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Wearing a splint as an adult with Erbs Palsy

Updated: Mar 9, 2018

I generally feel in a good place about my arm. Occasionally I get self-conscious about how it looks. I think that fact that I'm always looking at it in the mirror and in photos is more habit than anything. It's time to break my habit and focus on really matters. I’ve shared my fears about wearing a splint on Instagram. It seems to be one thing that I still struggle with.

The kink in my wrist is the most noticeable thing about my #erbspalsy. The splint is designed to straighten the wrist out, so that it looks more “normal”. The last one I had made for me was when I was in my early 20’s, yet I never wore it. Whenever I look at it I get a weird feeling of dread inside. I think this emotion must go back to my childhood. My parents and physiotherapist made me wear it at night. Occasionally I’d have a full cast on for a few weeks at a time to force it in that position. When I was at school people would ask me how I broke my arm and when I replied, “Oh, it’s not broken” they would look at me funny and ask why it was in a cast. I would then have to explain about my birth injury.

My parents still have all of my splints dating back to when I was born in ’83. There are various different styles and shapes from over the years. I hated the really heavy ones that were made from plaster cast. I used to wake myself up in the night by either smacking it against the wall or hitting myself over the head! At the time I didn’t really think much of it, but now that I’m an adult I find it really hard to wear. It’s not that it’s because it’s uncomfortable (although it is). There’s something deeper than that, which I need to work out.

I managed to face my fear the other day and I wore it for the first time in many years. It didn’t stay on all night, I must have taken it off in the middle of the night while I was asleep. I’m working towards wearing it more often, because I’m assuming it won’t really work if I don’t use it every night. I’d actually be interested to hear from people who wear splints, to see if they notice any difference. I’ve always had the kink in my wrist, so I’m not sure how effective it actually is. I’ll try it out for a while and see.

"With enough determination and hard work I will be able to do the things that I want to do. There’s no time for fear. Fear stops us from achieving our goals, fear can be the reason we never even start to act on our ideas. Fear is fake."

Why do I feel like this?

Apart from deep routed emotion, I think it comes down to an acceptance thing. When I see the splint by the side of my bed, in a split second I feel upset, fearful, useless, abnormal, weak, denial and a reverberating question, “why me?”

It’s just a flash of emotion and then it’s gone. The way that I need to deal with this is by facing the fear head on. There’s no beating around the bush here. I have #erbspalsy. My wrist is kinked. I have limited movement. My arm hangs in a weird way and my left side is weaker. What I can do however, is work with what I’ve got. Now that I’ve got started, there’s no way that I’m going to stop. I have a vision and a picture of how I want my body to be and I will make it happen one way or another. I have to be disciplined and I have to truly accept what I’m born with. With enough determination and hard work I will be able to do the things that I want to do. There’s no time for fear. Fear stops us from achieving our goals, fear can be the reason we never even start to act on our ideas. Fear is fake. If I’m fearful that people may look at me oddly, then that fear is based on a ‘maybe’. That fear is based on nothing but my own limitation and how I perceive myself, not how others may perceive me. There is no fact is that fear.

If you are in the same place, I urge you to start today! Start small, picture your goal and take small steps every day to make it a reality. Literally nobody will do it for you and if you’re waiting for someone go give you a push… consider yourself pushed!

Much love x

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Nicole McCoy
Nicole McCoy
Apr 06, 2021

Found your posts in July, 2020 and this article specifically resonated with me, so I saved it. I had only one brace in my life and it caused my (left) arm to get numb as I slept, so I always pulled it off during the night. After a while I admitted to my parents that I was removing it, that it was not just falling off at night, and they told me I didn't have to wear it any more. Now in my late 40s, I occasionally use a hand brace to anchor my wrist, because I also have a wrist bend and am prone to muscle failure while holding objects of just a few ounces heavy. (I have…


Danielle Barbara
Danielle Barbara
Dec 19, 2018

I also don't like wearing splints but I make it easier by decorating my splints with colours and beads or anything I have around to show of things I like and it means I can show of my style even when I have to where a uniform for school.

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