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Upper extremity orthotics describe orthoses, braces and supports designed for the shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist and hand and can be used for a range of needs from stability to immobilization and include three main areas of orthoses: Upper extremity soft supports, upper extremity positional supports and upper extremity fracture orthoses.
These orthoses are designed to position the upper extremity, including wrist, arm and shoulder, so as to prevent unwanted contractures, maintain proper alignment, and to provide controlled range of motion physical and occupational therapy.
Often referred to as soft goods, these orthoses include those braces that are fabricated/manufactured from neoprene, canvas, and fabric and can be reinforced with metal/plastic stays for additional support.
The type of the fracture and the location determines what type of orthosis is appropriate. If the fracture site is near a joint it is often common to stabilize above and below the affected area to reduce unwanted motion at the fracture site.