Common Sports Injuries and Orthotic Solutions (+ Free Ebooklet)

Splinting sports-related wrist, hand, thumb and finger injuries

Sports injuries can occur in any type of athlete: the professional, the weekend warrior, the high school sports buff, or the enthusiast who occasionally takes up a sports activity.

But no matter the type of athlete you’re treating, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to orthotic fabrication for sports injuries. In general, therapists treating active individuals need to understand the time frames of healing for each anatomical structure, the appropriate orthotic intervention, and the need to develop a treatment plan for the individual.

In order to help each patient return to full participation, you will also need to take into account:

  • Strengthening and sports-specific exercises
  • Conditioning activities
  • Training schedules


Let’s discuss some of the most common injuries of the hand and fingers associated with sports activities and suitable orthotic solutions.


Injuries to the fingers

Mallet injuries, boutonniere injuries, fractures and dislocations are all common finger injuries related to sports. Overall, it is critical to determine the exact structures affected and offer a protective orthosis in the correct position for healing.

Orficast is an excellent solution for most finger injuries. All you need is about 8-10 inches! Buddy tapes out of our Orficast material are also helpful and easy to fabricate.


Buddy tapes in Orficast Blue for finger sports injuries

Buddy tapes in Orficast Blue.

Of course, there are many more orthotic solutions for finger injuries. Learn all about them in our Booklet on Common Sports Injuries and Orthotic Solutions (free download).


Injuries to the wrist

Wrist injuries can include fractures, sprains and tendonitis. These generally require immobilization in a wrist orthosis for healing of injured anatomical structures.

There are many methods and designs for the fabrication of a wrist orthosis, and correspondingly, many different materials will work:

A circumferential orthosis might feel most secure and protective to an athlete that wants to get back onto the field quickly (with the physician’s approval of course).


Injuries to the thumb

In the thumb, we commonly see fractures and collateral ligament injuries when it comes to sports activities. An ulnar collateral ligament sprain generally affects the ulnar side of the thumb MCP joint and can cause the finger to become unstable.

A short thumb opponens orthosis, in particular, can help to stabilize the thumb and allow for healing.

Suitable materials for quick and easy splinting include:

Thumb splint for sports injuries to the thumb

Thumb orthosis in Orficast Orange.

Discover other orthotic solutions and how to fabricate them in our Free Booklet on Splinting for Sports Injuries.


Injuries to the wrist and thumb

Fractures and tendinitis are common sports-related injuries to the wrist and thumb. In general, De Quervain’s and Intersection tendinitis can both be treated with a long opponens orthosis.

Try the following materials for the long opponens:

Long Opponens Orthosis in Orfit Colors NS

Long Opponens Orthosis in Orfit Colors NS.


Injuries to the hand

The metacarpal bones can be fractured during athletic activities, especially when playing with hard balls. Ulnar and/or radial gutter orthoses can protect the fractured bones during healing.

An easy-to-use and effective material for this type of orthosis is Orficast More.

Ulnar Gutter Orthosis in Orficast More Blue

Ulnar Gutter Orthosis in Orficast More Blue.



Splinting Sports Injuries Ebooklet (Free Download)

Want to dive a little deeper into the world of Splinting for Sports Injuries? Then download our Common Sports Injuries and Orthotic Solutions Ebooklet with easy-to-follow instructions and photos.

This Ebooklet features:

  • Detailed orthotic fabrication tutorials for a variety of orthoses.
  • Material choices for maximum efficiency.
  • Tips for fast and easy splinting.

But there’s more! Check out our Sports Injuries Course at The Orfit Academy for many more tips and video-based tutorials. You can register for free to watch this course as well as any of our other courses online.



Avery, D. M., Rodner, C. M., & Edgar, C. (2016). Sports-related wrist and hand injuries: a review. Journal of orthopaedic surgery and research11(1), 1-15.

Chen, N. C., Jupiter, J. B., & Jebson, P. J. (2009). Sports-related wrist injuries in adults. Sports health1(6), 469-477.

Peterson, J. J., & Bancroft, L. W. (2006). Injuries of the fingers and thumb in the athlete. Clinics in sports medicine25(3), 527-542.


Black and white portrait of Debby Schwartz

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”.

Debby’s Google Scholar

We've selected some similar articles for you
5 Safety Measures in the Orthotic Fabrication Workspace
How safe is your workspace for orthotic fabrication?
What steps do you take to ensure safety while preparing an orthosis? Here are 5 practical measures to ensure a good and safe outcome for all.
Read more
How to Improve Patient Adherence to Orthotic Wear
Strategies to get your patient to wear their orthosis
Patient compliance is an important factor for the success of any orthotic intervention. We share tips and strategies you can use to improve your patient's adherence to orthotic wear.
Read more
The Short Thumb Opponens Orthosis
6 Key factors for thumb splinting
The short thumb opponens orthosis is a commonly used orthosis that comes with its own splinting challenges: which materials to choose, how to position the thumb, which joints to include in the orthosis, etc. We list 6 key factors for thumb splinting that will help you fabricate the most effective orthoses for all your patients.
Read more