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How to Choose the Best Splinting Material for Your Patient

How to Choose the Best Splinting Material for Your Patient

How to Choose the Best Splinting Material for Your Patient

When deciding on the right thermoplastic sheet for your splinting needs, the options can be overwhelming. Learn how to choose the right conformability and resistance for the splint you're making and how to choose between different perforations, thicknesses, and bonding options.

Whether you’re new to splinting or just want to review the basics, this guide will help you choose the right splinting sheet for proper fabrication and to ensure the best splint for your patient!

Why choose Rolyan Thermoplastics and Splinting Materials?

Rolyan makes your job easier with a material for every splint, every therapist, and every experience level. For nearly 50 years, Rolyan has led the way in thermoplastics. With the largest selection of splinting materials in the industry, all made in the USA and latex free, you’ll find the right option for you and your patient.

Performance Health Academy offers a variety of continuing education courses and webinars that cover a range of experience levels and specialty splinting topics.

Watch a splinting webinar on how to choose splinting material now or keep reading to learn more!

Demystifying Thermoplastic Selection

Basic Thermoplastic Options

Thickness

Rolyan thermoplastics come in five different thicknesses to fit your preferences and the type of splint you are fabricating.

116in112in332in18in316in

  • 1/16”
    • Lightweight
    • Easy to cut when cold
    • Ideal for pediatrics, finger splints and hand-based splints
  • 1/12”
    • Lightweight with moderate support
    • Easy to cut when cold
    • Ideal for pediatrics, finger, hand-based splints and other areas requiring lightweight support
  • 3/32”
    • Lightweight with moderate support
    • Offers support while minimizing bulkiness
    • Ideal for a wide range of static and dynamic splints or progressive splints where less weight is desired
    • Examples include arthritis, thumb, hand, wrist and small area splints
  • 1/8”
    • Traditional thickness for firm support and stability
    • Can be used for positioning and holding joints, aiding abnormal tone, contractures, and fracture bracing
    • Ideal for static, dynamic, and progressive splinting of upper and lower extremities
  • 3/16”
    • Maximum rigidity
    • Provides firm support and stability
    • Ideal for body jackets, abnormal tone splints, lower extremity splints, and fracture braces

Solid vs. Perforations

Rolyan thermoplastics also come in solid options and a variety of perforated options, from 1% to 42%.

solid vs perforations

  • Solid
    • For maximum support
  • Perforated (1%, 2%, 2.5%)
    • Provides slight ventilation
    • Increases patient comfort without comprising rigidity
  • UltraPerf (13%) and Optiperf (19%)
    • Lightweight
    • Provides greater ventilation
    • Increases patient comfort and compliance
  • SuperPerf (38% and 42%)
    • Lightweight
    • Superior ventilation
    • Greater patient comfort and compliance
  • *Tips*
    • Higher perforations soften more quickly and cool faster when heated
    • For additional support, choose a thicker material with higher perforations

Bonding - Uncoated vs. Coated

Bonding refers to the degree that a material will stick to itself when heated. Rolyan thermoplastics include both uncoated and coated options.

  • Uncoated
    • Forms a permanent bond
    • Effective bonding without needed to treat or prepare surface
    • Ideal for splints where you will add outriggers, accessories, or reinforcing strips
  • Coated
    • Material temporarily bonds when warm, but once cool the bond is not permanent
    • Can be used to form a permanent bond by removing coating with spirits or by scratching the splint’s surface
    • Often easier to handle during fabrication compared to uncoated material
    • Ideal for long term splints as the coated material is easier to clean (less porous)

Conformability vs. Resistance

rolyan low temp

  • Drape/Conformability
    • The ease to which the splinting material conforms to a surface when it is heated
    • For increased comfort and reduced pressure areas, a high degree of drape allows a precise fit with minimal handling
    • High conformability materials are best for a skilled splinter who is confident with their handling skills
    • Minimal conformability materials are best for splinting larger areas because they offer more stability and are easier to handle
  • Resistance to Stretch
    • The extent to which a material resists pulling or stretching when it is heated
    • Minimum: Intimate fit, very light handling required
    • Moderate: Exact fit, moderate handling to pull and hold material in place
    • Maximum: Good fit, firm handling needed making it best for larger splints

Rolyan Low Temperature Thermoplastics offer a variety of conformability and resistance options to meet your splinting needs. The thermoplastics are heat activated between 150-170°F (65-75°C) in 30 seconds to 2 minutes and have a working time of 1-6 minutes.

