Are you wearing a brace or splint/orthosis?

Hands

Some Common conditions where you may need to wear a brace or splint/orthosis include sprains, fractures, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Here are some important wear and care tips you should know.

Over-the-counter splints:

  • Read all instructions before wearing, including proper cleaning, fit, and safety precautions. Follow wearing schedule as instructed by your health care provider (occupational therapist, physical therapist, orthotist or doctor).
  • Cleaning recommendation: hand wash fabric with mild soap and warm water, pat dry with a towel and then air dry completely before re-applying.

Custom-made thermoplastic splint:

  • Follow wear and care instructions from your health care provider.
  • Cleaning recommendation: wipe clean using a damp cloth with mild soap and warm water or use rubbing alcohol to disinfect. Pat dry with a towel and then air dry completely before re-applying.
  • Do not make your own adjustments to the splint/orthotic. Consult your health care provider if you have concerns.

When should you contact with your health care provider?

  • If you notice red marks or skin irritation (i.e. rash or blister), bruising, white/soft areas of skin, swelling, pain, numbness or tingling, and if your brace or splint/orthosis is damaged.

Tips:

  • Braces and splints/orthoses can make you sweat and develop an odor! Give your skin a break to “air out” (follow instructions of your health care provider if allowed to remove).
  • Custom made splints/orthoses are typically made from thermoplastic material and will melt in the heat! Do not leave in your hot car, on or near a heating source, or sitting in direct sunlight. Do not attempt to dry splints/orthoses with a blow dryer!

By Erika Serviolo, MS, OTR/L, CSRS

Erika Serviolo is a Senior Occupational Therapist at the RWJ Rehabilitation at Lawrenceville office. Her interests include concussion, stroke recovery, and post-op recovery.