With advancements in medical technology and science, we have new innovations around us today. Medical splints have been around for ages but have become far more advanced with time to help in the rehabilitation process and support your bones.
A splint is basically a supportive device that can be used to protect an injury resulting from a broken bone or a fracture. A splint is usually wrapped over the broken bone or fracture to keep it still so that you can readily recover from the pain and initiate the healing process.
Some splints happen to be flexible in nature, while others are seemingly rigid and come equipped with all the basic features. The splint you get or the type of splint you need for your injury will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the injury you have suffered and the area of the bone that needs repair and treatment.
In this article, we mention everything you need to know about medical splints and how they can help improve the recovery process for you in the long run. Stay with us as we delve deeper into the subject manner and take you through the process.
Splints and Casts
When most people hear of splints, they think of them to be the same as casts. Both casts and splints are orthopedic devices, which can not only support injured ligaments but also assist in the recovery process.
Splints help keep your tendons, bones, and tissues in place and make sure everything is in order for the future. Both splints and casts happen to come with solid wraps but have a few minute differences, which separate them from each other.
Casts are custom-made support equipment that can help keep your arms and legs safe. Casts are made of fiberglass or plaster and can be placed or removed with support from a doctor or practitioner. Also casts form solid protection around the exterior of the damaged part of your body and can be wrapped around. Casts are rigid in nature and aren’t adjustable.
Splints, on the contrary, are used to protect a broken bone. They help form an extra layer of protection to help initiate the healing process and to help both the broken ends of the bone to follow the body’s lead and merge together. Splints are also known as half casts because they do the same job without providing as much support as a cast. Splints aren’t used to wrap around the entire part of the damaged area, as they are flexible in nature.
Applications of Splints
Splints are used across multiple injuries and recovery processes. It can also be used together with a cast to increase the pace of recovery and ensure positive results. Splints can be used before a cast as well, to make sure that swelling is reduced before the cast is put on.
Injuries that are usually treated using a splint include:
- Broken bones across the body
- Carpal tunnel syndromes or CTS
- Dislocated bones
- And, tendon ruptures
Ways to Look After a Splint
You should take immediate action once you see the common signs of shin splints. After you have the splint in place, you should look after it and not remove it before approval from your doctor. Your doctors will let you know when you can put additional weight on the splint.
Besides just following what your doctors tell you to do, you can take care of your splints in the following ways:
- Place the area with the splint on a pillow for the 3 days after you get a splint. The basic idea is to help reduce the swelling. You can easily elevate your legs or your arms above the heart’s level through a pillow. The shins, legs and arms are usually the most common areas for splints.
- Ice your damaged limb for at least 10 to 20 minutes regularly. You can set a timer to remind you of icing, once every 2 hours. Continue this process for 3 days at least to reduce swelling.
- Do not get your splint wet, as that can reduce efficiency.
- If you have a splint on your foot, you should remember to regularly wiggle your toes to make sure that blood flow continues through the limb.
- Be in constant contact with your doctors for tips on how to improve muscle strength for the time you are on a splint.
- Do not stick other items within your splint as that can reduce efficiency and damage the recovery process.
- If you feel itchiness under the splint and cannot remove it yet, try blowing cool air from a blower or a fan. This may calm things down a bit.
- Always remember to not use lotions or oils near or under your splint.
- If your splint feels irritating, you should remember to tap the edges with tape. This will help but do talk to your doctor first.
- Splints are easy to remove, but if you cannot, remember to cover them with a plastic sheet as you shower.
When to Contact Your Doctor
You should contact your doctor in the following situations to avoid problems with your splints and to minimize discrepancies:
- Call your doctor when you feel a burning sensation or stinging near the injury.
- The pain worsens or infuriates further
- Damaged splint, which is broken from the edges.
- Drainage of pus or blood from the splint
- Difficulty moving the toes or your fingers
- If you can feel discoloration around the surface of your splint
- Also if you develop a fever after you put your splint on
- If your splint feels too tight
Wearing a splint can be a unique experience, which is why knowing all there is to know about it can help. If you have compartment syndrome, you might find the splint to be pretty invasive and rigid. Always keep tabs on how the skin around the splint feels and how you feel generally. Any untoward feeling that borders on the list above should be reported to your doctor.