Rolyan Splinting Material Options

Minimum Resistance to Stretch

These thermoplastics are highly conformable with excellent drapability. They stretch easily and require minimal handling.

Polyform

Polyform

  • Ideal for: Wrist, hand, finger and thumb splints, dynamic outrigger splint bases, and neck collars and face masks
  • Features: Most conformable of all the Rolyan splinting material, good contour for an intimate fit and increased patient comfort
  • Colors: White, beige, blue
  • Perforations: Solid, 1% Perf
  • Thicknesses: 1/16”, 1/8”
  • Coated: allowing temporary bonds

Kay-Splint II

Kay-Splint II

  • Ideal for: Hand, wrist, finger and thumb splints, dynamic outrigger bases, elbow and knee splints and thinner lightweight wrist, finger, pediatric, bi-valved supports
  • Features: Controlled stretch for gentle or aggressive handling, moderate conformability and drape with moderate rigidity
  • Colors: White, blush
  • Perforations: Solid, 1% Perf
  • Thicknesses: 1/16”, 3/32”, 1/8”
  • Coated: allowing temporary bonds

Polyflex II

Polyflex II

  • Ideal for: Circumferential splints, hand, wrist, finger and thumb splints, elbow and knee splints, and dynamic outrigger bases
  • Features: Flexibility when set makes this material ideal for splints that will be applied and removed, accommodates fluctuations in edema
  • Colors: White, beige, blue
  • Perforations: Solid, 1% Perf
  • Thicknesses: 1/16”, 3/32”, 1/8”
  • Coated: allowing temporary bonds

Orthoplast II

Orthoplast II

  • Ideal for: Hand, wrist, finger and thumb splints, dynamic outrigger bases, and elbow and knee splints
  • Features: Excellent drape, moldability, and rigidity, highly drapable for a close fit
  • Colors: White
  • Perforations: Solid, 1% Perf
  • Thicknesses: 1/8”
  • Coated: allowing temporary bonds

Moderate Resistance to Stretch

These thermoplastics have a controlled stretch and shape easily.

CuraDrape

CuraDrape

  • Ideal for: A lightweight, comfortable splint, wrist, hand, finger and thumb splints, and dynamic outrigger bases
  • Features: Highly conformable without the worry of fingerprints, ideal for novice and pro splinters, heating time 60-90 seconds
  • Colors: White, metallic blue, silver, charcoal
  • Perforations: Solid, 13% Ultra, 1% Perf, 19% OptiPerf
  • Thicknesses: 1/16”, 3/32”, 1/8”
  • Coated: allowing temporary bonds

Ezeform

Ezeform

  • Ideal for: Clients who are unable to cooperate, spasticity splints, functional position splints, resting pan mitt splints, and elbow splints and back supports
  • Features: Slightly tacky when heated to help maintain splint position during fabrication
  • Colors: White, beige, blue, charcoal
  • Perforations: Solid, 1% Perf, 19% OptiPerf
  • Thicknesses: 1/16”, 3/32”, 1/8”
  • Uncoated: allowing permanent bonds

TailorSplint

TailorSplint

  • Ideal for: Hand, wrist, finger and thumb splints, dynamic outrigger bases, elbow and knee splints, and thinner, lightweight wrist, finger, pediatric, and bi-valved supports
  • Features: Versatile for most clinical applications, moderate resistance to stretch and moderate drape, excellent for novice and experienced splinters
  • Colors: Beige, autumn leaves, light blue, charcoal
  • Perforations: Solid, 1% Perf, 19% OptiPerf
  • Thicknesses: 1/16”, 3/32”, 1/8”
  • Coated: allowing temporary bonds

