Items in AFP with MESH term: Splints
ABSTRACT: Improper diagnosis and treatment of finger injuries can cause deformity and dysfunction over time. A basic understanding of the complex anatomy of the finger and of common tendon and ligament injury mechanisms can help physicians properly diagnose and treat finger injuries. Evaluation includes a general musculoskeletal examination as well as radiography (oblique, anteroposterior, and true lateral views). Splinting and taping are effective treatments for tendon and ligament injuries. Treatment should restrict the motion of injured structures while allowing uninjured joints to remain mobile. Although family physicians are usually the first to evaluate patients with finger injuries, it is important to recognize when a referral is needed to ensure optimal outcomes.
ABSTRACT: Family physicians can treat most finger fractures and dislocations, but when necessary, prompt referral to an orthopedic or hand surgeon is important to maximize future function. Examination includes radiography (oblique, anteroposterior, and true lateral views) and physical examination to detect fractures. Dislocation reduction is accomplished with careful traction. If successful, further treatment focuses on the concomitant soft tissue injury. Referral is needed for irreducible dislocations. Distal phalanx fractures are treated conservatively, and middle phalanx fractures can be treated if reduction is stable. Physicians usually can reduce metacarpal bone fractures, even if there is a large degree of angulation. An orthopedic or hand surgeon should treat finger injuries that are unstable or that have rotation. Collateral ligament injuries of the thumb should be examine with radiography before physical examination. Stable joint injuries can be treated with splinting or casting, although an orthopedic or hand surgeon should treat unstable joints.
ABSTRACT: Braces and splints can be useful for acute injuries, chronic conditions, and the prevention of injury. There is good evidence to support the use of some braces and splints; others are used because of subjective reports from patients, relatively low cost, and few adverse effects, despite limited data on their effectiveness. The unloader (valgus) knee brace is recommended for pain reduction in patients with osteoarthritis of the medial compartment of the knee. Use of the patellar brace for patellofemoral pain syndrome is neither recommended nor discouraged because good evidence for its effectiveness is lacking. A knee immobilizer may be used for a limited number of acute traumatic knee injuries. Functional ankle braces are recommended rather than immobilization for the treatment of acute ankle sprains, and semirigid ankle braces decrease the risk of future ankle sprains in patients with a history of ankle sprain. A neutral wrist splint worn full-time improves symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Close follow-up after bracing or splinting is essential to ensure proper fit and use.
Fingertip Injuries - Article
ABSTRACT: The family physician often provides the first and only medical intervention for fingertip injuries. Proper diagnosis and management of fingertip injuries are vital to maintaining proper function of the hand and preventing permanent disability. A subungual hematoma is a painful condition that involves bleeding beneath the nail, usually after trauma. Treatment requires subungual decompression, which is achieved by creating small holes in the nail. A nail bed laceration is treated by removing the nail and suturing the injured nail bed. Closed fractures of the distal phalanx may require reduction but usually are minimally displaced and stable, and can be splinted. Open or intra-articular fractures of the distal phalanx may warrant referral. Patients with mallet finger cannot extend the distal interphalangeal joint because of a disruption of the extensor mechanism. Radiographs help to differentiate between tendinous and bony mallet types. Most mallet finger injuries heal with six to eight weeks of splinting, but some require referral. Flexor digitorum profundus avulsion always requires referral. Dislocations of the distal interphalangeal joint are rare and usually occur dorsally.
Principles of Casting and Splinting - Article
ABSTRACT: The ability to properly apply casts and splints is a technical skill easily mastered with practice and an understanding of basic principles. The initial approach to casting and splinting requires a thorough assessment of the injured extremity for proper diagnosis. Once the need for immobilization is ascertained, casting and splinting start with application of stockinette, followed by padding. Splinting involves subsequent application of a noncircumferential support held in place by an elastic bandage. Splints are faster and easier to apply; allow for the natural swelling that occurs during the acute inflammatory phase of an injury; are easily removed for inspection of the injury site; and are often the preferred tool for immobilization in the acute care setting. Disadvantages of splinting include lack of patient compliance and increased motion at the injury site. Casting involves circumferential application of plaster or fiberglass. As such, casts provide superior immobilization, but they are more technically difficult to apply and less forgiving during the acute inflammatory stage; they also carry a higher risk of complications. Compartment syndrome, thermal injuries, pressure sores, skin infection and dermatitis, and joint stiffness are possible complications of splinting and casting. Patient education regarding swelling, signs of vascular compromise, and recommendations for follow-up is crucial after cast or splint application.
ABSTRACT: Management of a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions requires the use of a cast or splint. Splints are noncircumferential immobilizers that accommodate swelling. This quality makes splints ideal for the management of a variety of acute musculoskeletal conditions in which swelling is anticipated, such as acute fractures or sprains, or for initial stabilization of reduced, displaced, or unstable fractures before orthopedic intervention. Casts are circumferential immobilizers. Because of this, casts provide superior immobilization but are less forgiving, have higher complication rates, and are generally reserved for complex and/or definitive fracture management. To maximize benefits while minimizing complications, the use of casts and splints is generally limited to the short term. Excessive immobilization from continuous use of a cast or splint can lead to chronic pain, joint stiffness, muscle atrophy, or more severe complications (e.g., complex regional pain syndrome). All patients who are placed in a splint or cast require careful monitoring to ensure proper recovery. Selection of a specific cast or splint varies based on the area of the body being treated, and on the acuity and stability of the injury. Indications and accurate application techniques vary for each type of splint and cast commonly encountered in a primary care setting. This article highlights the different types of splints and casts that are used in various circumstances and how each is applied.
Which Nonsurgical Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Are Beneficial? - Cochrane for Clinicians
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Article
ABSTRACT: Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common entrapment neuropathy, affecting approximately 3 to 6 percent of adults in the general population. Although the cause is not usually determined, it can include trauma, repetitive maneuvers, certain diseases, and pregnancy. Symptoms are related to compression of the median nerve, which results in pain, numbness, and tingling. Physical examination findings, such as hypalgesia, square wrist sign, and a classic or probable pattern on hand symptom diagram, are useful in making the diagnosis. Nerve conduction studies and electromyography can resolve diagnostic uncertainty and can be used to quantify and stratify disease severity. Treatment options are based on disease severity. Six weeks to three months of conservative treatment can be considered in patients with mild disease. Lifestyle modifications, including decreasing repetitive activity and using ergonomic devices, have been traditionally advocated, but have inconsistent evidence to support their effectiveness. Cock-up and neutral wrist splints and oral corticosteroids are considered first-line therapies, with local corticosteroid injections used for refractory symptoms. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, diuretics, and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) have been shown to be no more effective than placebo. Most conservative treatments provide short-term symptom relief, with little evidence supporting long-term benefits. Patients with moderate to severe disease should be considered for surgical evaluation. Open and endoscopic surgical approaches have similar five-year outcomes.