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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Dynamic splinting in wrist extension following distal radius fractures

Stacey H Berner1 and F Buck Willis2*

Author Affiliations

1 Advanced Centers for Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, 10 Crossroads #210 Owings Mills, MD 21117, USA

2 University of Phoenix: Axia College; Health Sciences, Adjunct Instructor and Dynasplint Systems, Inc, Clinical Research, PO Box 1735 San Marcos TX 78667, USA

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Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2010, 5:53  doi:10.1186/1749-799X-5-53

Published: 6 August 2010

Abstract

Background

Wrist flexion contracture is a common pathology which presents secondary to distal radius fractures. Joint stability, restoration and early mobilization are frequently achieved through surgical treatment after such an injury. The purpose of this retrospective study was to evaluate the initial effect of dynamic splinting on wrist extension (active range of motion), in both surgical and non-surgical patients following distal radius fractures.

Methods

Records were obtained from 133 patients who were treated with a Wrist Extension Dynasplint (WED) following distal radius fractures, between May 2007 and May 2009. Forty-two of these patients received surgical treatment for their fractures. This study specifically examined the initial usage of the WED as a home therapy. The retrospective analysis included categorization of patients who received the WED exclusively vs. patients who received WED treatment with concurrent hand therapy; surgical categorization included surgical patients vs. nonsurgical patients.

Results

There was a significant improvement in maximal active range of motion (AROM) for all patients (P < 0.0001) after a mean duration of 3.9 weeks of dynamic splinting. Patients showed a mean 62% increase in active extension. There was not a significant difference between patients who had received surgical treatment for the fracture vs. nonsurgical.

Conclusion

This dynamic splinting modality contributed 138 to 185 hours of stretching at the end range of motion for these patients in their first month following fracture. This unique regime is considered directly responsible for significant gains in AROM.