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Splinting - Topic 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, 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.

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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 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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 19, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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