person so we take a lot of effort to pad bony prominences, protect vulnerable tissue, and manage incisions and wounds, whereas the OTC would be just what it is, the metal is where it is, slight moveable but not really.

Also, they are more effective. There is research to indicate that because they’re fit for that person they’re made and molded specifically for them and they’re monitored. That’s a big thing, we monitor and modify our splints, absolutely throughout treatments, make little changes, and things like that.

Q: What type/(s) of material/(s) is the splint made out of that makes it comfortable to wear?

It is a thermoplastic material and as we’re molding it, it fits that person specifically so that’s what makes it comfortable. So if their wrist is of a specific girth, it fits exactly into that place and that position. We [can also create] “bubble-out areas” because it’s a plastic material, so we can lay down any foam on, for example on an ulnar stylite.

We usually put something on there and lay the splint over top and then remove that pad so that there’s a bubble and that splint material is never physically touching those bony prominences -that’s the other part that makes it comfortable. All splint material is [made of] thermoplastic, some of it has more/less elastic, it just depends on the provider and what they like to use.

custom splint for hand and wrist

Q: What are the risks of ignoring the importance of not wearing a custom-made splint after an injury has happened?

If we’re dealing with specifically a tendon or a nerve repair of some sort, it could rupture the repair or gap the repair -that’s huge. It’s part of the protocol for healing. It’s protecting structures and recently repaired things. The other risk would be for conservative structures or things that could be used for comfort or pain. It would not really change their pain or not progress their therapy protocol overall. They could stay more plateaued with their goals, or they [would] not be able to progress as fast as they would like to if they’re more intermittent with their therapy schedule versus the schedule we recommend.

We also used splints for progression of mobility, so we’ll use some more dynamic components to do this where if we’re trying to get a finger to bend, we may add something to a custom splint to get it to slowly bend, so in that situation, if the person is not with their wear schedule, then again their goals would be really slow to come by and we may get to a point where we have a joint contracture, or we’re really struggling with our manual component of therapy because the splint is supposed to be an add-on to what we’re doing.

Q: What are some things you can do to protect or stabilize an injury after it has occurred before you can get to a clinic?

Typically, you can use things like popsicle sticks, if you need to, for finger fractures. They also have a thing called AlumaFoam, they have aluminum on the outside and blue foam on the inside. Some people just put their finger in that and just get where they need to go. Big bulky ACE wraps(elastic bandage), just wrap up the injury several times over. They could put a thick sock or sleeve on [over the injured arm] and then put a balled-up sock inside of the other to keep their arm open.

Obviously, there are OTC products are there as well. The emergency room will place people in something called Ortho-glass, it’s a fiberglass component on the inside and soft white foam on the outside. They put it under running water wring it out and when they lay it on the patient, it will harden into whatever position it is in. Note, that’s the temporary [solution] otherwise known as, “soft cast” or “half cast” which is usually the gold standard they’ll use, and then they’ll recommend you go to physical therapy as soon as possible.

In Conclusion:

In many cases, a custom-made splint is a great option for patients suffering from both overuse and acute, hand and wrist injuries. Certified Hand Therapy can develop an individualized hand therapy program with a suitable custom-made splint created for your comfort and recovery.

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PT News July 2022

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout July 2022. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy-based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

Pre Workout Nutrition

1. Pre-Workout Nutrition for Optimal Performance 

Written by The Jackson Clinics with locations throughout Northern Virginia.

When we work out, our bodies require fuel to support energy production within the muscle tissues. Unsurprisingly, the food we eat directly supports these bioenergetic pathways! Proper pre-workout nutrition can greatly boost your performance while delaying fatigue and soreness. However, there are a few important considerations, including what, when, and how much to eat or drink, to get the most out of your pre-workout fueling.   Read more

 

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2. Did you Know Physical Therapy Can Alleviate Pain and Discomfort?

Written by Cornerstone Physical Therapy an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations throughout the Columbus, Ohio Area.

