Splinting

Topic Overview

Splinting immobilizes a limb that may be broken or severely sprained to prevent further injury and ease pain until you can see a health professional. Splinting may also be helpful after a snakebite while you wait for help to arrive. There are two ways to immobilize a limb: tie the injured limb to a stiff object, or fasten it to some other part of the body.

For the first method, tie rolled-up newspapers or magazines, a stick, a cane, or anything that is stiff to the injured limb, using a rope, a belt, or anything else that will work. Do not tie too tightly.

Position the splint so the injured limb cannot bend. A general rule is to splint from a joint above the injury to a joint below it. For example, splint a broken forearm from above the elbow to below the wrist.

For the second method, tape a broken finger to the one next to it, or immobilize an arm by tying it across the chest. Again, do not tie too tightly.

These splinting methods are for short-term, emergency use only. They are not substitutes for proper medical evaluation and care. Your doctor will provide you with a splint or cast that is appropriate for the type of injury you have.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
Last Revised July 19, 2012

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