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Arm sling instructions

Updated April 17, 2017

Arm slings are given to patients with arm or shoulder injuries, or to wear following surgery. Arm slings help alleviate the pain caused in the upper arm and shoulder due to gravity pulling down the weight of the arm. A wide variety of arm slings are on the market; some made from a simple fabric and some that include a foam block that fits between your torso and your arm to eliminate rotation of the shoulder.

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  1. Unfasten the Velcro tab of the neck strap and the Velcro or metal clip that wraps around the waist. Lay the sling on a flat surface at about waist-height, making sure the fabric of the sling is as flat as you can make it, and the straps are not twisted or attached to any other part of the sling.

  2. Place your elbow deep into the fabric pocket of the sling, leaving an equal amount of sling material on each side of your arm for support. Fold the sides of the sling up over your injured arm and hold your arm close to your body to keep it in place.

  3. Place the strap across your back and over the opposite shoulder. Make sure the pad on the shoulder strap is turned so the padding is against your body and ensure the strap is not twisted. Tuck the Velcro end of the strap through the metal loops on the fabric part of the sling and then pull the Velcro back up, attaching it to the strap. Attach the Velcro high enough on the strap so your arm is parallel to the floor when you release the strap and stand upright.

  4. Wrap the second strap around your waist and clip the metal clasp through the metal ring. Some arm slings have Velcro on this strap as well, so if you have this type, feed the Velcro tab through the metal ring and wrap the end of the strap around to attach it back onto the strap, making sure the strap fits snugly around your waist.

  5. Tip

    Make sure your wrist is supported in the sling, unless told otherwise by your doctor. The sling should hold the weight of your entire arm to keep the weight from pulling on your upper arm, elbow and shoulder. Remove the sling when showering, unless your doctor tells you to keep it on at all times.


    Don't continue to wear the arm sling if it causes numbness or increased pain in your arm or shoulder. Call your doctor immediately if you experience either of these symptoms.

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About the Author

Based in Dayton, Ohio, Sari Hardyal has been writing fitness, sports, entertainment and health-related articles for more than five years. Hardyal holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communication from Miami University and is pursuing her master's degree in occupational therapy and her doctorate in physical therapy. She is a certified personal trainer with the National Federation of Professional Trainers.

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