Objective. The use of computers as a treatment modality in the occupational therapy hand clinic is, as yet, not common practice. A computer interface for wrist movements was developed, and a study to justify the application of such a device is presented.
Method. Forty-seven patients in a day hand clinic who had traumatic fracture of one hand with limitation of wrist mobility participated in the study. Participants were divided into two treatment groups: computer-aided treatment (high technology) and traditional brush machine treatment (low technology). A device was developed based on the brush machine in which the brush machine’s mechanism was converted into a medial–lateral joystick. Right-to-left movements were digitally transformed for the use of a computer game. Participants were treated for 5 weeks, and outcome measures included range of motion (ROM), grip strength, edema, and level of interest.
Results. Results showed significant improvement in ROM, grip strength, and edema across 5 weeks for all participants. Although no significant differences were found between the two groups in ROM, grip strength, and edema, the computer-aided group showed significantly more interest in treatment than did the brush machine group. Finally, the interaction between treatment group and the attitude toward computers was not significant.
Conclusions. These results indicate the potential for more interesting motor treatment and rehabilitation of the wrist through the use of computer games. The efficacy of using computers in occupational therapy clinics needs further investigation.