Using orthoses for immobilization is an important therapeutic intervention to help support and protect the injured upper extremity after surgery or trauma, and also to offer balance and help position the hand and wrist for enhanced function due to injury or pain. Therapists require core knowledge in upper extremity anatomy, biomechanical principles of orthotic fabrication and hands on practice to be able to fabricate well-fitting and appropriate orthoses for clients requiring immobilization of joints of the upper extremity.
Deborah A Schwartz is a hand therapist with over 34 years of experience as a practicing clinician. She has worked at Orfit Industries America for the past ten and a half years promoting product awareness and offering a variety of educational programming on orthotic fabrication. Debby is an active member of the American Society of Hand Therapy (ASHT) and has participated in the International Federation of Societies of Hand Therapy (IFSHT) meetings as well. She has presented on a variety of hand therapy topics both at national and international conferences, and has written a number of articles for hand therapy publications, including the Journal of Hand Therapy, the British Journal of Hand Therapy, HAND, www.exploringhandtherapy.com, and OT Practice. Debby completed her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. She presently teaches orthotic fabrication workshops for Orfit Industries America for both student Occupational Therapists and advanced clinicians. She is also an adjunct professor at the Occupational Therapy department of Touro College in New York City, where she teaches orthotic fabrication and an elective on Hand Therapy. Debby is currently writing several book chapters for hand therapy references, and collaborating on a text book of orthotic fabrication.
This introductory chapter will introduce the viewer to a variety of orthoses for immobilization. We will discuss how orthoses are used in the treatment of specific upper extremity conditions either for support, for protection and/or for improved function. This chapter will cover the indications and goals of orthoses for immobilization, contraindications and precautions for orthotic fabrication.
This chapter will offer the viewer a basic review of upper extremity anatomy of the forearm, wrist, and hand as it relates to orthotic fabrication. The chapter will cover the biomechanical principles of orthotic fabrication.
It is very important to understand how low temperature thermoplastic materials can be utilized to form custom, well-fitting orthoses for each individual client. This chapter will discuss the different properties and characteristics of low temperature thermoplastic materials so that participants can understand how selection of the appropriate material can influence the orthotic fabrication process.
Pattern making for orthoses is a simple but often overlooked element of orthotic fabrication. Understanding how to create a pattern is of critical importance in making a correct and well-fitting orthosis. Anatomical landmarks will be highlighted and the pattern making process outlined in detail.
In the final chapter, Debby Schwartz will go over tips and tricks for working with orthoses.