OBJECTIVE. This study compared the total wrist range of motion permitted by four different styles of wrist extension orthoses and the free hand.

METHOD. Using a repeated-measures, counterbalanced design, 40 healthy female volunteers 20 to 39 years of age shot a basketball while free handed and while wearing each of four wrist extension orthoses: AlignRite; Rolyan D-Ring Long; Rolyan D-Ring Short; and a custom-made, thumb hole design orthosis. The motion at the wrist was measured by an electrogoniometer.

RESULTS. No significant differences were found in total wrist motion permitted among the four orthotic conditions. Analyses revealed that the custom-made orthosis allowed significantly less palmar flexion and significantly more dorsiflexion than the three commercially available orthoses. All orthoses significantly restricted wrist movement compared with the free hand.

CONCLUSION. The commercially available wrist extension orthoses offered little difference in the amount of restriction they provided. The custom orthosis restricted movement to a different portion of the available range than did the commercial orthoses. Future research should examine how different strapping techniques on custom-made orthoses affect total range of motion permitted at the wrist. Knowledge of patterns of restriction among various styles of orthoses will help therapists to select the most appropriate orthosis for a client‘s individual needs.

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