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Original report

Patient reported outcome of silversplints used for osteoarthritis of the hand

Nienke Roux, Wouter Akkerman, Marco Toor, Jan Willem van der Windt
Rehabilitation Medicine, Sophia Rehabilitation, The Hague, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
DOI: 10.2340/20030711-1000060

Abstract

Pain, stiffness and joint deformity can result in significantly reduced hand function in people with osteoarthritis. Characteristic finger deformities in osteoarthritis are swan neck deformity and boutonnière deformity. Several studies have reported that an orthosis decreases pain and increases function during daily activities for patients with arthritis. The aim of this study was to review patient-reported outcomes of current conservative therapeutic management with silver ring splints (silversplints) for patients with osteoarthritis of the hand. There was a 76% improvement in overall daily functioning and a 74% reduction in pain. Several questions concerned daily activities with different types of hand function and with different types of grip and use of fingers. The results show a major improvement in both the more open grip of the hand and activities requiring fine motor skills. The ability to use force with the hand, even when wearing an orthosis, is an important result. Patients who experienced “no problems or minor problems” had significantly increased functioning in several activities of daily living, but the largest improvement in functioning was seen in “household chores” (243%), “opening jars” (150%) and “lifting groceries” (143%). Overall, silversplints appear to serve as a suitable support for the joints in osteoarthritis of the hand, providing pain relief by preventing the joint from moving through its full range of motion. Use of silversplints to treat patients with osteoarthritis of the hand should be considered as a useful, non-surgical method.

Lay Abstract

This study of patient-reported outcome measures regarding the use of silversplints for osteoarthritis of the hand provides insight into the additional care and quality of life provided by the use of an orthopaedic medical aid. The aims of this study are to measure the effectiveness of silversplints in daily life and to validate the efficacy of using orthopaedic medical aids. Between October 2018 and June 2020, a total of 2,231 patients with osteoarthritis were provided with silversplints and were asked about the effectiveness of the splints 3 weeks after they first started wearing them. This large-scale study found that the use of silversplints contributed to overall daily functioning, reduced pain, and increased the possibility of performing daily activities. Silversplints appear to serve as a suitable support for joints, providing pain relief and freedom of movement, but preventing the joint from moving through its full range of motion.

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