The effect of prefabricated wrist-hand orthoses on performing activities of daily living

Ross, Karyn and O'Hare, Mark (2013) The effect of prefabricated wrist-hand orthoses on performing activities of daily living. In: ISPO 2013 World Congress, 2013-02-04 - 2013-02-07, HICC.

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Wrist-hand orthoses (WHOs) are commonly prescribed to manage the functional deficit associated with the wrist as a result of rheumatoid changes. The common presentation of the wrist is one of flexion and radial deviation with ulnar deviation of the fingers. This wrist position Results in altered biomechanics compromising hand function during activities of daily living (ADL). A paucity of evidence exists which suggests that improvements in ADL with WHO use are very task specific. Using normal subjects, and thus in the absence of pain as a limiting factor, the impact of ten WHOs on performing five ADLs tasks was investigated. The tasks were selected to represent common grip patterns and tests were performed with and without WHOs by right-handed, females, aged 20-50 years over a ten week period. The time taken to complete each task was recorded and a wrist goniometer, elbow goniometer and a forearm torsiometer were used to measure joint motion. Results show that, although orthoses may restrict the motion required to perform a task, participants do not use the full range of motion which the orthoses permit. The altered wrist position measured may be attributable to a modified method of performing the task or to a necessary change in grip pattern, resulting in an increased time in task performance. The effect of WHO use on ADL is task specific and may initially impede function. This could have an effect on WHO compliance if there appears to be no immediate benefits. This orthotic effect may be related to restriction of wrist motion or an inability to achieve the necessary grip patterns due to the designs of the orthoses.