Objectives. Much has been written about the use of static orthoses to maintain proper position and prevent deformity, but there are few empirical data to determine whether static orthoses improve function, maintain range of motion, or prevent deformity in the hand.

Method. This study measured gains in hand function during a 3-month rehabilitation period in 13 persons with sixth cervical (C-6) level complete quadriplegia, 7 of whom wore a static orthosis at night (experimental group) and 6 who did not wear the orthosis (control group). Hand function, range of motion and strength were measured in all subjects 4 weeks and 8 weeks after the study commenced, and again after 12 weeks in only 69% of the subjects.

Results. No significant differences were found in hand function between control and experimental groups; hand function had improved significantly in all 13 subjects.

Conclusion. As the effects of deformity have been clinically observed, future studies should examine the effects of static orthoses with increased daily wear or wear over a longer period of time.

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