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Splinting for

Rheumatoid Arthritis &

Osteoarthritis of Hands
Purposes, Benefits and Schedule:
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can
be benefited by wearing a thumb immobilization splint.
Splinting for rheumatoid arthritis can reduce pain, slow
deformity, and stabilize the thumb joints.
There are three stages of RA and Osteoarthritis, and the
goals of splint are different during these stages:
1. During inflammatory process, the goal is to rest the
joints and reduce inflammation.
Schedule: the person wears the thumb
immobilization splint continuously during periods of
inflammation and periodically thereafter for pain
control as necessary.
2. The hand requires mechanical support because the
joints are less stable and are painful with use.
Schedule: the person wears a thumb immobilization
splint for support while doing daily activities and
perhaps at night for pain relief.
3. Pain is usually not a factor, but the joints may be
grossly deformed and unstable. A thumb
immobilization splint may provide support to increase
function during certain activities.
Schedule: splinting rarely helpful for the person at
night unless to help manage pain

What to expect: may see a red mark after taking of
the splint, and it will disappear within seconds.
Warning signs: red marks that do not disappear
within seconds, and ulcerations on the skin.
What to expect: If the lymphatic system is not
damaged, edema reduction usually begins relatively
quickly with appropriate wound healing (i.e., no
infection), proper elevation, and gentle active
exercises as permitted
Warning signs: persistent edema that will not go
away and brings damage result.
- When your physical and function change,
remember to have your splint adjusted.
- Too much moisture may make wet, white,
macerated skin can occur, your therapist will
educate you how to take care your splint provide a
polypropylene stockinette to absorb moisture
Vanessa Li OTAS
Email: vanessawing19@gmail.com
Photo: 7065048752

Coppard, B., & Lohman, H. (2008). Chapter 6 Clinical Reasoning for Splint Fabrication. In Introduction
to splinting: A clinical reasoning and problem-solving approach (3rd ed.). St. Louis: Mosby.
Coppard, B., & Lohman, H. (2008). Chapter 8 Thumb immobilization splint. In Introduction to splinting:
A clinical reasoning and problem-solving approach (3rd ed.). St. Louis: Mosby.