The Relative Motion Orthosis (Free Download)

Let’s renew our focus on the Relative Motion Orthosis!

This versatile static orthosis is also known as the “Yoke” orthosis. In essence, it positions one or more digits in relative extension or flexion compared to the adjacent digits at the level of the Metacarpal-Phalangeal (MCP) joint.

In this post, we will give you a brief introduction to the unique orthotic design. From the orthosis’ origins to its most common uses, and the steps for effective orthotic fabrication.

But there’s more! For therapists who want to dive a little deeper, we created a Complete Handout for the Relative Motion Orthosis (free download).


Relative motion orthosis in orficast Orange

Origins of the Relative Motion Orthosis

The relative motion orthosis (RMO)  first came to our attention as a component of a post-operative rehabilitation protocol for extensor tendon injuries. You will know the protocol as the ICAM or “Immediate Active Controlled Motion” protocol.

The RMO was originally fabricated to be worn with a wrist cock-up orthosis. The idea behind the design was to hold one or two digits in relative extension compared to the adjacent digits. A solution to reduce tension on the repaired extensor tendon.


Common Uses and Conditions

The list of pathologies for which the Relative Motion Orthosis is currently being used has grown significantly. In fact, it is the new “go-to-orthosis” for a wide variety of conditions affecting the hand and digits, such as:

  • Boutonniere deformity (acute and chronic)
  • Sagittal band rupture (acute and chronic)
  • Digital joint stiffness
  • Tendon injury and repair
  • Nerve repair

Aside from the list above the RMO also makes a great exercise aid.


How to Fabricate?

Follow along with this video to fabricate an effective Relative Motion Orthosis in Orficast 6 cm:



Handout: The Relative Motion Orthosis

There’s a lot more to learn and discover about this versatile orthosis. We created a dedicated Relative Motion Orthosis Handout which includes the following:

  • How to position the RMO for extension or flexion at the MCP joints? (Based on relevant clinical conditions)
  • Orthotic fabrication instructions for the RMO (extension and flexion)
  • Perfect material choices
  • Tips for the clinician
  • Resources for further investigation

Download your free copy here:


Black and white portrait of Debby Schwartz

Written by Debby Schwartz, OTD, OTR/L, CHT

Physical Rehabilitation Product and Educational Specialist at Orfit Industries America.

Debby is a certified hand therapist with over 36 years of clinical experience. She completed her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in 2010. She has worked at Orfit Industries America as Product and Educational Specialist since 2007.

Debby is also an adjunct professor at the Occupational Therapy Department of Touro University, School of Health Sciences, and at the Occupational Therapy Department at Yeshiva University, Katz School of Science and Health in NYC. She has written many book chapters in the field of hand therapy and multiple articles for hand therapy journals, including the ASHT Times and the Journal of Hand Therapy. She has published a new textbook on orthotic fabrication together with Dr. Katherine Schofield, entitled “Orthotic Design and Fabrication for the Upper Extremity: A Practical Guide”.

Debby’s Google Scholar

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