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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
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
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
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