June 26, 2014

The World's Tiniest Hand Splints

Problem #1.  When I drive for 30 or more minutes my paralyzed hand gets tight from the constant vibration.    Solution #1: To keep my hand open I use foam tubing designed to slip over the handle of eating utensils.  It has a 5/8 inch opening that runs down the center of the tube.  The fit is not tight enough to keep my fingers absolutely straight, but the foam traps body heat which relaxes my muscles.  My hand starts out stiff as the photo shows and ends flat on my thigh by the time I arrive at my destination.  The foam also provides traction so my hand does not slip off my thigh. 

Problem #2.  Pushing a heavy shopping cart makes my thumb bend severely.    Solution #2.    I slip a piece of foam over my thumb.  The foam keeps my thumbnail from digging into the side of my index finger.

Problem #3.  I have to grip a peanut butter jar tightly which makes my index finger and thumb bend sharply (see black line). 
A severely bent thumb means I am strengthening a bully who is already too strong!  I eat a peanut butter sandwich every day because Smart Balance peanut butter has omega-3 oil which lowers my high triglycerides (a bad fat in the blood).

Solution #3: I keep my thumb and index finger straight by donning rubber finger cots used to count money.  The finger cots give me traction that keeps my fingers straight as my sound hand uses a knife to dig peanut butter out of the jar.  I keep the finger cots in a shot glass for measuring liquor.  The shot glass sits on the windowsill in my kitchen.


  1. Thanks, I'm going to have to use #1 since when I'm driving I can't keep my affected hand flat under my legs.

  2. Thanks! Great ideas! I'm going to start using them right away.

  3. Rebecca, I'm an OT who works mainly with geriatrics and in a SNF. I see a lot of strokes and have started recommending your book as a reference. I love your ideas! I think I knew you had this site, but forgot about it and refound it. Thanks for all the info you give to others. I think like an OT, but don't have the first hand experience of stroke so I love that you think like an OT and a stroke survivor.

  4. These are amazing ideas! Can you let me know where do you buy the foam tubing.

  5. I buy one at a time at a local medical supply store. You can also buy them in bulk from Patterson Medical.

  6. You can also use finger sleeves that are made out elastic. They will allow finger flexion and allow fingertips to be exposed but are often firm enough to hold the fingers straight (it depends on how high the tone is). You can buy a dozen of Flent Finger Sleeves for less than $6. They also make finger sleeves out of neoprene. I haven't tried them, but they would probably work too.