Date of Award

6-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Occupational Therapy (M.S.)

Department

Occupational Therapy

Abstract

The following research project focused on the effect of a prefabricated neoprene first carpometacarpal splint on osteoarthritis pain with tip-pinch, strength measurements of tip-pinch and functional performance. The following questions were explored throughout this study:

1. There will be a significant decrease in mean pain levels when the subject’s hand is splinted as compared to mean pain levels when the hand is not splinted.

2. There will be a significant decrease in mean pain levels for the second session as compared to the first.

3. There will be a significant increase in mean tip pinch strength measurements when the subject’s hand is splinted as compared to mean tip pinch strength measurements when the subject’s hand is not splinted.

4. There will be a significant increase in mean tip pinch strength measurements for the second session as compared to the first.

5. There will be a significant improvement in function as measured by a decrease in mean QuickDASH scores on the second session as compared to the first.

Data for this study was collected using quantitative and qualitative data. Ten female participants over the age of 52 were enrolled in the study. Participants tip pinched a pinch gauge with and without the splint, recording pain levels with pinching and strength of pinch. The participants wore the splint for an average of two to eight weeks and then returned to perform the same tests and answer a qualitative question about their experience with the splint. Statistical analysis was performed using VAS pain scores and strength of tip-pinch scores. A functional measure, the QuickDASH was used to measure functional improvements. The researchers also asked participants a qualitative question about the splint’s comfort, convenience and effectiveness as well as asking for any suggestions. The results of the study supported the use of splinting for reducing pain when tip pinching at the first CMC joint (p<.001). Splinting also appeared to stabilize the first CMC joint, improving tip pinch measurements (p=.0015). Functional performance also improved between the first and second sessions (p=.031). In the qualitative section, participants seemed to appreciate the splint’s comfort and effectiveness and suggested that the splint would benefit from a more breathable, waterproof material, as it tended to become easily soiled and smelly. This study offers a supplement to previous evidence for the effectiveness of splinting in treating pain, instability, and functional deficits associated with osteoarthritis of the first CMC joint.

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