It’s an instinct. When you trip, you extend your hand to break the fall – and then you might have a fractured wrist. Distal radius fractures are some of the most common wrist fractures, with injuries to the small carpal bones not far behind. Luckily, the prognosis for wrist fractures is usually good.
The elderly are especially at risk for wrist fractures due to lower bone density.Younger, active people are another often seen group of patients. The symptoms of a wrist fracture include pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the hand and wrist. An x-ray and often a computerized tomography (CT) scan is necessary to pinpoint the exact fracture type.
More severe cases may require surgery, but most wrist fractures heal well with conservative treatment methods like splints and casts. The UCAST can be used to treat wrist fractures either as a conservative treatment option or after surgery. Here’s how to apply the splint:
1. Prepare your UCAST
Start by removing the splint from its packaging and placing it in either a flatbed heater, or express heater. You can also warm the splint in hot water. In that case, place the whole unopened pouch under water – don't open the package – this is important!
Heating times will vary slightly depending on which heating method you choose – check the user instruction for specifics. In our express heater the splint will warm up in approximately 100 seconds.
After the splint has softened and warmed up, carefully lift it from the heater and place it onto the Unitex wrap. Apply light pressure to make the splint grip on the fabric.
2. Apply the UCAST wrist splint to your patient
Start applying UCAST from the thumb. Loop the patient’s thumb through the hole in the Unitex bandage and place the rest of the splint gently on their arm. Align the splint dorsally, then gently start fixating from the middle strap.
Avoid radial rotation of the splint, and secure the splint loosely without tightening the strap yet. Wrap the distal strap around the patient's arm and then move on to fixate the proximal strap.
Wait for the splint to become rigid, then tighten the straps to 50% of maximal stretch. Check the shape of the splint and hold it to maintain the desired wrist position.
3. Make follow-up visits about the patient, not the cast
The median time to apply UCAST is around 5 minutes. On follow-up visits taking the splint off and putting it back on will take just minutes, thanks to the bandaging and the splint that keeps its shape.
If its better for your patient, you can leave UCAST on for x-rays. The Woodcast material has excellent radiolucency, so you can easily keep an eye on callus formation and overall healing of the fracture.
Physical therapy is crucial for wrist fracture patients to help them regain function and strength. UCAST is easy to remove and re-apply for therapy visits. The splint will hold its shape, but adjustments can be made, if necessary, simply by using a heat gun. Once your patient has healed, you can recycle the bandage and the splint – comfortable for your patient and good for the environment!
Note: If you suspect you have a fracture or other injury, always consult your doctor. UCAST splints should only be applied by medical professionals.