This paper reports a matched-pair experimental study to investigate the effect of corrective splinting on flexion contracture of rheumatoid fingers. Twenty-four patients with rheumatoid arthritis and finger flexion contracture participated in the study. After a 6-week baseline measurement-of hand function-including measurement of grip strength and range of motion and administration of the Jebsen Hand Function Test-the patients were randomly placed into two groups. Patients in the first group were given dynamic (Capener) splints, and those in the second group were given static (belly gutter) splints. Hand function was re-assessed 6 weeks after the splinting program. Results indicated significant improvement in both groups, not only in the correction of the finger flexion contracture (p < 0.0005) but also in grip strength (p = 0.001) and hand function (p < 0.0005). Patients with dynamic finger extension splints did not differ from those with static splints in extension gains, but they did have better flexion than patients with static splints. Both types of splints can be recommended for flexion contracture of rheumatoid fingers, depending on patients' preferences and comfort.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation