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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Do thumb splints work?

Thumb splints treat a variety of conditions commonly caused by thumb abduction. The splint draws the thumb into opposition allowing the user’s hand to grasp objects or gain relief from joint pain.

 

What is a thumb splint used for?

Thumb splints may be used for treatment of the following: cerebral palsy, arthritis, thumb or wrist injury, arthrogryposis, sensory defensiveness, stroke, MS (multiple sclerosis), hemiplegia, other neurological diseases, and weakness of the limb or hand.

 

What are McKie Splints made from?

All McKie splints are made from 1.5-millimeter medical grade neoprene.  The outer surface is continuous loop nylon. This looped nylon allows one to attach the hook tape wherever it best suits your condition.  The inner surface, the surface worn against the skin, is smooth nylon.  We use only Velcro brand hook tape.  The type of plastic we use is a low-temperature plastic, meaning it is moldable.  If the type of splint you are buying has a plastic stay, the stay can, and should, be molded to fit the user. 

 

How are McKie Splints different from other splints?

Our splints were first designed for babies and children with cerebral palsy.   The problem with existing splints at that time was bulkiness, weight and prohibition of hand function.  We aimed for the opposite and did a pretty good job.  The material is thinner, so it does not add weight and bulk to smaller hands, in particular.  The designs cover the limb minimally so that the child can actually use the involved limb and explore objects, feel them and do real motor learning with that limb.  Taking advantage of the stretchiness of the material, we attached straps to either block  or assist motion.  Thus the stretchiness of the material helps weaker muscles and resists being over-powered by stronger muscles.  If there are stays involved in the construction, the stays are meant to block an unwanted motion.


Are these splints the same as upper limb orthotics?

Upper limb orthotic or upper limb orthosis is a formal medical term for our products.  “Splints” is a more common name.

 

What diagnoses might benefit from wearing our splints?

Cerebral palsy (CP), Arthrogryposis, Cortical Thumb, Thumb in Palm Deformity, Hemiplegia, Stroke, Brachial Plexus Injury, Erb’s Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis  (MS), Thumb weakness, Hand weakness, C-M-C Arthritis, Thumb Arthritis, "Mommy Thumb", Thumb pain, Trigger Thumb. 

Post-healing after traumatic injury to the thumb.  Note:  The McKie Thumb Splint does not fully immobilize the thumb so for traumatic injury where full immobilization is required, the McKie thumb splint does not provide rigid enough support during healing of a traumatic injury to the thumb.  However, after a ligament has healed, residual weakness is often present.  The McKie Thumb Splint is an excellent splint to use during this stage of recovery.  Examples of this diagnosis are Skier's thumb or Gamekeeper's thumb.


What ages can benefit from using these splints?

All ages.  We produce splints that fit prematurely born babies, babies, toddlers, children, teens, adults, even large adults.  We offer the option of custom sizing as well.


When should I wear my splint(s)? And how do they work for my diagnosis? 

Always consult your healthcare practitioner. 

In general:
ARTHRITIS

Wear your splint(s) when you feel pain or anticipate you might feel pain.  This means during the day or throughout the night.  Wear them when you are working with your hands or you think working with your hands might create pain in your thumbs.  In wet or dirty environment, wear gloves over your splints. 

THUMB SPASTICITY

McKie Splints are functional splints, designed to assist and develop hand skills.  So, they are best used when the individual is up and active.  Some folks have reported that they use the web stay thumb splint at night as a resting splint to maintain thumb range of motion.  

WRIST/HAND SPASTICITY

Spasticity that includes thumb in palm, finger flexion and wrist flexion, our wrist-hand orthosis, the "Allyson Splint" can help the wearer with grasp because it stabilizes the wrist in a more extended position, somewhat blocks ulnar deviation and assists with thumb extension.  Note, usually a second orthosis that maintains the fingers and wrist in extension is needed to keep the long finger flexors stretched out.  This is called a resting hand splint.  Resting hand splints are usually constructed of hard plastic or metal.  Such splints do not allow function.  At this point, we do not sell this type of product.

FLEXOR SYNERGY

Please see above.  In addition forearm pronation can be part of the flexor synergy.  If so, our supinator strap is a valuable addition.  It was designed to be added to either the thumb splint or to the Allyson splint.  It is not a free-standing product.  Using the same principal of aligning a stretchy material with the natural pull of the weak muscles, the strap assists with rotation of the forearm.

IMPROVING HAND FUNCTION

Wear when up and active.

TRIGGER THUMB

Wear when up and active.  Trigger thumb is a short term condition.  Our dorsal stay thumb splint blocks flexion of the thumb allowing the tendon sheath to calm down and reduce inflammation. 

SPORTS 

Wear while engaged in the sport.  For instance, when kayaking or canoeing when engaged in any sport where you hold a paddle, these splints will protect your web space and will assist with sustaining your grasp.

 

How long do I wear these splints? 

As with most orthotics or splints, it is recommended that you initially wear the splints for 20-minute intervals to make sure that there is no irritation in the underlying skin.  This is particularly important if you are ordering this for a child or adult who may not be able to verbally communicate discomfort.  Within a day or 2 you should be able to wear the splint for up to 2-hour intervals.  Perspiration can build up under the splint so wipe dry both the splint and the hand prior to re-donning it. For arthritis, it is recommended that patients wear the splint during activities that strain and cause pain in the joints associated with the thumb or wrist.

 

Should I wear my thumb splint at night?

Wearing a thumb splint at night may add some relief to your daily activities. With each unique case it is best to consult your medical professional for guidance.

 

Does insurance pay for it?

Sometimes.  You will need to check with your insurer.  Usually the more complex the splint, the more likely your insurance carrier will pay for it.

 

Does Medicaid pay for these splints?

Medicaid is a partially federally funded program that is implemented by individual states.  Thus, coverage varies widely from state to state.  Please check with your state’s Medicaid office.

 

Does McKie Splints bill insurances or Medicaid?

McKie Splints does not bill insurances or Medicaid.  Some physical and occupational therapists and all hospitals, chiropractors and orthotic/prosthetic practitioners can bill insurances.

 

What information might my insurance company need?

Insurance companies will need a CPT code (diagnosis code).  You can get this from your physician.  You will also need a suggested L-code. 

 

How do I know exactly what size splint I should buy for my baby? child? self? Patient or client?

Purchasing the right size eliminates frustration and assures you have the right-sized splint when you need it.

 

Is it possible to return this splint if I order the wrong size?

Please see our return policy.


Is it ever used to prevent injury or skin irritation?

For both sports and arthritis applications the thumb splint can prevent irritation to the joints because it girdles both thumb joints and minimizes side-to-side grinding motion of the joints.  The web of the thumb is vulnerable to abrasive injury.  The splint can protect the web particularly with sports where the individual is holding a paddle.

 

Does McKie Splints have a distributor in the European Union?  Australia?  Britain? Canada?  Spain?  the U.S.?

Yes, we have several international Distributors.  Please see our Distributor page.


Can I buy just a supinator strap to help with rotating my or my child's forearm?

The supinator strap was designed to added as an accessory to the thumb splint.  It attaches to the back of the splint, wraps around the forearm and self-attaches at the elbow.

 

Does the rubber in the neoprene contain latex?

No. All McKie Splints products are latex free.

 

 

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