How to make a sling for an injured arm

Updated February 21, 2017

Step 1

Splint the injury (see related eHows on splinting arm fractures).

Step 2

Put a wad of clothing, or some other soft material, into the injured person's hand to maintain it in a functional position.

Step 3

Gather at least two triangular bandages.

Step 4

Orient one of the bandages so that the point opposite the long side of the triangle is pointing toward the same side of the injured person as the injured arm is on.

Step 5

Keeping the elbow flexed at 90 degrees, position the arm so that the forearm is at a 30-degree angle to the ground, with the hand higher than the elbow.

Step 6

Cradle the arm into the triangular bandage.

Step 7

Pull the half of the bandage that is furthest from the injured person up and over the same side of the neck as the injury.

Step 8

Pull the half of the bandage that is closer to the injured person up and over the opposite side of the neck from the injury.

Step 9

Tie the two ends of the bandage together behind the neck.

Step 10

Swathe the arm by first folding the other triangular bandage over several times: Start by folding the point opposite the long side so that it touches the long side.

Step 11

Repeat folding in this direction until you have a long piece of cloth 3-4 inches wide.

Step 12

Pull the bandage around the person: under the armpit opposite the injured arm on one side, over the injured arm on the other side. The bandage should be parallel to the ground.

Step 13

Tie the ends of the bandage together.

Step 14

Monitor the fingers of the injured arm regularly for circulation, sensation and motion.


  • You can use folded-over bandannas instead of triangular bandages. Or you could cut a bandanna in two, making two triangular bandages.
  • Make sure the elbow is contained in the sling; otherwise the arm may slide out of the sling. To do this, you may need to safety-pin the dangling elbow-end of the bandage to the rest of the sling.
  • If, however, leaving the elbow free is less painful for the injured person, then leave it free.
  • If you only have one triangular bandage, you can use some other material - a pack strap, webbing, rope or clothing, for example - to swathe.
  • If you have more than two triangular bandages, you can use them to further secure the arm in place.


  • Be careful not to cover the fingers. They need to be accessible so that you can regularly check circulation, sensation and motion.
  • Don't tie the sling too tight. This could cut off circulation.
  • If sensation in the pinkie and ring finger diminishes, you may need to pad the elbow to relieve pressure on the nerves. Do so carefully, minimizing movement.
  • This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.
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