Tired of using dumbbells for rehabilitation following distal radius fractures? Looking for new interventions to increase client engagement? Look no further than your patient’s smartphone! Incorporate it into exercise routines to help your patients regain wrist balance and to provide proprioceptive input.
Evidence Supports Proprioceptive Activities
Emerging evidence supports the use of proprioceptive activities for distal radius fracture rehabilitation.1 A cross-sectional study involving females treated operatively and non-operatively for a distal radius fracture found that participants had significantly less joint position sense in comparison to study controls.2 The proprioceptive limitations correlated highly with functional impairment on the Patient Rated Wrist Evaluation.3
By addressing proprioceptive deficits while encouraging functional wrist range of motion, smartphone applications complement a traditional hand therapy program for individuals requiring skilled therapy following a distal radius fracture.
Some games to consider:
- Chopper Lite – Action packed side-scrolling helicopter game where a tilt of the screen flies the chopper.
- Labyrinth – Classic labyrinth game in which you must guide a ball through a labyrinth by moving your device.
- Tilt Maze Lite – Maze game where a tilt of your device helps a marble through a maze toward the exit. Use different mazes to test wrist balance and timing. The game stores the player’s best time for each maze so patients can track their performance as their wrist heals.
- Water Slide Extreme – Unique water slide game featuring tight corners and huge loops that you must navigate by twisting or leaning your device.
- Snail Mail – Kart-style racing game in which the player controls a racing snail on a mission to collect packages and deliver them to the farthest reaches of the universe while dodging obstacles such as laser towers, slugs, asteroids, and salt.
The clinician should consider using smartphones as an intervention following distal radius fractures. Skilled hand therapists can assist with appropriate postural mechanics and provide guidelines for the amount of time a patient should devote to gaming.
Rehabilitation at Your Fingertips
Certain smartphone applications can be used to address client-specific deficits, decrease functional concerns, and achieve client-centered goals. Incorporating smartphone gaming in hand therapy may provide motivation and convenience to your clients.
- Algar, L., & Valdes, K. (2014). Using smartphone applications as hand therapy interventions. Journal of Hand Therapy, 27(3), 254–257. doi:10.1016/j.jht.2013.12.009
- Karagiannopoulos, C., Sitler, M., Michlovitz, S., & Tierney, R. (2014a). A Descriptive Study on Wrist and Hand Sensori-Motor Impairment and Function Following Distal Radius Fracture Intervention. Journal of Hand Therapy, 27(3), e2–e3. doi:10.1016/j.jht.2013.08.006
- Karangiannopoulos, et al. (2014)