The Effects of Splinting on Thumb Arthritis. Ann Intern Med. 2009;150:I-34. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-150-10-200905190-00001
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 2009;150(10):I-34.
Osteoarthritis (arthritis) is the most common cause of joint pain in middle-age and older persons. It often occurs in large joints, such as the knees and hips, but it can also occur in the hands. Thumb arthritis is fairly common. Thumb osteoarthritis causes pain at the base of the thumb, which limits movement and function. Treatment of thumb arthritis includes drugs and steroid injections for pain. Some experts recommend splinting. Splinting is inexpensive and safe, but no research has yet shown that it helps persons with thumb arthritis.
To see whether splinting improves pain and hand function in people with thumb arthritis.
101 women and 11 men with thumb arthritis who received care at 2 medical centers in France.
The researchers randomly assigned half of the participants to receive a custom-made thumb splint, which they were told to wear at night. The other participants received any treatment they needed for their arthritis except for a thumb splint. The researchers then measured pain and hand function and compared the measures in the 2 groups.
Pain and hand function improved more in persons who wore the splint than in those who did not; however, it took more than 1 month to find evidence of these improvements.
The researchers could not keep participants from knowing that they were going to receive a splint the way they could if they compared 2 different pills. As a result, the improve-ments the researchers found could have been due to patients' expectations about the splint's effects, rather than the splint itself.
Splinting is an effective treatment of thumb arthritis, and it might help avoid other treatments, such as drugs and steroid injections, for pain.
The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.
Results provided by:
Copyright © 2016 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only