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.
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.
Fasten the injured limb to some other part of the body.
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.
Author: Healthwise Staff Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
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