It is Christmas once again and that means a trip to the japan store or American store for the 99 peso stuff that they are selling? Among the things being sold for 99 pesos each are those blue things that wrap around limbs such as wrist, fingers, knees, elbows and other body parts. They are usually called supports but are actually a type of splint and are usually given as gifts specially for our carpal tunnel affected friends as such it might be imperative to know if they are even effective in lessening the impact of chronic repetitive injuries.
Just for clarifications what are splints? Splints generally are two solid planks that sandwich a movable joint either to limit or support movement. There are 2 general classifications the hard and soft ones. The hard ones are usually used if the injury needs complete immobilization as such they are made with either hard plastic or thermoplastic that harder when arches are molded on it. Within the hard splints are even more types dynamic splints and static splints. The static splints keep the problematic parts immobile as well as the joints near the problematic part. The dynamic splints keep the problematic parts immobile while keeping the joints mobile. The hard splints are commonly used for spinal cord injuries, flexor tendon injuries and fractures. The soft splints are usually splints that just limit the movement and give feedback to the parts that need not be move or compress the muscles for support. These are usually the things you get to buy in those bargain japan stores.
So are splints really helpful? The answer actually depends on the reason you are using the splints for. If you are using them to help fractured parts heal and you are using hard splints then the splints are pretty much helpful. The splints helpfulness for these types of problems depend on the fabricators understanding of the splints too small the length from the problematic part to the supporting part then you are practically supporting none of the problematic in this case fractured parts. Too long a splint and you have a expensive splint due to the material cost and the client has to carry the extra weight of the splint. For the dynamic splints you have to take into consideration the torque and the various supporting surfaces so as to create a viable dynamic splint that would allow the client movement without having the material break on the client due to excessive stress.
For the soft splints the key thing or the key word for the effectiveness of the soft splints is the fit. If you would recall I have said one of their function is for giving feedback to the user. They key thing for this is the proper fit the usual thing for checking their fir is that they lay atop the parts that need to be cued and also after 60 seconds the skin is still pinkish on color otherwise the blood flow to the limbs might have been cut of already. It is also important to note that even if the splint seems to stay on the part and does not fit properly due to having the ends plugged up by bands then it is primarily cosmetic in function.
The main problem for the soft splints is not that they break well technically they stretch it time, but the problem is the body’s ability to expand during rigorous activity as the body parts sometimes swell up as such having to account for that small increase in diameter is integral to whether a soft splint will be helpful, otherwise it might be a lot more helpful for the person specially in rigorous activity to use something else for supports specifically properly applied kinesiology tapes. Having properly applied tapes with the proper tension applies the same type of support the problem is that they may only be used for a short amount of time and would need a practitioner capable of using the kinesiology tape.
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