When you wake up in the morning, do you feel achy? While aches and pains are common from time to time, waking up every morning with them can indicate a more serious problem. We’ll get to the source of your issue to help you find relief, so you may wake up feeling refreshed in the mornings! Read more

 

3. Arthritis. Does Physical Therapy Help?

Written by Mission Physical Rehabilitation, an outpatient physical therapy group with locations throughout San Antonio, TX.

According to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, 20.7% of Bexar County residents have been diagnosed with Arthritis. With over 100 forms of arthritis, there is understandable confusion about the different forms of arthritis and the treatment options for each. Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent, while Rheumatoid arthritis is the most disabling. Those with arthritis do not have to live in pain, as there are treatment options beyond medication and surgery available   Read more

We hope you enjoyed our picks for the PT News July 2022 edition.

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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Physical Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Physical Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Physical Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that rheumatoid arthritis usually begins between the ages of 20 and 40. This disease may cause deformity and pain due to the weakening of bone joints and ligaments.

Rheumatoid arthritis is typically diagnosed through blood tests or looking at the bone structures through imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT) scan, X-rays, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

These methods reveal the severity of rheumatoid arthritis and help plan out the appropriate treatments for the disease.

Usually, medications are prescribed to ease the pain and other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. However, other non-pharmacological methods like occupational therapy and physical therapies are also done to help patients manage this disease.

Benefits of Physical Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Arthritis Foundation says physical therapy can help people with arthritis to move safely. Physical therapy (PT) can increase joint strength, improve mobility, and maximize the ability to perform life activities.

Physical therapy can help alleviate rheumatoid arthritis. Usually, PT routines include exercises that enhance balance, flexibility, coordination, and strength.

During therapy, your physical therapist will engage you in activities and exercises to help you maintain proper posture.

A PT can also assist you in using walkers and canes and suggest modifications that can help ease pain and improve everyday functions.

Exercises to Help with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Some people with arthritis fear exercise. However, exercise can actually help reduce the disability risks of arthritis.
Doing light exercises regularly can help strengthen muscles and boost flexibility that may help support joint function in rheumatoid arthritis. These constant movements may also help improve your emotional state and reduce fatigue.

The following low-intensity exercises are recommended for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

  1. Walking
    Low-impact and straightforward exercises are great for rheumatoid arthritis. Make sure to start your pace slowly and constantly drink water to stay hydrated. Walking promotes aerobic conditioning and boosts your mood.
  2. Stretching
    Stretching can help reduce joint stiffness, promoting flexibility among people with rheumatoid arthritis. Developing a stretching routine may help improve your range of motion. You can start your stretching routine with a warm-up for three to five minutes and proceed with mild stretching. Remember to hold the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds before releasing the stretch. You can repeat each stretch exercise two to three times.
  3. Cycling
    Low-impact aerobic exercises like cycling benefit the joints. Cycling may have beneficial effects on your cardiovascular health, which may be at risk when you have rheumatoid arthritis. You can ride a bike outside or cycle on a stationary bike with the supervision of a physical therapist.
  4. Yoga and Tai Chi
    Building your strength through these low-intensity exercises may increase your muscle strength and joint flexibility. These activities encourage flowing movements and deep breathing that are also advantageous for balance to avoid falls.
  5. Hand Exercises
    One of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is joint pain, especially in the smaller joints of fingers.

Here are some helpful hand exercises that you can try.

  • Making a Fist
    Start this simple exercise by stretching out your hand with your fingers straight, and then slowly draw them together to form a fist. Make sure that your thumbs are not tucked under your fingers. Hold the fist for a minute and repeat it as many times as you want.
  • Pinching Fingers
    Start by opening your hand again. With your thumb, try and touch each finger and press it firmly by doing a pinch action. You can hold the pinch for a second or two before moving to the next finger.
  • Stretching Fingers
    You can do this stretch by slowly and gently opening your hand and stretching out your fingers for several seconds. This stretch can strengthen the muscles and reduce the stiffness of finger joints.
  • Lifting Your Fingers
    Place your hand facing down on a flat surface. One by one, slowly lift each of your fingers, starting from your thumb to your pinky. Hold the finger lift for a second or two before lowering it.

