Wrist splints, or braces, are used to immobilise the wrist in cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, gout or minor hairline fractures or other injuries where a cast is unnecessary. Applying the splint or brace incorrectly can cause more damage to the wrist and arm that you are attempting to heal. Immobilising an injury before getting to medical help might just be the key to speeding up recovery time. You never know when knowing how to properly apply a wrist splint will come in handy.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Splint or brace kit with plastic brace, flexible long bandage,sling
Apply a layer of gauze padding around the arm from the hand of the patient to his elbow. This will keep the immobilising sleeve from rubbing against the skin.
Place the immobilising sleeve around the gauze, making sure that it covers from the middle of the hand to at least 4 inches below the wrist.
Wrap the flexible bandage around the sleeve that is immobilising the wrist. Begin wrapping the bandage on the palm side of the hand.
Hold the bandage in place with your fingers and wrap the bandage around the hand twice. Move up the forearm by overlapping the edge of the last turn about ¼ of an inch with each turn of the bandage.
Fasten the bandage in place with the metal clips. Place a clip on the bandage end on the hand. Bury the end of the clip on one side of the first turn you made of the bandage. Pull the clip across as far as it will go and press gently to fasten in place. Do the same in the middle of the bandage and at the end. The bandage should be securely holding the brace in place.
Lay the wide part of the sling on a flat surface near where the patient is. Have the patient place his arm in the centre of the sling.
Bring the two ends of the sling up to the neck. Take the end that is under the arm and bring it straight up and behind the neck without crossing over the body. Do the same with the other end.
Tie both ends together behind the neck. Make the knot sturdy but not too tight. Check that the widest part of the sling is holding the bottom of the arm that will support the arm’s weight.
Ask the patient to wiggle his fingers. Check the splint every 15 minutes for the first couple of hours to ensure that the fingers are not blue or feel cold. If the patient cannot wiggle his fingers or they turn cold or blue this means the bandage is too tight and should be redone immediately.
Tips and warnings
- Have extra bandage and sling on hand to use when you wash the one the patient is wearing.
- Never immobilise the wrist unless told to by a medical professional.
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