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Research project: Hand function in early rheumatoid arthritis - Dormant - Dormant

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 The research examined the history of joint deterioration and functional hand outcome in people with RA affecting their hands. The study conducted a full sized randomized controlled trial to establish the effectiveness of static splinting and occupational therapy intervention in this population. The results indicated that static splinting in early RA was not a superior treatment to occupational therapy intervention alone.

This research is about what people can do with their hands in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The wrist and hand are affected early in RA. Wrist and hand joint swelling, pain and deformity are all likely to contribute to the functional performance of the hand. Static splinting alongside joint protection education and active exercise is one of the most common conservative intervention strategies used by therapists. Splinting attempts to reduce local inflammation and pain, correctly position joints, minimise the occurrence or progression of deformity and maintain hand function.

The research reviews the impact that RA can have on the hands and upper limb, examines what factors may influence function and compares the outcome measures that are used to measure this. A clinical effectiveness randomised controlled trial, examining the effectiveness of static hand splinting in early RA is described.

A total of one hundred and sixteen patients with early RA were recruited onto the main trial and randomly allocated to either a splint or non-splint group. Assessments were carried out at baseline, six and 12- months. There was insufficient evidence from the results of this 12 month randomised controlled trial to suggest that using static splinting alongside standardised occupational therapy intervention was any more effective than standardised occupational therapy intervention alone in the maintenance of hand functional ability

Project team

Professor Jane Burridge
Professor Cyrus Cooper
Professor Alison Hammond Salford University

Project funder

Faculty of Medicine, Health and Biological Sciences University of Southampton

Associated research themes

Hand therapy
Hand joint surgery
Health Technologies
Rheumatology
Musculoskeletal disorders

Related research groups

Active Living and Rehabilitation

Key Publications

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