Other Physical Therapy Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are passive ways that PT can help with rheumatoid arthritis. A physical therapist performs these treatments.

Massage Therapy
This relaxing treatment can help target specific muscles and release tension. Massage can also stimulate healthy blood circulation and manage stress.
Note that massage therapy is not recommended for painful joints during a rheumatoid arthritis flare-up.

Hydrotherapy
This type of therapy involves submerging the affected area or the whole body into warm water to relieve arthritis pain.
Hydrotherapy can be passive therapy or active therapy. Some physical therapists assist rheumatoid arthritis patients in performing light movements and exercises in the water.

Cryotherapy Therapy
This therapy is performed by putting a cold compress on the affected area to reduce swelling and help alleviate pain.

Heat Therapy
Heat therapy is done by placing a warm towel on the affected area to promote circulation. This therapy may also stimulate blood flow and soothe muscle tension and pain.

Ultrasound
Therapeutic ultrasound uses vibrations from sound waves to reduce stiffness and pain, improving joint function.

For help with your arthritis pain please reach out to a physical or occupational therapist near you.  We can work to manage your symptoms and still keep you doing the activities you love most!

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This article was written by Ruth Riley. She is an educator, writer, literary enthusiast, and a regular contributor at Motherhoodcommunity.com. By utilizing her expertise in teaching and writing, she wishes to educate more people and provide insight into health and wellness.

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PT News April 2021

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout April 2021. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy-based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Physical Therapy Can Relieve Your Arthritis Pain in These 4 Ways

Written by Cornerstone Physical Therapy with multiple locations throughout Ohio.

Physical therapy is one of the highest-rated treatments for arthritis pain. While so many people think of physical therapy as a treatment for following an injury or after a devastating health condition like a heart attack or stroke, utilizing physical therapy for arthritis pain is both highly effective and recommended.  Read more

 

2. What is Proprioception Injury Prevention?

Written by O.S.R. Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice with 4 locations in Minneapolis. 

Proprioception injury prevention is simply using your body’s sense of orientation to prevent an injury. Thinking about how you’re moving, what’s around you, and your position can help you stay clear of acute injuries. Acute sports injuries are some of the most painful injuries for an athlete. An injury is physically painful. But, it can also be emotionally painful as you’re sidelined for days and even months until you recover.  Read more

 

ACL Soccer Knee

3. Second ACL Tear 7 Times More Likely in Young Athletes

Written by Custom Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group with 3 locations near Reno, NV.

If you return to knee-strenuous sporting activities (e.g. soccer, volleyball) within 9 months of your ACL reconstruction and you are 25 years old or younger, you are 7 times more likely to sustain a second ACL tear! Those who returned to their sport 12 months after surgery fared substantially better.  Read more

We hope you enjoyed our picks for the PT News April 2021 edition.

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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PT News September 2020

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout September 2020. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Virtual Total Body Fitness Workout

Created by The Center for Physical Rehabilitation with locations throughout Greater Grand Rapids, MI.

This bodyweight-only class is sure to get your heart rate up and muscles burning! With modifications available to increase or decrease the intensity, this exercise circuit is great for everyone! Not ready to resume in-person classes? No problem! Check out this Virtual Fitness Class options here! Read more

 

2. Excercise Improves Learning

Written by The Jackson Clinics, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations throughout Northern Virginia. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, e-learning platforms have quickly become how many children will learn this Fall. As a result, our kids will experience a sharp jump in their screen time. Now, more than ever, we need to help to counteract this rise in sedentary time with some good old fashioned exercise and playtime!  Read more

 

3. Minimizing Opioid Use Through Physical Therapy

Written by Wright Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical and hand therapy practice with locations throughout Southern, ID.

Chronic pain affects nearly one-third of the American population and is, more often than not, disabling. The assurance of repose can sound promising no matter which pain relief option is presented, even if the option is the introduction of habit-forming prescription medications. Despite the daunting stats, there is great news! Physical therapy (PT) is powerful as a highly recommended alternative to the use of dangerous and addictive pain medications.  Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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PT News August 2020

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout June & July 2020. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Sports Periodization Can Help You Peak and Avoid Overuse Injuries

Written by Physical Therapy Plus with locations in Clinton, Hackettstown, and Washington, NJ.

