Wrist splints in children as effective as casts

Sep 07, 2010

In children with wrist fractures, a splint is as effective as a cast and provides greater comfort and easier hygiene, found a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Distal radius fractures — — are the most common break in and a frequent reason for emergency department visits. The usual treatment is a short arm cast for four to six weeks with follow up visits to an .

The study, a with 92 children aged 5 to 12 years, included 43 children with distal radius fractures who were treated with splints and 49 in casts. Participants had acceptably angulated fractures (transverse or greenstick) of 15 degrees or less. The splint group was free to remove the splint to wash in the first four weeks, but otherwise, like the cast group, kept the splint on for the duration of therapy. After six weeks, the participants were assessed by a physiotherapist who did not know which treatment they had received.

"Our results support the growing body of evidence that promote splinting as a suitable alternative to casting for specific distal radius fractures," writes Dr. Kathy Boutis, Staff Physician and Associate Scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), and coauthors.

As well, patient and parental satisfaction with the splint was higher. Of the children with casts, 68% would have preferred to have the splint and only 12% of the splint group participants would have preferred the cast.

"There were no differences in maintaining fracture stability, complications, and the splint was shown to be superior in terms of family preferences," write the authors. "Inherent benefits of a pre-fabricated splint include easier hygiene, eliminating discomfort and anxiety associated with cast saw use, and easy application and removal. Thus, evidence from this research combined with the advantages of the splint advocate for this device in the treatment of these fracture cases."

Explore further: Mystery illness plagues girls in Colombia

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Proton pump inhibitors increase risk of bone fractures

Aug 12, 2008

Patients who use proton pump inhibitors for 7 or more years to treat reflux, peptic ulcers and other conditions are at greater risk of osteoporosis-related fractures, according to this large observational study of 15,792 ...

Wrist fractures have an important public health impact

Jul 08, 2010

Wrist fractures have an important personal and public health impact and may play a role in the development of disability in older people, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal today.

Recommended for you

France to receive first Ebola patient

10 hours ago

France on Wednesday prepared to receive its first Ebola patient, as the World Bank warned the spiralling epidemic is threatening economic catastrophe in west Africa.

User comments : 0