Natasha A. Lannin,
Splints are commonly applied to the wrist and hand to prevent and treat contracture after stroke. The purpose of this RCT was to determine whether wearing a hand splint, which positions the wrist in either a neutral or an extended position, reduces wrist contracture in adults with hemiplegia after stroke. Sixty-three adults who had experienced a stroke within the preceding 8 weeks were randomized to either a control group (routine therapy) or 1 of 2 intervention groups (routine therapy plus splint in either a neutral or an extended wrist position). Splints were worn overnight for between 9 and 12 hours, for 4 weeks. The primary outcome was extensibility of the wrist and long finger flexor muscles. After 4 weeks, the effect of neutral wrist splinting was to increase wrist extensibility by a mean of 1.4Â°, and splinting the wrist in extension reduced wrist extensibility by a mean of 1.3Â° compared with the control condition. The authors concluded that splinting the wrist in either the neutral or extended wrist position for 4 weeks did not reduce wrist contracture after stroke and therefore, that the practice of routine wrist splinting soon after stroke should be discontinued.
Stroke , 2007 , 38 (1), 111-116