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March 16, 1963

Prevention of Deformities Through Orthotics

Author Affiliations

Ann Arbor, Mich.

Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the University of Michigan School of Medicine and Medical Center.

JAMA. 1963;183(11):946-948. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.63700110013013d

Our experience with ortheses indicated their usefulness in preventing anticipated deformities: a pillow placed under the shoulder of a hemiplegic and supporting it in mild abduction prevented complete internal rotation; a simple opponens splint with a "C"-Bar holding the thumb of a poliomyelitis patient in an abducted position rendered impossible any thumb web contracture in adduction; a simple opponens splint with a lumbrical bar averted the claw hand in patients suffering ulnar nerve lesions with loss of interosseal function. Ortheses also impeded the progression of already existing deformities: fifth finger adduction splints with pivot hinges prevented ulnar deviation of the fingers and permitted flexion, extension, and adduction at the metacarpophalangeal joints; modified Forrester-type braces maintained good head position in the patient after release of burn contractures. These are some examples of the use of ortheses in preventing deformities.