Hesperian Health Guides
Homemade Aids for Stretching Joints
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Because daily movement of joints is so important with arthritis, casts should be avoided whenever possible. So try to figure out other ways to correct contractures. Use whatever materials you can find, such as plastic, bamboo, and inner tubes.
These are a few of the examples of aids invented in a Mexican village for a girl with arthritis.
CAUTION! Make sure that the aids pull in a way that does not cause dislocations.
thick plastic, bamboo, or some other springy material
plastic from an old bucket, bent or heatmolded to fit
A pad behind the knee helps prevent the leg from dislocating backward.
Note: The behind-the-knee aid usually works the best. It is steadier and so causes less muscle tightening. Because it holds the leg more firmly, it is less likely to cause dislocations. It is also more comfortable and less awkward.
bamboo, thick plastic, or metal
strip of inner tube
leather or cloth
plastic from an old bucket
The plastic should bend up into the palm of the hand.
heat-molded plastic (or metal from an old can)
bamboo or other springy material
For other aids and devices for straightening contractures, see Chapter 59.