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What is a Splint?

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A splint is a device used to support and protect a broken bone or injury. The splint keeps the injured part of the body secure to ease any pain and promote recovery. The type of splint a person needs depends on the type of injury they have sustained. Injuries that are treated with splints include:

  • Broken bones

  • Sprains

  • Dislocated bones

  • Strains

  • Tendon ruptures

When a natural or unnatural emergency arises, you or a loved one might experience an unfortunate injury. Staying calm and knowing how to care for the injury will prevent further damage. Before applying a splint, checking the CSM (Color, Sensation, Movement) lets you assess the severity to an extent.

  • Color: Watch for reddening or paling of the injured area. If fingers or toes are white, blood flow is restricted. Immediately loosen or remove splint if blood flow is restricted.

  • Sensation: Check the injured person’s ability to feel sensations for nerve damage. Have them close their eyes and touch each toe or finger of the impacted limb. Use firm pressure and tell them to tell you when you’re touching them.

  • Movement: The extremity should be resting in a position where the limb is secure but not unable to move. If a person loses the ability to move a limb once a splint is applied, it could mean the splint is too tight. Loosen or remove the splint.

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How to Use:

Items you can use to create a makeshift splint include:

  • Rolled-up newspapers or magazines

  • A sturdy plank, stick, or cardboard

  • Rolled-up towels or blankets

  • Bandana, rope, shoelaces, belts, and strips of cloth to fasten the splint in place

Follow these steps when applying a splint:

  1. Before placing the splint, attend to any bleeding and put pressure on the wound.

  2. Apply necessary padding, bandage, and cloth to the injured limb.

  3. Carefully place the splint so that it rests on the joint above and the joint below the injury. For example, if you need to splint a forearm, place the sturdy support object under the forearm. Then tie that material to the arm just below the wrist and above the elbow.

  4. After applying the splint, check every few minutes for signs of restricted blood circulation. If the splinted limb appears pale or swollen, or causes more pain, loosen the splint. If loosening doesn’t help, then remove the splint entirely.

  5. Seek medical attention as soon as possible, when available.

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