Splints

I asked at the RSI support group meeting on Saturday about splints (we have our own captive Occupational Therapist – she got RSI when she was a milliner and has re-trained as an OT!) There is the type which is made of an elastic material that has an aluminium bar down the inside of the wrist and is adjusted or held in place with velcro. They have varying degrees of support and length. Most stop you bending your wrist; some also stop you using your thumb – for people with thumb problems. There are similar ones that have a sort of thin foam incorporated into them; these are more comfortable to wear as they have some padding.

There are the custom made splints made out of foam that is molded to the shape of your wrist. As they are custom made I guess you can have bits missing over the carpal tunnel to avoid pressure on it. This is the sort I mentioned in an earlier posting – I have seen them where the foam is just down the back of the wrist and the straps come round the hand and front of the arm. All of these should be available through the physio or occupational therapy at the hospital. You may already have the best solution with your ones from the US, even though they are difficult to wear at night.

Comment 1: I developed RSI almost three years ago and so far have managed to stay in work. I have splints which are also given to people with arthritis which are made of fabric with a metal bar running through them and are fastened with Velcro. I personally find these very useful and obtained them from the local hospital’s physiotherapy unit. One point though, I was advised by my physiotherapist not to wear them for prolonged periods of time or the muscles could be affected. I’m also not advised to wear them overnight, only during the day. Hope this helps.

Comment 2: I was also advised by my physio not to wear splints for too long. He detected quite severe muscle wasting when I was using them and said it could only make matters worse.

Comment 3: Some current thinking on splints is that they should be worn at night and not during the day. There are a variety of reasons for this, which I am not going to go into in this post. The important point is that every case of tendonitis/cts/rsi etc. is different to the next. Don’t take what your physio/specialist says as gospel. Try the splint during the day, if it works for you, go with it. If not, try it at night time. Personally speaking, I try to do without the splint so that I *DO FEEL PAIN* when my tendons are overworked. This will mean I will be aware of the fact that I need to take a break, and also I won’t work longer than you should just because I am lulled into a false sense of security by my splint. Get in touch with your sensations and do what feels right for you.

Comment 4: Luckily I noticed that problem. I have the kind with an iron band on the injured side, and fastening with Velcro — rather quickly. (Not muscle wasting, but pain.) I now wear them only some of the time, and I took the iron out of the usual set. But as Rick says, all cases are different. What angers me is that some of us only encounter one kind of splint and one piece of advice (a splint at an angle for resting the hand, as its packaging says; advice, wear it while working!) and have to find our own solution. (Bend the iron to fit you and your use of the splint; take the iron out of one set; learn not to bend your wrists anyway…) As for thumbs, well, the splints aren’t made for bad thumbs. Better stop before I scream.

PS: I can’t get more than one kind of splint locally, or if I can, I can’t get referred until I can persuade my doctor that there is more than one, whose name I can give him, about which he can inquire there, before referring me; I imagine if they say they don’t have it, then he will not refer me. And I can’t get a referral back to the rheumatologist who said when he discharged me that he didn’t need to see me again unless the RSI came back. (But then when I hit my head and got concussion the local hospital missed I couldn’t get referred for a scan and still can’t, despite the headaches, stemming from the very point of the injury, the pulling feeling when I touch my face anywhere near there, and so on.) And then again, as my doctor said, going to the splint place would mean time off work so maybe its better I can’t get any referrals. Sorry about the rant.

Comment 5: I had the same advice – and muscle wasting definitely occurred. But giving them up was very difficult as they reduced the pain. Didn’t solve it until I got voice recognition software.

Comment 6: Try searching on Altavista for ‘wrist splints‘, it came up with several companies that supply them, mainly in the US. http://supports4u.com had about fifteen different wrist supports!


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