Muenster Splint versus Sugar Tong SplintBy Nigel Chua
The Muenster splint and the Sugar Tong splint are two very important splints that help prevent full wrist / forearm rotation (pronation and supination).
They both help to position the wrist and forearm in either
- pronated (palm down)
- neutral (thumb up)
- supinated (palm up)
depending on what structures are injured that needs to heal.
So the muenster splint and sugar tong splint allows injured tissues and structures to heal without allowing them to overstretch or shorten the tissue length, which is particularly important for specific elbow issues or after surgery or trauma of the
- radial bone
- ulnar bone
- distal radio-ulnar joint (wrist joint)
- proximal radio-ulnar joint (elbow joint)
- triangular fibrocartilage complex structures
So common conditions and clinical diagnoses that the orthopedic doctor may refer or call or a muenster or sugar tong splint may include:
- TFCC tears
- Galeazzi fracture-dislocations
- DRUJ fractures and dislocations
- Ulnar abutment injuries
Muenster and Sugar Tong splints were designed to
- prevent full forearm rotation
- provide stabilization of the radial-ulnar joint
- immobilize the DRUJ (wrist joint)
- allow for limited active flexion and extension of the elbow
Muenster vs. Sugar Tong Splints
Frankly speaking, both splints will immobilize the wrist and forearm from rotating, just that the ways they're fabricated and made is different technique-wise.
The muenster splint is a wrist-forearm-elbow splint with a long proximal extension that converge on the medial and lateral epicondyles at the distal humerus.
The sugar tong splint on the other hand, is made of a long and narrow thermoplastic rectangle piece and it's mainly made with the forearm in neutral position (thumb up).
The thermoplastic material is positioned beginning at the dorsal metacarpal heals, along the dorsal aspect of the forearm, around the posterior elbow (capturing the medial and lateral epicondyles), and placed along the volar aspect of the forearm extending to the volar palm.