The word “splint” or “splinting” can bring to mind many different things. For some, it may be a memory from a childhood injury. For others, it might be an image of an athlete with a wrapped-up knee or arm. Regardless of what you think of when you hear the word “splint,” they serve an important purpose in the medical world.
What Is Splinting?
When you hear splinting or splint, you might think of the rigid support used to immobilize a broken bone. But splints can also be used for other purposes, such as keeping joints in place and relieving pressure on injured tissues.
There are two main types of splinting:
- Rigid splints: These splints are made of hard materials, such as wood or metal, and are used to immobilize bones or joints. They are often used after an injury or surgery.
- Soft splints: These splints are made of softer materials, such as foam or cloth, and can be molded to fit the contours of your body. They are often used to relieve pain or pressure on an injured area.
Splints can be applied by a doctor, nurse, or another trained medical professional, and they can also be bought at most pharmacies or medical supply stores. Before using a splint, cleaning and drying the skin around the injury site is important. The splint should be wrapped snugly but not tightly around the limb or joint.
When Should You Splint?
If you’re wondering when you should splint, the answer is usually whenever you have an injured or weakened joint. This could be due to an injury, arthritis, or other condition.
A splint can help support the joint, so it doesn’t move too much and cause further pain or damage. It can also help stabilize the joint so that it heals in the correct position.
How to Splint
There are a few different splints, but they all serve the same purpose: to support and immobilize a broken bone or injured joint. Here are some general tips for how to apply a splint:
- Ensure the area is clean and dry before applying the splint.
- Place the padded part of the splint over the injured area.
- Wrap the Velcro straps around the limb and secure it.
- Check for circulation by looking for any redness or swelling beyond the injury site. If you see any, loosen the straps and reposition the splint.
- Splints should be worn for at least 48 hours after an injury or as directed by your doctor.
Different Types of Splints
• Soft Splints: These are usually made from foam or other soft materials and are designed to provide support and cushioning for injured or weak joints. Soft splints are often used for conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or trigger finger.
• Hinged Splints: Hinged splints allow for some movement at the joint while still providing support. They are often used for injuries like sprains or fractures.
• Rigid Splints: Rigid splints are made from harder materials like plastic or metal and are designed to immobilize the joint completely. They are often used for more serious injuries like breaks or dislocations.
Pros of Splinting
There are a few key reasons why your doctor may recommend splinting for you:
- To immobilize a joint or bones so they can heal properly
- To protect muscles, tendons, and ligaments from overuse or re-injury
- To provide support to an injured area
- To decrease pain and swelling
If you have a splinting injury, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Once a doctor has evaluated you, they usually recommend that you splint the injured area to stabilize it and allow it to heal properly. This page has provided some basic information on when you should splint and how to do so effectively. If you follow your doctor‘s recommendations and take care of your injury, you should be able to heal quickly and without complications.