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Wilderness: Splinting (cont.)


Upper Extremity Splinting: Arm, Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist, Finger

  • Using bandages to create a sling works for immobilizing collarbone, shoulder, and upper arm injuries extending down to the elbow. The arm sling is wrapped to the person's body with a large bandage encircling the person's chest.
  • Injury to the forearm and wrist requires a straight supportive splint that secures and aligns both sides of the injury. An open hardback book is a quick and handy, temporary immobilizer.
  • An injured finger can be buddy-taped to the adjacent, unaffected fingers, or it can be splinted with small pieces of wood or cardboard until more sturdy splints can be applied.

Lower Extremity Splinting: Pelvis, Hip, Leg, Knee, Ankle, Foot

  • Pelvis, hip, and femur (upper leg) fractures often completely immobilize the person. Because broken bones of the pelvis and upper leg can cause massive, life-threatening internal bleeding, people with these types of fractures should be evacuated unless splinting and carriage are absolutely necessary. In these cases, the splint should extend to the lower back and down past the knee of the affected side of the extremity.
  • Knee injuries require splints that extend to the hip and down to the ankle. These splints are applied to the back of the leg and buttock.
  • Ankle injuries and foot injuries can be wrapped alone. Use a figure-of-eight pattern: under the foot, over the top of the foot, around the back of the ankle, back over the top of the foot, under the foot, and so on. Splinting supports can also be used along the back and sides of the ankle to prevent excessive movement. The foot should be kept at a right angle in the splint to immobilize the ankle.
  • An injured toe can be buddy-taped to the adjacent, unaffected toes until evaluated by a health care professional.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


MedscapeReference. Volar Splinting.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/31/2016
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Splinting »

In general, splints are applied to decrease movement and provide support and comfort through stabilization of an injury.

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