Kay-Splint III

Kay-Splint III

  • Ideal for: Hand, wrist, finger and thumb splints, dynamic outrigger bases, elbow and knee splints, and thinner lightweight wrist, finger, pediatric, and bi-valved supports
  • Features: High resistance to fingerprinting, excellent control with moderate rigidity and a firm handling tolerance
  • Colors: Beige
  • Perforations: Solid, 1% Perf
  • Thicknesses: 1/8”
  • Coated: allowing temporary bonds

Aquaplast Original

Aquaplast Original

  • Ideal for: Serial splints, hand, wrist, finger and thumb splints, dynamic outrigger bases, and thicker material is ideal for lower extremity spasticity, body jackets, and fracture bracing splints
  • Features: Transparent when heated, 100% memory for re-molding and splinting revisions, moderate resistance to stretch and moderate drape
  • Colors: White, beige
  • Perforations: Solid, 13% UltraPerf, 19% OptiPerf
  • Thicknesses: 1/16”, 1/8”, 3/16”
  • Uncoated: allowing permanent bonds

Aquaplast ProDrape-T

Aquaplast ProDrape-T

  • Ideal for: Clients with pain or joint irritation, requiring gentle handling, wrist, hand, finger and thumb splints, dynamic outrigger splint bases, and neck collars and face masks
  • Features: Transparent when heated, 100% memory for re-molding and splinting revisions, drapes easily and conforms well
  • Colors: White, red, electric blue, charcoal
  • Perforations: Solid, 13% UltraPerf, 19% OptiPerf
  • Thicknesses: 1/16”, 3/32”, 1/8”
  • Coated: allowing temporary bonds

Aquaplast-TAquaplast-T Watercolors SolidAquaplast-T Watercolors Perforated

Aquaplast-T/Aquaplast-T Watercolors Solid/Aquaplast-T Watercolors PerforatedAquaplast-T/Aquaplast-T Watercolors Solid/Aquaplast-T Watercolors PerforatedAquaplast-T/Aquaplast-T Watercolors Solid/Aquaplast-T Watercolors Perforated

  • Ideal for: Serial splints, hand, wrist, finger and thumb splints, dynamic outrigger bases, elbow and knee splints (utilizing the pinch technique), and the thicker material is ideal for lower extremity spasticity, body jackets and fracture bracing splints
  • Features: White is transparent when heated, light colors are semi-transparent when heated, 100% memory for re-molding and splinting revisions, variety of colors, perforations, and thicknesses, good conformability
  • Aquaplast-T Colors: White, beige
  • Aquaplast-T Watercolors Colors: Royal blue, silver, metallic blue, charcoal, electric blue, hot pink, lavender, forest green, red, purple, spring green, pastel blue, orange, yellow
  • Aquaplast-T Perforations: Solid, 1% Perf, 13% UltraPerf, 19% OptiPerf, 38% SuperPerf, 42% SuperPerf
  • Aquaplast-T Watercolors Perforations: Solid, 13% UltraPerf, 19% OptiPerf
  • Aquaplast-T Thicknesses: 1/16”, 3/32”, 1/8”, 3/16”
  • Aquaplast-T Watercolors Thicknesses: 1/16”, 1/12”, 3/32”, 1/8”
  • Both are coated: allowing temporary bonds

Maximum Resistance to Stretch

Extremely strong and durable, these thermoplastics have a controlled stretch and excellent rigidity.

