Immediate and short-term effects of three commercial wrist extensor orthoses on grip strength and function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Care Res. 1996 Feb;9(1):42-50. doi: 10.1002/art.1790090109.


Objective: To investigate the immediate and short-term effects of 3 commercial wrist orthoses on grip strength and function.

Methods: Thirty-six patients with definite rheumatoid arthritis participated in the randomized, controlled, cross-over design study of 3 commercial wrist extensor orthoses. Dominant-hand dynamometric grip strength was assessed at both initial and followup sessions while splinted and nonsplinted. Functional impact was assessed using a written questionnaire.

Results: All 3 commercial orthoses reduced grip strength when first donned. After a 1-week adjustment period, one orthosis, the Smith and Nephew Roylan D-Ring (Roylan), afforded splinted grip strength equal to that of the nonsplinted grip strength. The other 2 orthoses continued to reduce grip strength, and afforded splinted grip strength significantly below that of the Roylan. The Roylan was deemed comfortable by more subjects than the other orthoses.

Conclusions: The belief that commercial orthotic use increases grip strength, either immediately or after 1 week, is not supported by this study's data. Different styles of commercial wrist orthoses appear to have differing influence on splinted grip strength.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / rehabilitation*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Hand Strength*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthotic Devices / standards*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wrist / physiopathology*