Casting, splinting, and physical and occupational therapy of hand deformity and dysfunction in cerebral palsy

Hand Clin. 2003 Nov;19(4):573-84. doi: 10.1016/s0749-0712(03)00044-1.


The treatment of hand deformity and associated dysfunction is a major focus of physical and occupational therapy for people with CP, as poor grasp and manipulation has potential to impact on many aspects of daily life. To assist therapists in analyzing patterns of movement of the wrist, finger, and thumb musculature at rest and during functional activities, five patterns of deformity commonly seen in the hypertonic hand are described. Interventions that impact on hypertonicity and associated contracture and that facilitate functional use of the hand in the presence of these deformities are discussed. The paucity of evidence from clinical trials on intervention strategies reflects in part the diversity of people with CP and the highly individual functional problems they encounter. While further research is needed on the many possible interventions and how they contribute to maximizing hand function, there is increasing evidence of the value of therapy that is directed to functional outcomes relevant to the individual.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Casts, Surgical
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Hand / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Splints