A follow-up evaluation of 50 patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were fitted with full bilateral wrist and hand resting splints revealed that 62 percent wore them most or all of the prescribed time. Patients deviated from the prescribed splint program when their symptoms remitted or diminished, and adhered more closely to the program when they experienced persistent inflammation. Patients splinted during a hospital stay were somewhat more compliant than those splinted as outpatients. Patients judged to be noncompliant discontinued splint usage because of a decrease in joint pain or stiffness, or both. Their decision did not appear detrimental, since, during the course of the study, there was no significant difference between compliant and noncompliant patients in range of motion of hand or wrist joints at followup evaluation and, when range of motion at the time of initial evaluation was compared with that at the follow-up examination, a higher proportion of noncompliant (37%) than compliant patients (16%) showed improvement.

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