Are splints useful for finger pain?

I was diagnosed almost 1 year ago with sero positive RA. Was very 'lucky' (possibly not right word) that when I was diagnosed my joint damage was very minimal, however even with ALL the drugs have noticed my hands starting to get painful, particularly at night. I asked GP about splints or something - not really sure what - to help keep fingers straight when I sleep as I get some comfort with them being forced to be straight. GP said wouldn't help, that's what drugs are for. Just wondering if anyone has found anything helps I.e. splints?

19 Replies

  • You can get some finger splints from chemists. they are not expensive and they do help. If it helps you to get some rest then all to the good. some things work for one person and won't work for someone else.


  • Thank you Sylvi, I shall give them a try! Well exactly, I'm learning very quickly that there's a lot of trial and error in R.A.x

  • For years I slept in wrist splints so that when my wrists fused they were straight. But when I first started with RA - 37 years ago- my consultant made me a half plaster cast of my arm/wrist/fingers which was fastened round with velcro straps. I wore this in bed - and it did help! Hope this is useful? Hopalong

  • Thank you, am going to try and find out more about OT as hospital have not mentioned x

  • I love the use of the word "lucky" in your question, CptJen; I was once told by an acquaintance that I was lucky to be able to park in the street with my blue badge! I couldn't think quickly enough to reply- but I wish I has said "I'll swap you" !! Hopalong

  • ha ha Yeah I've had this from friends AND strangers too, I simply say "Yeah but you can walk to shops I can't!" x

  • Yes you always think of an answer 5 minutes too late! Being 28 I get a lot of raised eyebrows when I get out my car as nothing really too visible, get less looks as I return a hobbling state half an hour later. I see it as my silver lining... But I'd swap it in a minute.

  • Hi, my middle fingers middle joint keeps coming out of the socket when I bend my fingers to grip things (very painful pushing it back in) and that means a splint for a few of days, it rests my finger until the joint settles down. If I'm honest I find it more of a nuisance and makes using my hands even more difficult.

    Also, my sister has very bad RA in her hands, which, have now became claws, over the years she's seen lots of physio's, when she's asked about finger splints they advised against them as they stop you using your fingers and exercising them. They did however make her a night time wrist splint with finger support, so you can get them specially made from appliance department.

    I'd advise you ask your consultant about them, it's possible GP isn't up to date with what aids/appliances are available these days.

    Hope this is of some help.

    Beth x

  • I call them my 'claws' too. Ooh that sounds painful, nothing quite like that for me but my index and middle finger keep trying to bend over at top knuckle - horrible.

    It wouldn't be for all the time so still have movement during day, it's just for night time - very attractive.

    Don't know where I'd start with OT as hospital have not mentioned it. Will try to look into though.

    Thank you x

  • Ask your GP or consultant for a referral to physio and ask the physiotherapist, they're the ones who can sort it for you. xx

  • Your OT should be able to make some for you or suggest alternatives, i've been made all sorts of splints and wrist and thumb splints over the last 2 years as i get all sorts of pain after a while it all seems to alter. I'm afraid your GP's wrong, there is usually a helpful aid out there for most things! Hope you find something helpful Sue

  • I haven't been in contact with OT, neither the hospital nor GP mentioned it. I'm going to look into this, thank you I thought there had to be something I could try!

  • I was told the physio at the hospital or the OT would make me splints for my hands. Fortunately, mine are not so bad that I need them constantly although occasionally I do. Have a word with the hospital OT about it. Drugs are fine but sometimes you need a little extra help and that is what the splints are for. Can't believe your GP could be so unhelpful!

    If you need any aids around the house contact social services. They are very helpful. Their OT came to see me 4 years ago and I now have grab handles by the doors to help and also some special toilet seats as well.

    Hope all goes well. Like you I was only diagnosed relatively recently (4 years ago) so little damage to my joints thank god. LavendarLady x

  • Thank you, I don't think. Would not need constantly just sometimes when my hands want to make a fist. I'm going to look into OT and social services, see if there is anything. X

  • Hi Like you I've had RA for about a year - low sero positve bordering sero neg.

    I'm the opposite boat to you in that my hands won't bend at the middle knuckles very well. My GP said there was no sign of swan-neck deformity so far which he described as being a bit like what you are describing with your fingers? Mine are deviating off a bit - especially the little fingers which stick out at funny angles and won't lie flush with other fingers any more.

    I find I have to try and move my hands a lot during the night so my fingers don't lock or stiffen into a straight position. Finger exercises have helped me a great deal. and I try to work my hands out using a squishy stress ball daily. Like Swoodge I have found that everything changes so I just start to address one thing and then it ceases to be such a problem and is replaced by a different problem usually. So my wrists were the worst thing for me for ages and I couldn't drive, hold books, write or get my clothes on and off or do up zips etc but now they are almost back to normal apart from first thing when they are usually pretty limited in motion.

    My knuckles were very raised for ages but now they are almost normal, although my fingers feel very tight when I try to clench them and I still can't get them all in despite all the exercises i do daily. But it's all relative and compared to the pain I experienced in my wrists, fingers and knees previously I'm now in a pretty good place - long may it last! Hope the exercises help. My GP referred me to a physio who referred me to the OT who has given me lots of gadgets and a caring for the joints in your hands worksheet and is helping me get casts taken for nighttime splints. So your GP should be the first line person in referring you. TTx

  • Thank you so much everyone, my mum told me about this site, I hadn't even heard of it until yesterday. I have now learned I have the beginning of a 'swan neck deformity', but at this point it's very mild so will be trying some exercises to see how they work.

    I'll speak to doctor again, it's not the first time I have gone to a different GP because I did not like the answer I got.

    Thank you x

  • This has been really interesting for me to read as my physio refused to get wrist splints for me to wear when my wrists are really bad. I will definitely try again.

  • Yes try again, I am still no further forward with doctors but going to see private physio tomorrow to see what they have, struggled to find splints in shops, although easily online but just not exactly sure what I am getting so need to see. Good luck x

  • I've only just seen this thread and know it's a little late in the day but I've seen the OT at the hospital after being referred bymy rheumy nurse for early swan neck deformity. She has fitted me with an oval8 finger splint. It's made of a sort of flesh coloured plastic and is designed to be worn most of the time. You can get ones made out of silver or gold but I think these are ordered privately.

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