Hand splits

Effectiveness of hand splints in children with cerebral palsy: a systematic review with meta-analysis
Iona Novak
Hand splints are removable devices designed to support weak joints or muscles. People with cerebral palsy and brain injury might use a hand splint for two reasons:
  • to prevent or correct physical abnormality
  • to improve their hand use. 
This paper summarises all the high-quality research on whether hand splints are effective.
Six hand splinting clinical trials about cerebral palsy but none for brain injury have been published. Research indicates hand splints worn by children with cerebral palsy may lead to small improvements in hand use (over and above therapy alone) but the benefits diminish 2 to 3 months after stopping wearing the splint.
Since some children dislike wearing hand splints (because they can be uncomfortable and draw attention to their disability), parents and therapists must weigh up whether the small short-term benefits are worthwhile. Future research should tease out benefits versus harms. 
Mac Keith Press publishes two series of books: the Clinics in Developmental Medicine and the International Reviews of Child Neurology Series for the International Child Neurology Association.