Upper extremity orthoses are devices which are applied to improve functionality or restore structural characteristics of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. These problems include trauma, sports, or work-related injuries. These orthoses are also used for patients who have neurological problems, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, and peripheral nerve injury. They are also used in arthritic conditions.
Upper extremity orthoses can be static orthoses or dynamic/functional orthoses. The static devices do not allow motion. In contrast, the dynamic orthoses permit motion and are used to assist movement of weak muscles. Some of the functions of upper extremity orthoses are as follows:
• Increase Range of Motion
• Immobilize an extremity and help promote healing of tissue
• Assist in providing enhanced function
• Apply traction to correct or prevent contractures
• Help deformities
• Restrict unwanted movement of a joint
Static orthoses protect and immobilize hands thus striving to correct contractures. They are used to prevent hyperextension, and aid ligament repairs. They are also used in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, burns, scleroderma, or nerve injuries.
Dynamic Hand Orthoses are used to maintain support while providing positioning support for fingers, and assisting weak motor finger-extensor function. These devices are used with outrigger supports, cuffs, rubber bands, and hook applications.
Wrist Orthoses Tenodesis orthoses are used to facilitate use of the natural tenodesis action of the wrist. Some wrist splints incorporate a palmer metal 'spoon' insert for added wrist stability.
• Shoulder Abduction Restraint is an orthosis designed to protect shoulder from recurrent dislocation.
• Acromio/Clavicular Sling is used to restrict motion of subluxated shoulders by utilizing humeral cuff and chest straps to maintain the humeral head within the glenoid cavity, with the entire weight of the arm suspended on the shoulder.
• Elastic/Neoprene Elbow Orthoses are fabricated of elastic or neoprene type materials and are used to treat strains, sprains, arthritis, bursitis, turf protection and epicondylitis.
• Articulated Elbow Orthoses are available in free or limited range of motion (ROM) control. They are used to treat strains, sprains, arthritis, bursitis, turf protection and epicondylitis, elbow hyper-extension.
• Dynamic Elbow Splint is an active elbow brace that incorporates a spring loaded, adjustable tension mechanized elbow joint. It is used for bicep or triceps muscle re-education.
• Shoulder Abduction Splint (Airplane Splint) is a static orthosis designed to hold the arm in abduction with the elbow flexed and the forearm pronated. It is used in pre and post-operative shoulder management, brachial plexus injuries, prevention of upper extremity joint contractures, Erby's Palsy, post-muscle release and tendon transfer of the shoulder, burn management in the axillary region.
• The Ulnar Fracture Orthosis is designed to secure and maintain the reduction of isolated ulnar fracture while allowing adjacent joint movement.
• Modular Elbow Orthoses are designed with medial lateral adjustable range of motion (ROM) elbow joints attached to modular polyethylene arm cuffs. They are effective in limiting flexion and extension following elbow arthroplasty, distal humeral fractures, or post-reconstructive surgery.