It is important that she retains as much flexibility as possible so she can pick up objects and operate her electric wheelchair.
To do this, Diana needs to stretch her arm and fingers each day. Her physiotherapist, Ian, felt that Diana needed a wrist stretcher similar to one TAD had previously provided for another client of Multiple Sclerosis Australia.
The wrist stretcher has a base and a hinged section used for the stretching, which can be set at various angles depending on the degree of stretch that is required. Ian provided volunteer Reg Gardner with the dimensions he wanted for Diana, including the need for the hinged section to be adjustable from zero to almost 90°.
Reg made the baseboard and hinged section from plywood, and attached them together. He added eight stop wedges on the opposite end of the baseboard from where Diana sits, with 40mm leading edge separations.
Reg then added a propping tongue to the back of the hinged section – this holds the stretch board in any one of the seven available positions, which are numbered. He also padded the areas where Diana’s arm and fingers rest for comfort. Diana uses her board up to an hour a day to exercise her fingers and arm. Her husband Raoul sets it up on a table next to her wheelchair, with a weight on her forearm and a tie to
hold her wrist in place.
The angle of the stretch will vary according to how flexible her fingers are that day. “The more I use it the better,” she said.
This is the first project TAD has done for Diana. “I am most interested to hear of other ways the organisation may be able to help me,” she said.