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A splint is a device used for support or immobilization of a limb or the spine.

It can be used in
multiple situations, including temporary immobilization of potentially broken bones or damaged joints
and support for joints during activity.


By the emergency medical services or by volunteer first responders, to temporarily

immobilize a fractured limb before transportation;

By allied health professionals such as occupational

therapists, physiotherapists and orthotists, to immobilize an articulation (e.g. the knee) that can
be freed while not standing (e.g. during sleep);

By athletic trainers to immobilize an injured bone or joint to facilitate safer transportation of

the injured person; or

By emergency room (ER) physicians to stabilize fractures or sprains until follow-up

appointment with an orthopedist.

In most ERs, a fiberglass splinting material, called Orthoglass, is commonly used for several

It is clean, unlike most plaster splinting materials.

It comes in rolls and can be easily measured and cut according to the patient's dimensions.

It comes pre-padded, which saves time and energy trying to roll out padding.

It dries in about 20 minutes, and there are no risks for burns involved.

Commonly used splints[edit]

Illustration of an Ankle Stirrup Splint

Sugar Tong - Used for the forearm or wrist. They are named "sugar-tong" due to their long,
U-shaped characteristics, similar to a type of utensil used to pick up sugar cubes

Ulnar Gutter - Used for the forearm to the palm

Volar Wrist Splint - Used for the wrist

Thumb Spica - Used for the thumb

Posterior Lower Leg

Posterior Full Leg

Posterior Elbow

Finger Splints - Used for the fingers

Ankle Stirrup - Used for the ankles

Wrist/arm splint - Used for the wrist or arm

Nasal splint

Assisted cough technique[edit]

Commonly used after surgery to provide support to an incised area and decrease pain on coughing.
While the patient attempts to cough the area is braced by the patient (or assistant) using pillow,
folded blanket or extended hand placed over the incision.

Gentle pressure is applied for bracing only during the attempt to cough.

Different forms of the splint have been used sparingly throughout history; however, the splint gained
great popularity as a medical device during the French and Indian War[citation needed]. Generally consisting
of two small wooden planks, the splint was commonly tied around the fracture with rope, cloth, or
even rawhide during frontier times in American history. To this day, the splint is commonly used to
secure small fractures and breaks. (See, for example, Henry Gassett Davis.)