- What Is It?
- Used For
- vs. Long Arm Splint
What is a short arm splint?
Short arm splints are short splints that immobilize joints of the hand and wrist or to protect bony and soft tissues in the forearm (between the elbow and wrist). They also extend between the thumb and pointer finger. They heal the fractured bones by keeping the broken ends together and in alignment.
The different types of short arm splints used are as follows:
- Ulnar gutter splints: This type of splint is useful for fractures and severe sprains to the bones of the ring and small fingers. The ulnar gutter splint extends from the upper part of the forearm to the last joint of the fractured finger.
- Radial gutter splints: This type of splint is useful for fractures and sprains to the bones of the middle and pointer fingers.
- Thumb spica splint: This type of splint is useful for thumb fractures, dislocations, and sprains. It is also useful for fractures to the scaphoid (small bone in the wrist).
- Volar/dorsal splints: Splints extend from the middle of the forearm to the distal crease (crease near the top of the palm). These are useful for fractures to the bones of the wrist and index, middle and ring fingers.
- Sugar-tong splints: This type of splint is useful for fractures of the forearm and wrist.
When is a short arm splint used?
Short arm splints are used for several different types of injuries:
- Fractures to the bone close to the wrist
- Fractures to bones in the wrist
- Control of pain and swelling
- After the surgery protection of the forearm or wrist
- Fracture to the bones of the fingers
- Fracture to the scaphoid (a small round bone in the thumb side of the wrist)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: A condition characterized by pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand due to a pinched nerve in the wrist.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sprains and strains of the wrist and hand
What is the difference between a short arm splint and long arm splint?
Long arm splints start from the humerus (a bone in the upper arm) and extend down the arm to the base of the fingers. They are mainly used to heal injuries of the upper arm, particularly of the elbow.
How is a short arm splint applied?
The common procedure for applying all types of splints is as follows:
- First, the physician applies a soft loosely knitted stretch fabric called stockinette.
- Next, the physician applies two to three layers of cotton padding as a protective layer to the skin. Extra layers of padding are applied to the bony area.
- A splinting material can be either strips or rolls. The physician dips the splinting material in water and places it over the padding.
- Lastly, the physician applies an elastic bandage over the splint.
- While still wet, the physician uses palms to mold the splint to the desired shape. Once hardened, the physician checks the pulse.
What to expect after the application of a short arm splint?
- Swelling may exert pressure in the splint for the first 48-72 hours.
- You need to elevate your swollen arm for the first 24-72 hours.
- Gentle movements of the swollen arm prevent stiffness.
- Apply ice to the splints.
- Consult your physician if you experience any of these symptoms around the splints:
- Increased pain
- Numbness or tingliness in your hand
- Burning and stinging
- Excessive swelling below the splint
How long does a short arm splint stay on?
A splint usually stays on for several days to weeks. A splint is usually preferred in case of swelling. Once the swelling resolves, the doctor will remove the splint and apply a cast. Splints need to be adjusted in the first few days if the injury is swollen.
What else do I need to know about short arm splints?
You need to take good care of the splints for proper healing. You should also remember to:
- never insert objects inside the splint. They can stick inside or break off the skin.
- not allow dirt or sand to get inside the splint.
- not apply powder or deodorant inside a splint.
- always keep the splint dry and in place.
Latest Exercise & Fitness News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Is a Short Arm Splint? Related Articles
Ankle Pain (Tendinitis)Ankle pain is commonly due to a sprain or tendinitis. The severity of ankle sprains ranges from mild (which can resolve within 24 hours) to severe (which can require surgical repair). Tendinitis of the ankle can be caused by trauma or inflammation.
Broken BonesBroken bones are a common type of injury. Bones are some of the hardest tissues in the body, but they can break when they are stressed. Osteoporosis and cancer may cause bone fractures. The broken bone needs immediate medical treatment.
Broken FingerThe most common causes of broken fingers are a traumatic injury to the finger or fingers such as playing sports, injury in the workplace, falls, and accidents. Treatment for a broken finger may be as simple as buddy taping the broken finger to the adjacent finger, or if the fracture is more serious, surgery. Fingers are the most commonly injured part of the hand.
Broken FootA broken foot is a common injury. There are 26 bones in the foot, and these bones can be broken (fractured) in a variety of ways. Signs and symptoms of a broken bone in the foot are pain, swelling, redness, bruising, and limping because the person is not able to walk on the affected foot. You can tell if you have a broken foot by medical examination that includes imaging studies. The healing and recovery time for a broken bone in the foot depends upon the type of fracture and the bones broken.
Broken ToeA broken toe is one of the most common fractures among individuals. There are many causes of a broken toe, whether it is the big toe, middle toes, or little toe (pinky). Common symptoms and signs of a broken toe include pain, swelling, stiffness, and bruising. A broken toe can be treated with buddy taping the toe. There are instances where a doctor should be consulted for a broken toe.
First Aid: Bandaging Injuries and Wounds From Head to ToeBandaging a wound like a burn, cut, or scrape requires different techniques depending on which part of the body was hurt. Ace bandages, liquid bandages, bandage wraps, waterproof bandages, elastic bandages, and other types are available to cover and protect your wound from dirt and water.
Torn MeniscusA torn meniscus (knee cartilage) may be caused by suddenly stopping, sharply twisting, or deep squatting or kneeling when lifting heavy weight. Symptoms of a meniscal tear include pain with running or walking long distances, popping when climbing stairs, a giving way sensation, locking, or swelling. Treatment depends upon the severity, location, and underlying disease of the knee joint.
Torn Meniscus PictureThe knee is a joint where the bone of the thigh (femur) meets the shinbone of the leg (tibia). See a picture of Torn Meniscus and learn more about the health topic.
What Are the Benefits of Ankle Taping and Bracing?The concept of prophylactic (preventative) ankle wrapping was introduced more than 60 years ago to prevent or reduce the severity of ankle injuries. Tape or a brace may be applied before practice or a competition. Ankle bracing and taping should be done under the guidance of a sports medicine physician or a training athletic staff.
What Is a Guillotine Ankle Amputation?A guillotine ankle amputation is an open type of amputation that involves surgical cutting of all of the tissue from the skin to bone at the level of the ankle. Because this surgery is performed without closure of skin, it is known as open surgery. A guillotine ankle amputation is performed to treat infection and remove drains from the surgical site. The residual leg (stump) closure or revision is carried out in a second surgical procedure.
What Is a High Ankle-Brachial Index?An ankle-brachial pressure index (ABPI) or ankle-brachial index (ABI) is the ratio of the systolic (upper) blood pressures (BP) of the ankle to the upper arm (brachium). Ankle BP is indicative of arterial disease. Lower ankle BP in the leg suggests blocked blood vessels due to peripheral artery disease (PAD) or atherosclerosis.
What Is Ankle Arthrocentesis?Arthrocentesis (joint aspiration) is a diagnostic procedure where the body’s synovial joint lubrication fluid is drained using a sterile needle and syringe. Ankle arthrocentesis is an important procedure used for diagnosing arthritis and differential diagnosis of inflammatory and noninflammatory arthritis. Arthrocentesis can also be performed therapeutically for pain relief, drainage of fluid or injection of medications.
What Is the Reduction of an Ankle Dislocation?An abnormal separation between the bones of a joint is called a dislocation. When this happens to the ankle joint, it is called an ankle dislocation. Sometimes, a surgeon may need to align the bones back in place through the surgery under general anesthesia to let them heal correctly. This is called reduction.