Splint - instructions

Alternative names
How to make a splint

Definition
A splint is a device used for holding a part of the body stable and motionless to prevent pain and further injury.

Considerations
The purpose of a splint is to protect a wounded body part from further damage until you get medical help. It is important to check for good circulation after the injured body part has been immobilized.

Commercial splints are often used to immobilize a body part in the treatment of various disorders.

Causes
Splints can be used for many different injuries. Any time there is a broken bone, stabilizing the area is important.

Symptoms
See the information about fractures and dislocation.

First Aid

1. Care for all wounds first before applying a splint.

2. An injured body part should usually be splinted in the position in which it was found.

3. Find something rigid to use as supports to make the splint such as sticks, boards, or even rolled up newspapers. If none can be found, use a rolled blanket or clothing. An injured body part can also be taped to an uninjured body part in order to prevent it from moving. For example, you can tape an injured finger to the finger next to it to keep it immobile.

4. Extend the splint beyond the injured area in order to keep it from moving. In general, try to include the joint above and below the injury in the splint.

5. Secure the splint with ties (belts, cloth strips, neckties, etc.), or tape above and below the injury (make sure the knots are not pressing on the injury). Avoid over-tightening which can cut off the circulation.

6. Check the area of the injured body part frequently for swelling, paleness, or numbness. If necessary, loosen the splint.

7. Seek professional medical attention.

Do Not

DO NOT make any attempts to change the position of, or realign an injured body part.

Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if

If an injury occurs while out hiking, camping, etc., call for emergency medical assistance as soon as possible. In the meantime, administer first aid for the victim.

Any injury that involves bone protruding through the skin, a loss of sensation, or a loss of pulse beyond the injury requires immediate emergency medical assistance. If any of these situations occur, medical assistance is not available, and the injured part looks to be abnormally bent, gently replacing the injured part back into its normal position may improve the circulation.

Prevention
Safety is the best way to avoid broken bones caused by falling. Some diseases make bones break easier, so extreme caution should be used when assisting a person with fragile bones. Avoid activities that strain the muscles or bones for long periods of time as these can cause fatigue and falls.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Gevorg A. Poghosian, Ph.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.