New Roll-On Splint for Stiff Finger TipThe fingers bend and straighten because of three separate joints. The middle joint called the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP) is the focus of this case study. A previous ATV accident left this 49-year-old with a very stiff PIP. The problem described was stiffness of the PIP causing pain and preventing finger pinch, grip, and overall function.
The solution was a new roll-on splint for the PIP. The splint is designed to stretch the joint by applying a dynamic, low-load over a long period of time. And the results? Excellent recovery after daily wearing for six hours over a period of three months.
The hand therapists treating this individual describe many advantages in using this new splint with only a few potential downfalls. Some of the benefits included:
And as the results showed, these many features of this little finger splint made it possible for the patient to wear it faithfully. The result was a significant and measurable increase in motion and strength with a decrease in pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Were there any disadvantages to the roll-on PIP splint? A few -- but very few -- and easy to work around. First, the splint is made of silicone material, which is known to cause allergic reactions in some people. That was not the case for this patient. And second, it was too uncomfortable to wear at night so wear-time was limited to daytime hours when the person might need the finger more for daily activities.
The hand therapists who worked with this patient were very favorably impressed with the roll-on splint. They suggest it is a simple yet effective treatment for challenging cases of proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint stiffness. Of course, with only one patient involved in the study, there is a need for more research with a broader range of patients. Other studies comparing results of this roll-on splint with other finger splints used for the same problem would also be helpful. Concern about possible allergic reaction will require careful monitoring with this particular splint.
Ronit Wollstein, MD, et al. A Novel Splint for Proximal Interphalangeal Joint Contractures: A Case Report. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. October 2012. Vol. 93. No. 10. Pp. 1856-1859.
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