Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

Summer 6-3-1963

Abstract

This study project was designed to determine the effects of functional hand splinting on the hemiparetic affected upper extremity of adult subjects. Accordingly, a battery of tests, performed with and without bracing, was used to evaluate the function of the affected extremity. The unaffected extremity served as a control during the study. Manual muscle testing, ADL evaluation, neuromuscular functional testing of the upper extremities, dynamometry, skin resistances, and electromyographic examination were used in the testing of the subjects. Each examination, with the exception of the manual muscle test, was performed with and without bracing of the affected extremity. Electromyographic analysis of the functional movement of self-feeding was performed on seven upper extremity muscle groups: Upper trapezius, middle deltoid, pectoralis major, triceps, biceps, wrist extensor group, and wrist flexor group. Results of the testing indicated improvement in hand function with bracing. No changes in the function of the shoulder and/or elbow were noted. The decrease in dynamometric strength found in all subjects when braced points out the lack of parallel improvement in palmar grasp as other hand functions improved. Generally, the skin resistance of the affected extremity exceeded that of the unaffected extremity. Patterns of the electrical activity of the muscles were determined from graphs of the mean electromyographic activity at similar time intervals for each of the three test situations. The activity of the unaffected extremity was not significantly different from that of the affected extremity. Bracing produced an increase in the electrical activity of biceps brachii.

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