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Splinting

Overview

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.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: March 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine