First Aid
Splint
 
What is splint? 
A splint is a supportive device used to keep in place any suspected fracture in one’s arm or leg.

Splint is used to:
  • Provide pain relief of the fractured limb.
  • Support bone ends of the fracture site. Bones ends of the fracture site are very sharp. A splint helps prevent bone protruding through the skin, soft skin and tissue damage, as well as bleeding.
  • Facilitate safe and seamless causality transport.
 What is Splint? 
In emergency cases, anything can be used for splinting, yet there are two types of splints:
  1. Flexible
  2. Rigid 
Rigid Splint: Any rigid object, such as wood or plastic boards, broomstick, book or a rolled-out newspapers, which can be used to splint a fractured arm or leg.
Flexible Splint: Any flexible object, like a pillow or a bed sheet with several folds. This type is used for foot, ankle and joint fractures.

 What are Medical Sling and Bandage?
 A Medical Sling is a piece of cloth used to immobilize the fractured arm to the rigid splint, in 90° of elbow flexion. The sling usually takes the shape of a big triangle. It can be used along with or instead of a rigid splint. If used alone, the sling should be supported with an additional bandage which is actually a folded drape of 5-6 inches width.

General Principles of Splinting: 
Several ways are adopted for splinting, which may seem highly complicated - at first sight - yet they are very simple. Here are some general principles to be applied when splinting as follows:
  • Identify the fracture site.
  • Stop the bleeding using bandages, but avoid pressing on the fractured painful and deformed site.
  • In case of bone fractures where bone ends protrude through the skin, do not push these ends back in place as this will cause inflammation and acute bleeding.
  • Keep the fractured bone (including the joints above and below the fracture site) motionless as indicated hereunder:
    • If the lower-arm is fractured, keep the wrist and elbow joints motionless.
    • If the upper-arm is fractured, keep the shoulder and elbow joints motionless.
    • If the lower-leg is fractured, keep the knee and ankle joints motionless.
    • If the upper-leg is fractured, keep the knee and femoral joints motionless.
  • Splint should be tied firmly to immobilize the fractured limb, then check for blood circulation to ensure the splinting is not too tight. Correct splinting provides pain relief.
  • If the fractured limb is bent with a sharp bone end protruding through the skin, keep it motionless. Splint a limb as you find it to make it as comfortable to the patient as you possible.
  • If an ambulance is called and is on its way, do not splint the fractured limb and wait for the ambulance team to use their specialized medical splints.
Why keep upper and lower joints motionless?
Each bone end in limbs is connected to a joint. Moving that joint dislocates the fractured bone. So, joints should remain motionless to immobilize fractured bones.

 What if the joint itself is broken?
This is the most difficult fracture to handle. Yet, follow the same instructions of applying a splint. Make sure to maintain joints, upper and lower bones as well as the fracture site motionless. For example, the elbow joint connects both upper- and lower-arms. If broken, the joint and bones should be immobilized. Hence, both shoulder and wrist joints should remain motionless. 

In most cases, joint fractures are very painful. In this case, never try to relocate the joint least you should damage the nerves and blood vessels around the joint, let alone the acute pain resulting.
You should have an overactive imagination when dealing with such injury. You can splint the joint as you find it.

What Materials are Needed for Splinting?
You will need:
  • A splint (rigid or flexible).
  • A thick bandage to apply under the splint for maximum comfort. (Optional).
  • Robe - or the like - to wrap the splint to the fractured limb.
 What if these materials are not available?
No worries. You can use the patient’s body as a splint as follows:
  • You can tie the fractured arm to the patient's body using a dressing.
  • You can tie the fractured leg to the patient's other leg using a dressing.
  • You can tie the fractured finger to the patient's other fingers using a dressing. 



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