BRACES, SUPPORTS & SPLINTS
In an effort to provide patients with convenience and accessibility, patients can be fitted with a brace, splint or a cast in either of the two Orthopaedic Institute of Dayton offices.
Using braces, splints or casts may improve joint mobility and stability, prevent contracture and improve function of the injured area. Braces can compensate for muscle imbalance. Splints and casts support and protect injured bones and soft tissue, reducing pain, swelling and muscle spasm. In some cases, splints and casts are applied following surgery.
Fiberglass or plaster materials form the hard supportive layer in splints and casts. Fiberglass is lighter in weight, longer wearing, and "breathes" better than plaster. Plaster is less expensive than fiberglass and, shapes better than fiberglass for some uses. Both materials come in strips or rolls, which are dipped in water and applied over a layer of cotton or synthetic padding covering the injured area. X-Rays to check the healing process of an arm or leg within a splint or cast penetrate or "see through" fiberglass better than plaster.
Both fiberglass and plaster splints and casts use padding, usually cotton, as a protective layer next to the skin. The splint or cast must fit the shape of the injured arm or leg correctly to provide the best possible support. Generally, the splint or cast also covers the joint above and below the fractured bone. Frequently, a splint is applied to a fresh injury first and, as swelling subsides, a full cast may be used to replace the splint. Sometimes, it may be necessary to replace a cast as swelling decreases and the cast "gets too big." Often as a fracture heals, a splint may be applied again to allow easy removal for therapy.