Upper Limb Casting in Stroke Rehabilitation: Rationale, Options, and Techniques

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Abstract

Upper limb casts have been recommended for stroke survivors with moderate to severe spasticity. The objective of this article is to (a) review the rationale of 2 theoretical models that address spasticity and its consequences, (b) describe 4 casting options reported in the literature, (c) present the evidence for each cast type, and (d) suggest techniques that ensure safe and efficient fabrication of casts. This review underscores the critical need for high-evidence research on the efficacy of casting and the potential long-term benefits to this population. Current evidence lacks controlled research designs, robust sample sizes, and sensitive outcome measures. However, selective groups of stroke survivors have benefited from each type of casting. Future studies are required to assess the impact of casting on upper limb function, especially for those persons with wrist and hand spasticity, and to evaluate the effi cacy of those casts not widely adopted in current practice such as inhibitory and drop-out casts.

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