What are ankle splints?
Splints are primarily used to stabilize injuries to bones until the patient can be evaluated by a consultant, such as an orthopedic surgeon. These are also used to achieve immobilization for primary healing or in the preoperative period. All patients with injuries that are splinted should be referred for an evaluation by a consultant within two to three days.
Ankle splints are applied to minimize movement and provide support and comfort by stabilizing an injury at the ankle joint. Immobilizing the joint reduces pain and helps the injury heal faster.
When are ankle splints used?
An ankle splint is primarily used for:
When should an ankle splint not be used?
There are no absolute contraindications for ankle splinting. The following conditions demand immediate evaluation or intervention by a doctor before splinting is done:
- Complicated fracture
- Open fractures
- Injuries with associated neurovascular compromise
How is ankle splinting done?
There are various types of ankle splints, made from various materials. Generally, a healthcare professional applies ankle splints using different techniques.
During the ankle splinting
The injured limb is completely exposed. A stockinette extends from the toes to the lower calf. Soft padding is applied over the stockinette. The padding should extend two to three cm beyond the overlying plaster on both ends. Plaster of Paris (POP) is applied over the padding. A bandage wrap is applied over the wet plaster. The foot and ankle remain immobile until the splint is dry. The patient may feel some warmth released from the plaster as it dries.
In the case of a simple sprain, the doctor may advise a simple brace with Velcro clips or a bandage wrap to be worn for two to six weeks to immobilize the joint.
After the procedure
It is advised to rest, elevate and ice the injured limb. If the patient experiences weakness, numbness, color change (pale or bluish), increasing pressure or pain, or spreading redness, it is advised to remove the splint and visit the emergency department right away.
The splint must be kept clean and dry. Patients can be tempted to use sticks, pens or hangers to scratch an itch inside the splint. Sticking objects into the splint to scratch an itch can wrinkle the padding and lead to pressure injuries or cause cuts in the skin, which lead to infections. The splint is usually rechecked in 48 hours by the doctor.
What are the complications of ankle splints?
Top When Are Ankle Splints Used Related Articles
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Dislocated Ankle (Ankle Dislocation)Symptoms and signs of a dislocated ankle include pain, swelling, bruising, ankle deformity, and possible numbness and tingling in the foot. Treatment of an ankle dislocation involves putting the ankle bones back in their normal positions, possibly using gentle traction. The blood and nerve supply to the foot will be evaluated and the ankle will be checked for any related fractures. The ankle will be fitted with a splint or a cast.
Foot Health: Causes of Swollen Feet and AnklesSwollen feet and ankles may be associated with conditions like pregnancy, injury, heart failure, kidney disease, liver disease, chronic venous insufficiency, and lymphedema. Treatment may include home remedies, exercise, magnesium, and certain medications.
Shin SplintsShin splints are injuries to the front of the outer leg caused by overuse, and typically happens to runners or aggressive walkers. Shin splint pain can be extreme enough to prevent you from working out. Rest is usually the best treatment for shin splints, and you can also ice the injury and take over-the-couner (OTC) pain medicine to relieve pain.
Sprains and StrainsAn injury to a ligament is called a sprain, and an injury to muscle or tendon is called a strain. Sprains and strains may be caused by repetitive movements or a single stressful incident. Symptoms and signs include pain and swelling. Though treatment depends upon the extent and location of the injury, rest, ice, compression, and elevation are key elements of treatment.
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 Radial Gutter Splint Used For?A radial gutter splint is a type of splint that is used to treat fractures of the index (second) and long (third) fingers. The radius and ulna are the two bones that form the forearm and join with the wrist and fingers. The radial gutter is so-named because these fingers lie on the radial (lateral) side of the hand.
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.