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Long-Term Use of a Static Hand-Wrist Orthosis in Chronic Stroke Patients: A Pilot Study

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Stroke Research and Treatment
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Abstract

Background. Long-term splinting, using static orthoses to prevent contractures, is widely accepted in stroke patients with paresis of the upper limb. A number of stroke patients complain about increased pain and spasticity, which leads to the nonuse of the orthosis and a risk of developing a clenched fist. Objectives. Evaluating long-term use of static hand-wrist orthoses and experienced comfort in chronic stroke patients. Methods. Eleven stroke patients who were advised to use a static orthosis for at least one year ago were included. Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted to explore the long-term use and experienced comfort with the orthosis. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results. After at least one year, seven patients still wore the orthosis for the prescribed hours per day. Two patients were unable to wear the orthosis 8 hours per day, due to poor comfort. Two patients stopped using the orthosis because of an increase in spasticity or pain. Conclusions. These pilot data suggest that a number of stroke patients cannot tolerate a static orthosis over a long-term period because of discomfort. Without appropriate treatment opportunities, these patients will remain at risk of developing a clenched fist and will experience problems with daily activities and hygiene maintenance.

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