O&P Library > Orthotics and Prosthetics > 1966, Vol 20, Num 4 > pp. 325 - 326

Orthotics and ProstheticsThis journal was digitally reproduced with permission from the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA).

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Dynamic Shoulder Abduction Splint

Joseph J. Panzarella, JR., M.D.*
Samar Banerjee, M.D. *
Hans R. Lehneis, C.P.O.*

Reprinted by permission of the editor and authors from Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, May 1966, pp. 310-311.

The purpose of this splint is to provide a dynamic modification of a static abduction splint. Many times with injuries involving the shoulder, immobilization causes restriction of shoulder motion. A dynamic splint will provide support for the weakened or paralyzed abductors, while allowing movement in internal and external rotation, horizontal abduction and adduction. This type of orthosis would be indicated in conditions such as paralysis of the deltoid muscles, brachial plexus injuries and certain postoperative conditions.

The device was developed in the treatment of a patient who had a deltoid palsy and who was developing contractures while the deltoid muscle was recovering. The splint allowed the patient to support the arm in 90 abducted position while actively utilizing internal and external rotation (Fig. 1 ), and horizontal abduction and adduction of the shoulder (Fig. 2 ).

The adaptations made to the static abduction splint were (Fig. 3 ) :

  1. Two attachment plates for installation on the existing splint.
  2. A 3/8" rotation rod.
  3. A 1/2" O.D. tubing providing humeral horizontal abduction and adduction in connection with the rotation rod B.
  4. An adjustable vertical support collar.
  5. A 1/2" O.D. tubing for external humeral rotation from the horizontal position in connection with the rotation rod B.
  6. An internal humeral rotation stop adjusted to prevent internal humeral rotation below the horizontal.
  7. A free motion elbow joint.


An orthotic device has been described which permits patients with involvement of the abductor mechanism of the shoulder to maintain range of motion while providing adequate support and protection for the shoulder abductors. The device consists of a simple dynamic adaptation to the conventional airplane (abduction) splint providing horizontal abduction, adduction, external and internal rotation range.

Acknowledgements: We wish to acknowledge the contributions made by Messrs. Robert G. Wilson, M.S., and Robert W. Hinchberger, C.O.. who were responsible for the mechanical drawings and orthotic fitting, respectively. We also want to thank Dr. Allen S. Russek for his valuable comments.

O&P Library > Orthotics and Prosthetics > 1966, Vol 20, Num 4 > pp. 325 - 326

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