Saturday, 1 December 2012

Splints are not Glamorous

When I was first diagnosed I saw an occupational therapist who recommended that I wear resting splints at night so that my hands would feel better in the morning.  They are quite effective for that and I have worn them for 25 years - of course they need to be replaced every few years.  To deal with the fact that plastic, even with small ventilation holes, makes you sweat I cut up cotton socks to wear as liners.  I posted these pictures of the resting splints that I use for my hands and wrists at night in my online support group.

This is the comment I got from Judy after she saw the pictures.

"Your hand/wrist splints look very much like mine.  I don't have to wear them much anymore.  I used to wear them every night.  One night, my arms got stuck together with the Velcro on each splint.  I had to have Jim help me get them separated.

I can put them all on and look like I am ready for Halloween. You should see a box in my closet - I have about every kind of splint you can think of in the box plus ace bandages.  I have all kinds of ankle wraps.  I used to go out of the house looking like some kind of a mummy with all of my wraps, splints, etc."

So that really brings home the glamour, or lack thereof, of taking care of yourself.

For my fingers I have found a more stylish and very effective alternative. Silver ring splints keep your finger joints in a good position and look like up to date and unusual jewelry. The most frequent use for them is to correct a swan neck deformity (love the RA vocabulary). I can show you a very obvious example of that, and will, but be aware that with more effective drugs and treatment you don't see fingers like this so often anymore.

So you see here the finger without the splint and then with it. Showing these pictures almost feels like stripping. Unless I am demonstrating textbook examples for medical professionals my fingers are very seldom front and center

The silver ring splints can be used for other hand problems as well (like EDS for example) and can make joints more functional.


I have read clinical studies that say that results of using splints are inconclusive. There are a few reasons for that lack of consensus. One is that people find them uncomfortable or ugly so they don't continue wearing them and leave the trial.  In my opinion the other reason is that those who run the studies would have to follow the people for many  more years than their funding would last to be able to see a difference, and would have trouble finding a control group who would agree to participate and not use anything.

We're all so individual with our autoimmune diseases.


I have more splints but not more pictures, so I will follow up with more in the future. I'm like Judy. A whole box of splints under the bed.  As they wear out. I don't throw them out, just in case.


  1. My friend has hypermobilation, she is very ashamed but i would like to buy one for her so she can feel confident

  2. It would be great to help her. I have read that others with hypermobility wear splints of many types to protect their joints. It will make people ask questions at first but maybe they will then be more aware that there are some things that are hard or dangerous for her to do.