As unfortunate as it is true, injuries and sports go hand in hand. An average of 8.6 million injuries in sports and recreational activities occur each year, which equates to about 34 injuries for every 1,000 individuals that participate. While some minor injuries might only lead to a short gap in participation, others can end seasons and lead to long-term complications if not rehabilitated properly.  Read more

 

sport specialization

2. Baseball Throwing Injuries

Written by Mishock Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations throughout Montgomery, Berks, and Chester Counties. 

Most states have moved away from self-quarantine and are now resuming the “new normal” with COVID-19 in our midst. From March through June, youth and adolescent sports were canceled. Sports organizations are now trying to play catch up by squeezing spring and summer sports into July and August. With this ramp-up in games, we have seen a significant increase in sports-related injuries, especially baseball throwing injuries. Two such injuries are growth plate injuries of the throwing elbow and shoulder.  Read more

 

3. Get Back In The Saddle With Help from a Hand Therapist

Written by Rebound Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical and hand therapy practice with locations throughout Bend, OR.

Reaching out your arm to brace for a fall is instinctual. It’s no surprise, then, that some of the most common mountain biking injuries are fractures of the wrist, hands, fingers, and elbows. When a bike’s front tire hits a rock or loose dirt, it can cause the rider to fly off the bike and land on an outstretched arm.  Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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PT News July 2020

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout June & July 2020. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Now is the Time to Start Physical Therapy

Written by Mishock Physical Therapy with multiple locations throughout Berks & Montgomery Counties in PA.

Now is the time to focus on your health and treat the pain that is limiting your function, leading to poor quality of life. This is the perfect time to start physical therapy. We can help!  Read more

 

physical therapy for headaches

2. Physical Therapy for Cervical Headaches

Written by The Jackson Clinics, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations throughout Central Virginia 

There are multiple types of headaches. Often a simple exam and a few questions can rule in or out cervical headaches as the cause. Very rarely are expensive imaging and testing is needed to achieve a diagnosis. Following an initial evaluation, a physical therapist will have the basis for understanding Read more

 

physical therapy for arthritis

3. Physical Therapy: Treating Arthritis the Safe and Easy Way

Written by Cornerstone Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical and hand therapy practice with 6 locations throughout the Columbus, OH Metropolitan Area.

Anyone living with arthritis knows how debilitating it can be. Several people dealing with arthritic aches and pains end up resorting to steroid injections, antirheumatic drugs, or even joint replacement surgery, in order to manage their pain. However, physical therapy itself has proven successful for many arthritis sufferers.  Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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PT News January 2020

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout January 2020. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. How to Keep Up With Your New Year’s Resolutions

Written by Momentum Physical Therapy with multiple locations throughout San Antonio, TX.

Did you set a health or fitness goal for this new year/new decade? Maybe it was running, joining a gym, drinking more water or even getting more sleep. No matter what you choose, it’s important to have a goal in mind. We have all heard the statistics on resolutions, especially when it comes to fitness-related resolutions.  Read more

 

2. Winter Activities Foster Year-Round Fitness

Written by The Jackson Clinics, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations throughout Virginia and Maryland. 

The urge to “hibernate” in winter is strong, even for us humans. However, you are better off staying in shape than struggling to catch up come spring. And winter exercise benefits more than just physical fitness; it is also a powerful antidote for the winter blues. Read more

 

3. What is a Hand Therapist

Written by Desert Hand and Physical Therapy an outpatient physical and hand therapy practice with locations throughout Phoenix, AZ.

