Differences in orthotic design for thumb osteoarthritis and its impact on functional outcomes
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BACKGROUND: Orthoses are a well-known intervention for the treatment of thumb osteoarthritis; however, there is a multitude of orthotic designs and not enough evidence to support the efficacy of specific models. OBJECTIVE: To examine the influence of different orthoses on pain, hand strength, and hand function of patients with thumb osteoarthritis. STUDY DESIGN: Literature review. METHODS: A scoping literature review of 14 publications reporting orthotic interventions for patients with thumb osteoarthritis was conducted. Functional outcomes and measures were extracted and analyzed. RESULTS: In total, 12 studies reported improvements in pain and hand strength after the use of thumb orthoses. Comparisons between different orthotic designs were inconclusive. CONCLUSION: The use of orthoses can decrease pain and improve hand function of patients with thumb osteoarthritis; however, the effectiveness of different orthoses still needs support through adequate evidence. Clinical relevance Multiple orthoses for thumb osteoarthritis are available. Although current studies support their use to improve pain and hand function, there is no evidence to support the efficacy of specific orthotic designs. Improved functional outcomes can be achieved through the use of short orthoses, providing thumb stabilization without immobilizing adjacent joints.
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