24 November 2021

ScHARR’s Clinical Trials Research Unit to support NIHR study to improve hand injury rehabilitation

ScHARR’s Clinical Trials Research Unit are supporting a study run by experts at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton and University of Nottingham to explore the effectiveness of different hand splints in rehabilitation following a hand injury.

Wrist Splint

The collaboration was awarded £1.2m from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to improve the rehabilitation of patients following surgery for finger flexor tendon injuries. When someone suffers a laceration to the palm of their hand and cut the tendons, this can lead to the loss of movement in their fingers. The press coined the phrase avocado hand after so many people suffered the injury trying to remove the Avocado stone in a dangerous manner with a knife. Flexor tendons can also be injured by broken glass, power and gardening tools. Treatment for the injury requires surgical repair and lengthy rehabilitation.

The team at the world renowned Pulvertaft Hand Centre and University of Nottingham will study the splints used following a surgical repair of this injury. Many patients struggle with their rehabilitation as the splints that need to be worn are often awkward and get discarded before rehabilitation is complete.

Assistant Director of CTRU, Professor of Evaluation, Danny Hind said of the trial: “This trial compares different splints used after surgical repair of flexor tendon injury. The trial will show if one is better for patients in terms of pain and function. We'll show how patient attitudes affect adherence and - in turn - how adherence affects outcomes. The costs of the different splints are comparable and relatively small, but the costs of treatment failure and reintervention are substantial. We’re excited to be working with Derby & Burton Hospitals and University of Nottingham on this trial.. The team are working with Professor Avril Drummond, researcher at the University of Nottingham, and the funding is through a £1.2 million grant from the NIHR Health Technologies Assessment programme.

Professor Avril Drummond, Professor of Healthcare Research and Lead for Rehabilitation Research Group at University of Nottingham, said: “We are really excited to have secured this large grant which will advance our knowledge on how best to treat patients after tendon repair surgery. At present we simply do not know which splint is best for which patient- and this study will answer this important question and underpin future care and rehabilitation in this field.”

More than 400 patients in 20 hospitals will take part in the research, which will see patients monitored for a year after their surgery.

NIHR is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. Its work in low and middle income countries is principally funded through UK Aid from the UK government.

ScHARR CTRU: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/scharr/research/centres/ctru

Professor Danny Hind: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/scharr/people/staff/danny-hind

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