Hand and upper limb function can be greatly affected following neurological injuries such as stroke, brain injury or spinal injuries.  Traditionally, there was little dynamic splinting available for regaining a grasp and release pattern that is required to do even the simple things such as picking up your wallet, holding onto a knife and fork, or even a cup to drink from.  Last year, Amy, our director, undertook training in the prescription and delivery of therapy via Saebo (say-bo) splinting.  So what is Saebo all about?

There are a few Saebo splinting devices.  The one we are most familiar here with is the Saebo-flex.  This is a dynamic custom made splint that we order through the United States based on measurements of your hand and forearm.  It has a splint-loaded finger system that holds the fingers straight whilst in the splint.  The Saebo-flex is used as an exercise splint, which requires you to grasp and release balls repetitively over a period of time, often 45 minutes, twice a day. 

Often, we find patients who have had neurological injuries, can grip something but have difficulty letting go or releasing their fingers to allow the item to be placed on a table (for example, putting a glass back on the table after grasping).  This makes using the hand for anything very difficult. The Saebo-flex helps retrain this release pattern so it is controlled and achievable.  We have a few patients now on a Saebo program, who are progressing through a series of activities designed to get more challenging as the basics are achieved. 

saebo

60,000 Australians suffer new and recurrent strokes each year.  Statistics from www.strokefoundation.com.au indicate that someone has a stroke every 10 minutes.  It is imperative, therefore, that we continue to find ways to help stroke survivors establish good quality of life by assisting the return of function of their upper limb.  The Saebo-flex is one way that we can assist with this.

Who is suitable for a Saebo-flex?

  • Anyone who is wanting to regain grasp and release function in their hand following a neurological injury including those with high tone 
  • Some active gripping – that is you can use your finger muscles to make at least a quarter of a fist
  • Inability to open and close the fingers completely 10 times in a row

The great thing is, it does not matter when you might have had your stroke or neurological injury – it could have been 1 year ago, or 20 years ago, there is still opportunity to regain greater use of the affected hand and arm through a program that incorporates a Saebo-flex splint.  If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to contact us on 02 6925 0157.