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Wrist Splints Work For Thumb Arthritis

Posted by medconsumers on June 1, 2009

People with osteoarthritis at the base of the thumb are often told to wear a thumb splint to ease symptoms. The first study to test this advice found it to be effective for many people. It was published recently in Annals of Internal Medicine by a French team of researchers led by Francois Rannou, MD.

The 112 participants were mostly women, who were randomly assigned to wear custom-made splints at night or to continue with their usual care, which could include anti-inflammatory drugs and steroid injections but no splints. Dr. Rannou and colleagues found that nighttime splinting had no effect at one month, when all the participants were asked about their pain levels and hand function.

At 12 months, however, larger improvements in pain scores and hand function were reported for a greater proportion of the people wearing nighttime splints, compared to those who continued their usual care. At 12 months, 86% of the people assigned to wear a splint reported wearing it more than 5 nights a week.

Maryann Napoli, Center for Medical Consumers(c) June2009

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