Physical therapy is something we may have all heard about, but hand therapy might be unfamiliar territory. Although physical therapy and hand therapy are similar, there are some major differences between the two that should be understood.   Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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PT News September 2019

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout September 2019. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Written by Spectrum Physical Therapy with three locations in New London County, CT.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a type of injury called a peripheral nerve entrapment. What this means is that it is a condition in which the median nerve gets compressed and irritated as it passes through a structure called the carpal tunnel, located on the palm side of your wrist. The carpal tunnel is formed by the carpal (wrist) bones and connective tissue and protects the median nerve and finger flexor tendons as they pass through the wrist.  Read more

 

2. Tommy John Elbow Ligament Injuries in Football Quarterbacks: Why are there significantly fewer injuries than in baseball pitchers?

Written by Mishock Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations throughout PA’s Montgomery, Berks, and Chester Counties. 

Recently Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sustained an ulnar collateral ligament tear and subsequent surgery, ending his football season. Elbow injuries in football players are uncommon with 92% of the injuries being traumatic (contusions and dislocations), (Ortho J Sports Med 2019). Ulnar collateral ligament injuries in football quarterbacks are even more uncommon. Read more

 

Fire fighter workers compensation

3. Firefighter and Active Dad Gets Back to Work and Life 

Written by ARC Physical Therapy+ an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations across Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa

Marcus Winstead is a firefighter, husband, and father who enjoys leading an active lifestyle with his wife and three children.  “I’ve been a firefighter for 13 years”, Marcus explained. “Throughout that time, I’ve been on numerous calls and in very unique and challenging situations. As luck would have it, I was injured during a training exercise. I had two-disc injuries (protrusion and extrusion between L4-L5/L5-S1).” Read more

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carpal tunnel

Carpal Tunnel Causes, Relief, and Treatment

carpal tunnel syndrome causes

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Why Does it Hurt So Much?

The carpal tunnel is a small space at the wrist in which the median nerve and nine tendons pass through. The median nerve travels on top of the tendons through the tunnel. The tunnel itself is made up of your wrist bones and along the top of the tunnel is a thick fibrous ligament called the transverse carpal ligament. If the tendons become swollen (tenosynovitis) or if the tunnel size itself decreases because of injury, compression to the median nerve can occur. Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may include: pain during pinching and gripping, a feeling of clumsiness – the inability to hold things, numbness in the fingers at night, or a radiating pain up the arm.

Risk factors at home and at work

There are many factors that can contribute to pain in the carpal tunnel, but these are some of the most common causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

  • Repetition – Overuse can occur with light forces. Irritation of the tendon can be caused by rapid, repetitive activity without a break. Decreased blood flow to the nerves and tendons may be caused by holding or gripping an object without relaxation.
  • Force – The muscles of the hand and fingers are contracted when gripping or pinching. These contractions place stress on the tendons that go through the carpal tunnel. Higher forces are more likely to expose you to greater risks.
  • Bending – The tendons in the carpal tunnel can be irritated by bending your hand. Bending your hand up, down, or sideways may inflame the tendons in the carpal tunnel.
  • Vibration – Nerves are especially susceptible to vibration. Common causes of vibration of the nerves in the carpal tunnel are power tools, steering wheels, or other mechanized equipment.
  • Impact – Your hand is not a tool. Hitting, moving, or jerking objects may damage the structures of the wrist. Even using a hammer transmits sudden force to these delicate structures.

Practicing prevention

The first line of defense against Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is reducing the risk factors that may lead to CTS. Look carefully at your equipment and tools and try to eliminate the forces that are risk factors. This can include bending, vibration, impact, and repetition.

  • Tool Handles – A handle should have an optimum grip span of about 2 ¼ inches.
  • Gripping Surface – Use rubberized coating or tubing on your gripping surface. This will lower the grip strength required to hold onto the tool.
  • Reduction in vibration – Place a rubber or gel material on the handles or utilize gloves with rubber inserts to reduce vibration.

Home treatment

  • Ice – Use an ice pack on the palm and wrist area for 10 minutes after intensive hand activities. This can be followed by the wrist stretches.
  • Rest – Rest your hands after frequent, forceful, or repetitive activities that last 30 – 60 minutes. Try doing a different activity which is not as stressful to your wrist and hand.

carpal tunnel

If your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pain does not subside, call your physical therapist to schedule an appointment. Physical therapy may be able to reduce pain and remove the need for surgery.

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