Aquaplast Original Resilient/Aquaplast Resilient-T

Aquaplast Original Resilient/Aquaplast Resilient-TAquaplast Original Resilient/Aquaplast Resilient-T

  • Ideal for: Splints that require frequent revisions, serial splints, large splints and splints for spasticity, elbow and back splints, and ankle stirrup and foot drop splints
  • Features: Transparent when heated, 100% memory for re-molding and splinting revisions, non-draping material for maximum control
  • Colors: White
  • Perforations: Solid, 13% UltraPerf
  • Thicknesses: 1/16”, 1/8”
  • Aquaplast Original Resilient, Uncoated: allowing permanent bonds
  • Aquaplast Resilient-T, Coated: allowing temporary bonds

Synergy

Synergy

  • Ideal for: Clients who are unable to cooperate, spasticity splints, elbow splints, and back supports, body jackets, and lower extremity splints
  • Features: High degree of control during fabrication, maximum resistance with moderate drape, excellent rigidity when set
  • Colors: White, beige, blue
  • Perforations: Solid, 1% Perf
  • Thicknesses: 1/8”
  • Uncoated: allowing permanent bonds

San-Splint

San-Splint

  • Ideal for: Medium to large splints, spasticity splints, functional position splints, resting mitt splints, back supports and body jackets, and shoe orthotics
  • Features: Most rigid Rolyan material, for secure strapping, padding and attachments, rubber based isoprene material with a high degree of control and rigidity
  • Colors: White, beige
  • Perforations: Solid, 1% Perf, 2.5% Perf
  • Thicknesses: 1/16”, 1/8”
  • Uncoated: allowing permanent bonds

Splinting Packs

Packs for Educators and Students: Latex free variety packs allow students to compare and contrast sheets and their purposes

educator pack

Aquaplast-T and Aquaplast-T Watercolors Sample Pack: Aquaplast-T and Aquaplast-T Watercolors splinting sheets in a variety of colors, thicknesses, and perforations

sample pack

Watercolors Pack: Bold and pastel packs of Aquaplast-T Watercolors thermoplastics

watercolors pack

Watercolors Peds Pack A and Pack B: Packs of Aquaplast-T Watercolors for pediatric patients and adult hand splints

pack aPack B

Introductory Splinting Kit: A variety of splinting thermoplastic sheets, strapping material, finger loops, outrigger wires, rubber bands, and a goniometer

introductory splinting kit

Sample 6” x 9” Sheets: Allow you to test the material before making a larger order

Pre-Cuts and Pre-Forms

Pre-Cut Splints: Flat, pre-cut thermoplastic splint blanks make splinting fabrication easy

pre-cut splints

Pre-Formed Splints: Pre-molded splints maintain their functional position and can be heated to customize them for your patients

pre-formed splints

Types of Splints

Splints come in different types including:

  • Static
  • Serial static
  • Dynamic
  • Static progressive

Learn more about the different types of orthosis splints!

Other Splinting Essentials

Looking for more splinting accessories? Performance Health has you covered for all of your splinting needs. Here are some of our favorites!

Rolyan Smart Splint Bath

smart splint bath

Rolyan Polyester Stockinette

Rolyan Polyester Stockinette

Rolyan Hook

Rolyan Hook

Rolyan Loop

Rolyan Loop

Scissors

Scissors

Heat Gun

Heat Gun

Edging

Edging

Outrigger Wire

Outrigger Wire

Pop Rivets and Rivet Gun

Pop Rivets and Rivet Gun

Turner and Thermometer

Turner and Thermometer

Splint Liner

Splint Liner

Storage Cabinet

Storage Cabinet

D-Rings

D-Rings

Revolving Hole Punch

Revolving Hole Punch

Padding

Padding

Hinges

Hinges

What’s next?

Looking for colorful splinting thermoplastics?

Check out Rolyan Imprints!

rolyan imprints

Colorful versions of the Polyform and TailorSplint material you know and love!

Ready to shop?

Check out the rest of our hand therapy and splinting supplies!

rolyan imprints

Get everything you need for splinting fabrication!

Looking for a new splint pan?

Learn about the innovative Rolyan Smart Splint Bath

rolyan smart splint bath

Designed for infection prevention and featuring pre-programmed settings, this splint bath is changing the game for splint fabrication.

Medical Disclaimer: The information provided on this site, including text, graphics, images and other material, are for informational purposes only and are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.