What Is a Splint?
A splint is
a piece of medical equipment used to keep an injured body part from moving and
to protect it from any further damage.
A splint is
often used to stabilize a broken bone while the injured person is taken to the
hospital for more advanced treatment. It can also be used if you have a severe
strain or sprain in one of your limbs. Placed properly, a splint will help ease
the pain of an injury by making sure that the wounded area does not move.
If you or a
loved one is injured at home or during an activity, such as hiking, you can
create a temporary splint from materials around you.
What You Will Need to Make
thing you will need to make a splint is something rigid (hard to bend) in order
to stabilize the fracture. This could be a rolled-up newspaper, a heavy stick,
a board or plank, or a rolled-up towel. If you are using something with sharp
edges or something that might cause splinters, such as a stick or board, be
sure to pad it by wrapping it in cloth.
also need something to fasten the splint in place. Shoelaces, belts, ropes, and
strips of cloth will work. Medical tape can also be used if you have it. Try
not to place commercial tape, such as duct tape, directly against a person’s
How to Apply a Splint
any bleeding before you attempt to place the splint. You can stop the bleeding
by putting pressure directly on the wound. Then, apply a bandage, a square of
gauze, or a piece of cloth. Do not try to move the body part that needs to be
splinted — you may accidentally cause more damage.
splint so that it rests on the joint above the injury and the joint below it.
For example, if you are splinting a forearm, place the rigid support item under
the forearm. Then, tie or tape it to the arm just below the wrist and above the
placing ties directly over the injured area. You should fasten the splint
tightly enough to hold the body part still, but not so tightly that the ties
will cut off the person’s circulation.
splint is applied, you should check the areas around it every few minutes for
signs of decreased blood circulation. If the extremities begin to appear pale,
swollen, or tinged with blue, loosen the ties that are holding the splint.
injured person complains that the splint is causing pain, try loosening the
ties a little. Then, check that no ties were placed directly over an injury. If
these measures do not help and the person is still feeling pain from the
splint, you should remove it.
person may be suffering from shock if they are feeling faint or taking only
short, rapid breaths. In this case, try to lay the person down without
affecting the injured body part. If possible, you should elevate their legs and
position their head slightly below heart level.
have applied the splint and the injured body part is no longer able to move,
call 911 or take your loved one to the nearest urgent care clinic or emergency
room for a checkup and further treatment.
Splinting the Hand
The hand is
an especially difficult area to immobilize. Here are some tips for making your
own hand splint.
any open wounds and control any bleeding. Then, place a wad of cloth in the
palm of the injured person’s hand. A washcloth, a ball of socks, or a tennis
ball can work well. Ask the person to close their fingers loosely around the
person’s fingers are closed around the object, loosely place padding between
their fingers. Next, use a large piece of cloth or gauze to wrap the whole hand
from the fingertips to the wrist. The cloth should go across the hand, from the
thumb to the pinkie.
secure the cloth with tape or ties. Make sure to leave the fingertips
uncovered. This will allow you to check for signs of poor circulation.
hand splint is on, seek medical attention at an emergency room or urgent care
center as soon as possible.