Splint or Orthosis – What is it and what is it made from?

Dec 1, 2021 | Hand Therapy, Orthosis, Splints

A splint or orthosis is a supportive device that when applied to the body can protect, promote healing or improve function. The term splint and orthosis can be used interchangeably and mean the same thing.

Your therapist will assess your symptoms and discuss whether a splint is going to be part of your treatment. Some of the reasons why your therapist may choose to recommend a splint is not only to promote healing and improve function but to also rest tissues, protect injuries, reduce pain, increase movement, correct deformities or stretch tight tissue.

There are off the shelf splints or custom-made splints. Off the shelf splints, are, as the name suggests, splints or supports that are ready made and not individualised. A custom-made orthosis is specifically fabricated for you – and that is what our therapists love doing. The advantage of a custom-made orthosis is that it is made for you and moulded to your hand, wrist, elbow or arm; meaning that it is usually more comfortable than a premade one and it is designed specifically for what you need.

Photo Copyright Canberra Hand Therapy Pty Ltd

The two most common questions that we get asked when it comes to splints are how long does it take to make? and what are they made out of?

Our therapists are usually able to fabricate your splint within one treatment session and you walk away with it. There are exceptional circumstances when the complexity of the splint means it will need to be made over two sessions but your therapist will discuss that with you.

Splints are usually made out of thermoplastic but can also be made out of neoprene, leather or a combination of the above. A thermoplastic is a type of plastic, made up of polymer resins, that becomes a soft material when heated and hard when it is cooled. It is because of this that therapists are able to heat thermoplastics until they are pliable, then mould them to your body part, making them client matched.

Photo Copyright Canberra Hand Therapy Pty Ltd

There are many different types of thermoplastics with different properties but your therapist will make that call – the only decision you have to make is what colour to choose!!

If you are unsure as to whether an orthosis may help you, please get in contact with our clinic to discuss.

For Further Information

If you would like further information on the services we provide at Canberra Hand Therapy, or if we can assist you with your rehabilitation, click the button to contact us.