It is well-known that Orficast and Orficast More are great for making all types of orthoses for fingers, thumbs and hands. But did you know that you can also use Orficast for non-orthotic use in many creative ways? Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
1. Help strapping materials stick
Orficast is a very sticky material when heated directly with the heat gun. It is an excellent interface between the completed orthosis and hook-and-loop strapping materials. To firmly attach loop straps, place heated Orficast around the loop strap and adhere it directly to the orthosis. Heat Orficast and also the adhesive-backed hook tape to bond together more securely.
2. Make straps easier to grip
You can use Orficast to increase the size of the loop strapping to make it easier for someone with limited pinch to grasp, like in a patient with arthritis or weakness of the thumb muscles. Cut a narrow piece of Orficast and apply it over the sides of the loop strap.
3. As a hinge
Roll Orficast into hinges and use them to link two parts of an orthosis together at the joint axis level. Flatten the edges of the rolled Orficast to make it easier to adhere to the orthosis. Use pliers to create the bending spot if necessary. Heat both the ends of the Orficast tube and the orthosis with the heat gun and secure the hinge into place.
The orthosis will allow motion at the joint and you can easily add components for dynamic and/or static progressive orthoses to increase passive range. The Orficast hinge protects the joint from compression and distraction forces.
4. To block undesired motion
Rolled Orficast can also be placed to block undesired motion as in a Dart Thrower’s Motion Orthosis.
When placed correctly, it blocks pure wrist flexion and extension but allows movement in the Dart Thrower’s place of radial deviation and extension towards ulnar deviation and flexion. In this way, it allows the scapho-lunate ligament to heal without excessive strain.
5. Finger Caps
Orficast can be made into finger caps for protection, over sensitive fingertips or over amputated fingertips. Make the dorsal or volar side slightly longer to help with strapping or use Coban wrap tape to keep the cap in place.
6. Finger cuffs for mobilization orthoses
When fabricating a mobilization orthosis, use Orficast to create comfortable finger cuffs for each individual finger.
Cut narrow strips of Orficast, heat them in the water bath and fit them around the patient’s finger. When hardened, place the elastic around the cuff and cover with another piece of heated Orficast to ensure it stays in place. Or simply fold the Orficast around the elastic and then mould around the finger with the string already in place.
7. Finger separators
Create finger separators in a resting orthosis with rolled pieces of Orficast.
Add the Orficast to the orthosis and position the patient’s hand while the material is still soft. This way, the patient can find the most comfortable finger positioning. When hardened, the Orficast tubes will help to maintain this positioning.
8. Easy-to-grip handles
Wrap Orficast around pens and markers to make them easier to grab and hold on to.
9. On zippers
Zipper tabs can be hard to grab for patients with a weakened grip. Using Orficast to increase the size of a zipper tab on a backpack or suitcase can make an enormous difference. You can make it as large as needed; simply heat a piece of Orficast, wrap it around the zip tab and let it harden.
10. Enforce knots
When using elastic thread for a mobilization orthosis, it is very important that the knots do not loosen as this could affect the traction. Enforce the tied knots with a piece of Orficast so they do not come apart.
We are eager to hear your ideas for non-orthotic uses of Orficast and Orficast More! Share them with us in the Orfit Splinting and Rehabilitation Group on Facebook.
Written by Debby Schwartz, OTD, OTR/L, CHT
Physical Rehabilitation Product and Educational Specialist at Orfit Industries America.
Debby is a certified hand therapist with over 36 years of clinical experience. She completed her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in 2010. She has worked at Orfit Industries America as Product and Educational Specialist since 2007.
Debby is also an adjunct professor at the Occupational Therapy Department of Touro University, School of Health Sciences, and at the Occupational Therapy Department at Yeshiva University, Katz School of Science and Health in NYC. She has written many book chapters in the field of hand therapy and multiple articles for hand therapy journals, including the ASHT Times and the Journal of Hand Therapy. She has published a new textbook on orthotic fabrication together with Dr. Katherine Schofield, entitled “Orthotic Design and Fabrication for the Upper Extremity: A Practical Guide”.
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