Dynamic splinting stretches joints that are lacking range of motion. If you have an injury, surgery, or disease, and have been immobilized, you know what joint stiffness feels like and how it restricts you. Range of motion limitations, or contractures, can result from a variety of orthopedic conditions. Dynamic splinting has proven effective in restoring normal mobility to maximize function and strength, and improve patient outcomes. Our office works with Dynasplint® to help our patients increase motion and function.
A contracture occurs when connective tissue such as ligaments, tendons, and joint capsules become scarred, or when muscle tissue becomes shortened. This can occur at any joint. Rather than providing a quick stretch which may not be maintained and can also be very painful, a low-load, prolonged stretch (LLPS) evokes a plastic, more permanent and less painful, change in tissue length. Studies show that range of motion gains are maximized when tissues are held at a constant state of mild end-range tension for a minimum of one hour.
The goal of dynamic splinting is to stress scarred or shortened connective tissue with a LLPS to promote non-traumatic, more permanent tissue remodeling. The lengthened tissue can provide increased range of motion.
Dynamic splinting may be applied to patients with limited range of motion due to orthopedic or neurological conditions such as:
- Trauma or surgery
- Post-surgery joint stiffness
- Ligament or tendon repairs
- Joint replacement
- Post fractures
- Long-term immobilization
Use of Dynamic Splints
Dynamic splinting contributes to a reduction in rehabilitation time and costs because it is an adjunctive, at-home therapy that enhances the physical therapy received in the clinic. The patient generally wears the device while sleeping or at rest. A dynamic splint uses a tension spring that is integrated into a brace, usually via a mechanical hinge. The spring provides mild, long duration stress on the restricted joint to facilitate tissue remodeling. The tension spring can be adjusted for more or less tension to achieve range of motion goals with less pain.