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Splints

While the burned parts of the body are healing, you sometimes need to give the injured areas extra support and keep them from moving around. To do this, we use orthotics or splints. They are used to maintain or regain a normal position for the part of the body that has been burned. Splints are also used to stretch and soften tight skin and scars.

Splints or orthotics are used to hold parts of the body in the best position in order to:

  • Support and protect the burned areas while healing
  • Prevent the skin from shrinking as it heals
  • Restore range of motion of a joint by stretching the skin
Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Sandals

Sandals

Custom-made sandals for the feet are generally used for frostbite burns.

Purpose: make walking more comfortable

Wearing: usually worn only while walking

Discomfort: most people say it is more comfortable to walk with sandals on than without because they are padded with foam or fur

Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Finger extension trough splints

Finger extension trough splints

Purpose: to support a finger joint so that it heals without contracting and to prevent deformity

Wearing: varies; a common schedule would be to wear it at night while resting and take it off during the day for exercise and activity

Discomfort: usually none

Resting hand splint

Purpose: to support the hand and wrist joints so that they heal without contracting and so that a deformity does not develop

Wearing: varies; a common schedule would be to wear it at night while resting and take it off during the day for exercise and activity

Discomfort: usually none

Interdigital (between the fingers) inserts

Inserts for between fingers and thumb web space

Purpose: to prevent the skin from shrinking as it heals and to restore range of motion by stretching the skin

Wearing: usually full-time under compression gloves

Discomfort: doesn't usually hurt unless the skin that the spacer is pushing against breaks open

Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Cast for a hand

Cast for a hand

Cast material (plaster or fiberglass)

Purpose: worn as a splint to protect the graft, prevent the skin from shrinking as it heals and restore range of motion by stretching the skin

Wearing: a casting program varies; it might be worn for weeks at a time or it could be a removable cast that is put on only at night

Discomfort: not usually painful; it might feel tight at first

Cast for the elbow

Cast material (plaster or fiberglass)

Purpose: worn as a splint to prevent the skin from shrinking as it heals and restore range of motion by stretching the skin

Wearing: a casting program varies; it might be worn for weeks at a time or it might be a removable cast that is put on only at night

Discomfort: not usually painful; it might feel tight at first

Continuous passive motion (CPM) machine for the hand

Splint for the hand

Purpose: used to restore range of motion by constantly moving the joint with a machine; the CPM also stretches the skin as it moves the joints through range of motion

Wearing: part-time

Discomfort: not usually painful

Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Continuous passive motion machine (CPM) for the hand

Continuous passive motion (CPM) machine for the elbow

Splint for an elbow

Purpose: used to restore range of motion by constantly moving the joint with a machine; the CPM also stretches the skin as it moves the joints through range of motion

Wearing: part-time

Discomfort: not usually painful

Clavicle strap

A strap for the shoulders

Purpose: to prevent the skin from shrinking as it heals and restore motion by stretching the skin

Wearing: varies; may be part-time or full-time, often used to help hold an axillary splint in place

Discomfort: not usually; may feel tight on the armpits at first

Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Clavicle strap

Airplane or axillary splint

Splint for the shoulders or axilla

Purpose: used to prevent the skin from shrinking as it heals and to restore range of motion by stretching the skin under the arms

Wearing: varies; may be part-time or full-time

Discomfort: not usually; may feel tight on the armpits at first

Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Iowa City mouth splint

Iowa City mouth splint

Purpose: to keep mouth from shrinking

Wearing: part-time; it is usually worn with/under a face mask

Discomfort: at first it might be a little uncomfortable; doing face exercises and cheek stretching exercises help to make wearing a mouth splint easier

MacFarlane mouth splint

A mouth splint custom-made by a dentist

Purpose: to keep mouth from shrinking

Wearing: part-time; it is usually worn under a face mask

Discomfort: at first it might be a little uncomfortable; doing face exercises and cheek stretching exercises help to make wearing a mouth splint easier

Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Therabite

Therabite

Mouth exercise splint

Purpose: to stretch mouth

Wearing: usually done as part of face exercise program; exercises should be done 2–3 times each day for 12–18 months

Discomfort: maybe slight until the exercise becomes routine