Article Review: Relative Motion for Extensor Tendon Repair zone V-VI? Is a night-time resting hand orthosis beneficial?

Hirth, M. J., Hunt, I.,  Briody, K.,  Milner, Z., Sleep, K., Chu, A., Donovan, E. &  O’Brien, L. (2021). Comparison of two relative motion extension orthotic programs following surgical repair of finger extensor tendons in zones V-VI: A randomized equivalence trial. Journal of Hand Therapy-to be published.

relative motion splint

The Skinny:  Following a zone V-VI tendon repair, relative motion splint is an effective option in providing adequate protection and preventing tendon rupture/attenuation.  There is variability in relative motion splinting approaches, including replacing the relative motion orthosis with a larger orthosis overnight or adding a wrist orthosis.  Due to this variability, the authors looked to determine if the splinting regime mattered.  The study compared two splinting regimes following an extensor tendon repair in zone V-VI.  Group one was a relative motion orthosis alone, and group two was a relative motion orthosis and a night-time orthosis.   

In the Weeds: The study compared two splinting regimes (relative extension splint) following an extensor tendon repair in zone V-VI.  Group one was a relative motion orthosis alone, and group two was a relative motion orthosis and a night-time orthosis following.   They termed the groups as follows RME and wrist orthoses worn at the same times are terms ‘RME plus,’ and without a wrist, orthosis was termed‘ RME only.’  A total of 32 subjected were enrolled in the study and 17 were randomized into the RME and night-time splinting group, and 15 were enrolled in the RME at all times groups.  

Outcomes measures included a range of motion, grip strength, return to work, pain, hand function, satisfaction, and orthotic adherence. 

Bringing it Home:  Both interventions produced similar outcomes and with no increase in rupture rate and similar results in the outcome measures.  

Rating: The authors recommenced tailoring therapy interventions based on patient needs rather than being protocol-based.  The study limitations include a small sample size.  Also, it was a multisite study, so difficult to control for variations in therapeutic approaches and surgical techniques.  A night-time resting hand orthosis may provide more comfort for patients.

Leave a Comment

More To Read

Orthotic Options for Hand Burns

January 17, 2021

By: Sophia Grimm Hand burns can be very challenging to treat, and successful rehabilitation begins early after acute injury. Following a burn injury, scar contractures are the primary reason for the deformity of the hand. Therefore, proper orthotic intervention is key to preventing joint and ligament contractures (Kelly, Berenz & Williams, 2019). Splinting goals following…

Read More

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: How does traditional hand therapy compare with neurodynamic therapy?

November 20, 2021

Hamzeh, H., Mohammad, M., Alghwiri, A., & Hawamdeh, Z. (2021). The long-term effect of neurodynamics vs. exercise therapy on pain and function in people with carpal tunnel syndrome: A randomized parallel-group clinical trial.  Journal of Hand Therapy, 34, 521-530.  The Skinny:  Carpal tunnel is the most common peripheral nerve compression problem.  There is now some…

Read More

Dorsal Scapular Nerve Entrapment and Thoracic Pain

January 22, 2023

Don’t Forget to Evaluate for Dorsal Scapular Nerve Entrapment By Delaney Wright If your patient presents with any upper thoracic pain, it is critical to take measures to evaluate for dorsal scapular nerve entrapment. In a study completed by Sultan et al. (2013), 55 patients with interscapular pain were evaluated clinically and via nerve conduction…

Read More

Sign-up to Get Updates Straight to Your Inbox!

Sign up with us and we will send you regular blog posts on everything hand therapy, notices every time we upload new videos and tutorials, along with handout, protocols, and other useful information.