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magazine 2012/2
means of keyhole surgery. In terms of the
knee, for example, arthroscopic surgery can
be performed on a meniscus or cruciate
ligament injury. Previously, far more injuries
were treated using plaster casts, a method
which brought with it a number of disadvan-
tages. With the use of metal implants, i.e.
screws, plates, etc., we can achieve faster
What does this mean in concrete terms?
Dr. Gerhard Oberthaler:
Let’s take the
“classic” hand injury, skier’s thumb, as an ex-
ample. This is a tear in the first metacarpo-
phalangeal joint, and surgery is unavoidable
in this case. Previously, the patient would
have been given a plaster cast, which would
have been very restrictive in terms of daily
life. It would be five weeks at the earliest
before rehabilitation could begin, after the
plaster cast was removed. Today, by contrast,
patients’ symptoms can be completely eradi-
cated after just five weeks. This is partly due
to the use of stabilizing orthoses.
Could you explain how they are used in more
Dr. Gerhard Oberthaler:
Metal or biore-
sorbable implants now ensure that joints
are stabilized directly after an operation,
with orthoses providing additional sup-
port. Although using a thumb orthosis such
as RhizoLoc reduces mobility in the first
metacarpophalangeal joint, it speeds up the
healing process. The reason for this is that
the movement of the joint can be controlled,
which has a positive effect on the metabo-
lism, improving the blood supply to the joint
so that it can regain its functionality more
easily. Orthoses are also extremely useful
for treating strains and supporting muscles.
Patients enjoy a better quality of everyday
life right from the start as, in contrast to
a plaster cast, orthoses can be temporarily
removed for washing.
Snowboarders’ vulnerable points
are their wrists and arms.
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