4 November 2010
1:40-4:40pm 3 hours
Accumulated Hours: 37
Occupational hand therapists have to be capable of designing, creating, and making corrections to splints for hands, elbows, wrists, and essentially any part of the arm. Splints stabilize injured areas and disable movement, decreasing chance of hurting the injury more. They also can sere as exercise tools and can be altered to help accommodate exercising for part of a home program. When I came today Nicole was altering a splint for a woman with a thumb injury. She rounded the edges for comfort while taking care not to burn the patient with the heating tools involved in splint making. The thumb injury patient was also given as exercise involving picking up buttons one by one and placing them each in a container. This exercise will help prepare the patient to be capable of doing simple daily activities such as reaching in and out of pants pockets to retrieve items.
The patient with thumb pain from playing the flute complained of increased constant pain. Nicole suggested seeing a doctor, wearing the splint as much as possible, heating and icing regularly, and splitting practice time up. The tendonitis is not going down because the girl overuses her thumb to a stressful point by practicing so much. Nicole suggests cutting back on practice time however the patient refuses to until after try-out in a week. Without resting the thumb, the tendonitis will not settle down/heal and will continue to cause her pain. Hopefully, when the patient visits the doctor she will realize the only way to heal her thumb is to cut down on overusing the hand. For now the patient has been told to wear the splint often and ice the region frequently to reduce swelling. Nicole advises she heat the hand before playing in order to loosen up the region before exercising it. Then, instead of playing for a sixty minute time period, the patient should split practice time into 15-20minute increments with a 30-40minute break between each session. After she is done practicing for the day the patient should ice the hand and rest the thumb in her splint.