OBJECTIVE. This study compares the effect of wrist immobilization with non-immobilization on shoulder abduction, shoulder flexion, and shoulder rotation during feeding.

METHOD. Twenty right-hand-dominant participants with no upper-extremity dysfunction performed a controlled feeding activity under 2 separate wrist conditions: (1) while wearing a static wrist orthosis and (2) with the wrist not immobilized (free wrist). A Motion Monitor system using small magnetic sensors was used to measure range of motion. Data analysis included paired t tests to compare the 2 conditions.

RESULTS. Statistically significant results were found for shoulder flexion and shoulder abduction, indicating increased movement at the shoulder while feeding when the wrist was immobilized. No significant difference was found in shoulder internal rotation.

CONCLUSIONS. Wearing a wrist orthosis while feeding may alter normal movement patterns at the shoulder. Future research should examine the effects of wrist splinting on shoulder movement.

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