Splint, Types, Uses, Indications, Contraindications

Splint is defined as a rigid or flexible device that maintains in position a displaced or movable part; also used to keep in place and protect an injured part or as a rigid or flexible material used to protect, immobilize, or restrict motion in a part. [rx] Splints can be used for injuries that are not severe enough to immobilize the entire injured structure of the body. For instance, a splint can be used for certain fractures, soft tissue sprains, tendon injuries, or injuries awaiting orthopedic treatment. A splint may be static, not allowing motion, or dynamic, allowing controlled motion. Splints can also be used to relieve pain in damaged joints. Splints are quick and easy to apply and do not require a plastering technique. Splints are often made out of some kind of flexible material and a firm pole-like structure for stability.

Types of Splint

Illustration of an Ankle Stirrup Splint
  • Ankle stirrup – Used for the ankles.[rx]
  • Finger splints – Used for the fingers. A “mallet” or baseball finger is a rupture of the extensor tendon and sometimes including a fracture. While surgery may be necessary such an injury may heal if placed in a finger splint.[rx]
  • Nasal splint[rx]
  • Posterior lower leg
  • Posterior full leg
  • Posterior elbow
  • 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.[rx]
  • Thumb spica – Used for the thumb.[rx]
  • Ulnar gutter – Used for the forearm to the palm.[rx]
  • Volar wrist splint – Used for the wrist.[rx]
  • Wrist/arm splint – Used for the wrist or arm.

Uses/ Indications of  Splint

Capener finger splint
  • 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 department (ED) physicians to stabilize fractures or sprains until follow-up appointment with an orthopedist.
  • A wrist splint decreases recovery time by immobilizing, stabilizing, and protecting a healing injury.
  • Boxer’s Fracture
  • Radial nerve palsy at the wrist level
  • Median nerve palsy at the wrist level
  • Ulnar nerve palsy
  • Other pathological conditions of the fingers
  • Wrist Sprain
  • Wrist Strain
  • Soft Tissue Injury
  • Distal Radial Fracture
  • Distal Ulnar Fracture
  • Wrist Contracture Yaya
  • General Wrist Pain
  • Scaphoid Fracture
  • Lunate Fracture
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • First Metacarpal Fracture
  • Injury to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament of the Thumb
  • De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
  • Hamate Fracture
  • Sprained or strained wrist
  • Wrist tendonitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Post-cast removal
  • Broken wrists (depending on the type and degree)
  • The sprained wrist brace can be easily put on, adjusted, and removed thanks to a lace-up closure system.
  • Graduated extension from the spastic clenched fingers and wrist
  • Corrects and controls radial or ulnar deviation
  • Controls wrist drop
  • Helps restrict arthritic changes and deformity associated with neuromuscular impairment
  • Positions the flaccid hand and wrist
  • Maintains skin integrity by absorbing moisture, allowing air flow and preventing skin maceration on palmer surface
  • Allows for increased hygiene care by permitting nail care and cleaning of palmer surface

Contra-Indications of Splint

  • The patient has circulatory problems
  • Pressure areas or skin irritations appear
  • The patient has persistent pain within the wrist, fingers, and hand
  • A patient has grown edema, redness or blisters
  • The splint can be adjusted and re-adjustable to the individual patient without using heat or tools
  • The splint could be graduated up to increase finger and wrist extension
  • The splint is lightweight and sturdy
  • The splint comes with one or two covers that may be laundered
  • The splint cover consists of durable terrycloth that absorbs moisture and prevents skin maceration
  • The splint cover has soft foam that covers the entire frame of the splint to ensure that any edges that touch the individual are padded to avoid pressure areas on the patient’s body
  • The splint straps are foam lined for comfort and also to prevent pressure areas
  • The splint straps close with velcro – but no velcro touches the patient’s skin
  • The splint is soft with rounded padded edges to reduce self-injury


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Potential Risks & Precautions

  • Check your skin every day for redness, blisters, discoloration, soreness, or swelling.  Call your doctors and discontinue use of your orthosis immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

Never attempt to adjust, repair, or otherwise modify your orthosis

  • The components of this device have been carefully chosen, assembled, adjusted, and secured according to your physician’s prescription and the manufacturers’ specifications.  In order to maintain the safety and effectiveness of your device, adjustments may only be made by a qualified medical professional.



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