Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Serial Casting - Topic Overview
Some children who have developed mild to moderate
contractures (knees, ankles, wrists, fingers, elbows)
may benefit from serial casting.
Serial casting is a temporary straightening and casting of the
affected joint (for about 2 days). The cast is then removed, the child goes
through some physical therapy, and a new cast is applied with the joint
stretched a bit more.
In addition to symptoms and a doctor's exam, blood tests and X-rays are commonly used to confirm rheumatoid arthritis. The majority of sufferers have antibodies called rheumatoid factors (RF) in their blood, although RF may also be present in other disorders. A new test for rheumatoid arthritis that measures levels of antibodies in the blood (called the anti-CCP test) is more specific and tends to be only elevated in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or in patients about to develop rheumatoid arthritis...
The procedure is repeated with the joint a little straighter each
time. This process continues until maximal straightening has occurred. A
resting splint may be worn at night for 3 to 6 months afterwards.
Serial casting may be able to restore the ability to straighten a
mildly contracted joint, but it is unlikely to improve severe