Relative motion orthoses: A five-question decision making tool for thinking beyond thermoplastics

Published:December 03, 2022DOI:


      These article introduces five questions to consider before using relative motion with patients:
      • What is the primary purpose of the orthosis?
      • How much Metacarpal Phalangeal Joint differential angle is needed?
      • How many fingers should be included in the orthosis?
      • Is a rigid or flexible orthosis material required?
      • What are the person-centered preferences/priorities to consider?


      We introduce a five-question decision-making tool for using relative motion in practice. The tool considers the primary aim of the relative motion orthosis, the amount of relative motion required and the number of fingers that should be included. The tool also helps clincians consider the person-specific characteristics that will impact the use of the orthoses, as well as, a variety of materials that could be used to fabricate the relative motion orthosis. Clinical examples demonstrate the use of the decision tool and illustrate the varied use of relative motion orthoses.


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