A splint is a device used for holding a part of the body stable to decrease pain and prevent further injury.
The purpose of a splint is to hold still and 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.
Splints can be used for many different injuries. Any time there is a broken bone, stabilizing the area is important.
Do not change the position of, or realign, an injured body part. Be careful when you place a splint to avoid causing more injuries. Be sure to pad the splint well to avoid putting extra pressure on the injured limb.
If the injury is more painful after placing the splint, remove the splint and seek medical assistance immediately.
If an injury occurs while in a remote area, call for emergency medical assistance as soon as possible. In the meantime, give first aid to the patient.
The following require immediate medical help:
If any of these situations occur and 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.
Safety is the best way to avoid broken bones caused by falling. Some diseases make bones break easier, so use caution when assisting a person with fragile bones.
Avoid activities that strain the muscles or bones for long periods as these can cause fatigue and falls. Always use protective gear, such as proper footwear, pads, braces, and helmets.
Splint - instructions
Chudnofsky CR, Byers SE. Splinting techniques. In: Roberts JR, Hedges JR, eds. Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2009:chap 50.
Kassel MR, Gianotti A. Splints and slings. In: Auerbach PS, ed. Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2011:chap 19.
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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