Question:I've been trying out a wrist splint to find out if a fusion surgery might help me. The splint really irritates my wrist, so maybe I should just go for the surgery and skip this step. What do you think?
Answer:Restricting wrist motion with a splint can provide helpful information prior to making a decision to have surgery. When properly fitted, a splint can prevent motion and protect the joint. Some splints only partially restrict motion, while others are meant to prevent all motion.
But an uncomfortable splint can reduce compliance (patients stop wearing it). Comfort is always a concern and should be addressed by the person who made or provided the splint. This could be a hand therapist, orthotist, or physician.
Modifications can be made to decrease skin irritation and improve comfort. Sometimes the splint size isn't quite right for the patient and must be modified or changed. Custom-made openings for the thumb and palm may be needed. Moleskin and foam can be used to pad areas that chafe or rub.
When properly fitted, a functional splint provides little hindrance to hand function. Sore spots and areas of irritation do not occur. A layer of cotton stockinette placed over the skin before applying the splint may also help reduce skin irritation.Orrin I. Franko, BS, et al. Functional Disability of the Wrist: Direct Correlation with Decreased Wrist Motion. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. April 2008. Vol. 33A. No. 4. Pp. 485-492.
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