Effectiveness of the static progressive Joint Active System splint in improving upper extremity joint stiffness

Kobi Steinberg*, Danit Langer, Hanna Melchior, Joshua A. Cohen, Gershon Zinger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Injuries to the upper extremity often result in stiffness. The joint capsule may lose its elastic properties, limiting motion. Most modalities for increasing motion are based on capsule stretching, and usually involve physical or occupational therapy. We tested the hypothesis that the Joint Active System static-progressive splint is helpful in increasing range of motion in stiff joints after failure of other treatments. Methods: Candidates for the Joint Active System splint were mostly patients with upper extremity trauma that required surgery, if they plateaued after therapy but still had stiffness. A retrospective review was performed of all patients from 2015 to 2019 that met our inclusion criteria. Etiologies of stiffness and patient demographics were documented. Range of motion was recorded before and after treatment and, when available, functional scores were calculated. Results: Forty-four patients were treated with the Joint Active System splint; 5 were excluded, leaving 39 for analysis: 15 elbow, 14 wrist and 10 proximal interphalangeal joints. All patients had received therapy before using the Joint Active System and 11 had tried a dynamic splint in addition to therapy. All joints showed significant improvement in motion after treatment: from 66.5° to 95.7° in the elbow, 63.5° to 81.1° in the wrist and 33.2° to 51.8° in the proximal interphalangeal joint. When functional scores were available before and after treatment, there was significant improvement for both elbow and wrist. Even when the Joint Active System was started many months after injury, it was effective. Conclusions: Despite reaching a plateau with therapy, the Joint Active System static-progressive splint is effective in improving range of motion in elbow, wrist and finger joints with stiffness following injury or surgery. Type of study: Retrospective case series. Level of evidence: Therapeutic, level IV.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number101710
JournalHand Surgery and Rehabilitation
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 SFCM


  • Elbow
  • PIP joint
  • Static-Progressive
  • Stiffness
  • Wrist


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