Splints in Occupational Therapy: Types & Uses

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sarah Bryant

Sarah has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and an active Registered Nurse license. She teaches in hospitals, clinics and the classroom.

This lesson will outline the splints seen in occupational therapy (OT), address their uses for clients needs, and explain what aliment a client may suffer that calls for said splint. General medical needs will be talked about as well as what neurological or musculoskeletal conditions call for splinting. Updated: 03/31/2020

Types & Uses of Splints

A splint is something used to restrict, protect, or immobilize a part of the body and can be made from flexible materials, inflexible materials, or a combination of the two.

The types of splints commonly seen in occupational therapy are as follows:

  • Functional splint/safe splint
  • Silver rings
  • Flail arm splint
  • Wrist splint
  • Hand-based thumb splint
  • Figure eight/dynamic metacarpophalangeal flexion splint
  • Elbow splint
  • Resting splint
  • Dorsal protection splint
  • Wrist 15-30 degrees extension
  • Metacarpophalangeal 50-70 degrees flexion
  • Interphalangeal in full extension
  • Opponens splint
  • C-bar or thumb post splint
  • Deltoid sling/suspension sling
  • Thumb spica splint
  • Ulnar deviation splint
  • Balanced forearm orthosis
  • Cone splint/spasticity splint
  • Tenodesis splint
  • Buttonhole splint
  • Ulnar drift splint
  • Dynamic/static splint to position pop phalangeal in flexion
  • Buddy strap (finger)
  • Volar pan splint (wrist and hand)

The use of splints can come from many different origins, but there are generally four purposes outlined for the client need of splinting:

  1. Immobilization: to stop movement
  2. Mobilization: to gain movement
  3. Restriction: to restrict the movement for an area
  4. Torque transmission: to alter the force felt from an area

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  • 0:04 Types & Uses of Splints
  • 1:36 Medical Conditions
  • 4:02 Lesson Summary
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Medical Conditions

Let's explore some of the splints used to help with medical conditions.

  • Flail arm splints are used for a brachial plexus injury.
  • Wrist splints are used for carpal tunnel syndrome (CPS).
  • Elbow splints are usually used post surgery or post trauma. There are two basic forms: static and dynamic.
  • Resting splints are used for issues of flaccidity
  • Dorsal protection splints are used in flexor tendon injuries.

Another general medical issue where splints are necessary are burns, specifically, hand burns. The splints used in hand burns are: wrist 15-30 degrees extension, metacarpophalangeal (MCP) 50-70 degrees flexion, interphalangeals (IPs) in full extension, with the thumb abducted and extended and also volar pan splints. Dynamic and static splints to position the pop phalangeal in flexion are highly used post surgery for a number of reasons or causes. The buddy strap is most commonly used after a sports injury, or fracture of a finger.

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