A splint is a support device made of hard material that keeps an injured area from
What Are Splints Made of?
A splint can be plastic, metal, plaster, or fiberglass. The material may come pre-made
in a particular size or it may be moldable into a custom shape. Splints can be just
one piece of material or several.
What Do Splints Do?
Splints hold bones and joints in place so they can heal after a fracture (broken
bone), injury, or surgery. Splints also can help with conditions that affect the
joints (such as arthritis)
or muscles (such as palsies, which are weakness or paralysis of a muscle).
When Do Doctors Use Splints Instead of Casts?
Doctors use splints for broken bones if the area around the injury is swollen.
When there's swelling, splints are a better choice than casts
because they are easy to loosen, if needed.
Health care providers usually replace a splint with a cast on a broken bone after
the swelling goes down. The cast will provide more protection while a broken bone
How Should I Care for the Splint?
Usually the splint does not need to be adjusted at home. If the splint seems too
tight or is uncomfortable or painful, call your health care provider.
Do not get the splint wet. A wet splint might not support the bone, and also can
cause a skin rash or irritation.
Do not stick objects or pour lotions or powders inside the splint.
Don't scratch the skin inside the splint.
Check the skin at the edges of the splint for blisters, sores, or redness.
Bathing With a Splint
If your doctor told you to keep the splint on during bathing, make sure it doesn't
To keep the splint dry during bathing:
Baths are better than showers because it is easier to keep the splint dry in a
Before the bath, cover the splint with a plastic bag. Seal the top with a rubber
Keep it completely out of the water by propping it up on the side of the tub.
If the splint gets splashed, gently blow air into it from a hair dryer on the
cool or fan-only setting. If some of the splint goes under water or gets very wet,
call your doctor.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Call your doctor if:
You have pain that gets worse.
Your fingers or toes are swollen, changing colors, or feel numb.
The splint feels too tight or too loose.
The splint is damaged.
Take care of the splint so it stays in good condition and does not lead to irritation.
Soon, you'll be back to doing all your usual activities.