Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hand Splints for Children with Cerebral Palsy

A systemic review was recently published on the effectiveness of hand splints for children with cerebral palsy.  Six studies met the inclusion criteria and all were only on children with cerebral palsy.  Five studies were on non functional hand splints and one study was on functional hand splints.  The results indicated the following:
  • in children with cerebral palsy, hand splints may have a small benefit for upper limb skills. 
  • results were diminished after splint wearing stops. 
The researchers concluded that given the cost of a splint, potential negative cosmetic look and discomfort for the child, clinicians must consider whether hand splinting is clinically worthwhile. Further methodologically sound research regarding hand splinting was recommended.

Reference: Jackman M, Novak I, Lannin N. Effectiveness of hand splints in children with cerebral palsy: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2013 Jul 15. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12205. [Epub ahead of print] 

2 comments:

Christopher Alterio said...

Interesting - I look forward to reading this and seeing what studies were included since there is a big difference between a neoprene functionally-enabling splint (like Benik or Joe-Cool) vs. thermoplastic splint to prevent further deformity or maintain hygiene in a child with severe contractures. Generally, when ROM can be maintained without a splint, and if I am not trying something to enable function - I would just as soon not bother with splints. Still, so much depends. :D

Your Therapy Source Inc said...

Agree with the phrase "so much depends..." In my opinion the biggest factor depends on whether the child, family, teacher and therapist all agree that the child will benefit from the split. Without 100% buy in by all parties it is difficult for a splint (or lower extremity orthotic) to be successful.