Bone, Muscle, & Joint Injuries “Part 3 Splinting”
Our previous installments of Bone Muscle & Joint injuries focused on what to look for, now that we have discovered an injury we have some basic techniques to cover on “how to treat them” while you await an ambulance or while you are on rout to a medical facility. Always remember that “you may not have to move a patient” waiting for a Medical Professional may help minimize further injury.
“A splint is a device used for support or immobilization of a limb or injured body part. It can be used in multiple situations, including temporary immobilization of potentially broken bones or damaged joints and support for joints during activity.”
- – Soft Splints – Blankets / Towels / Pillows / Bandages
- – Hard Splints – Wood / Tree Branch / Newspaper / Cardboard
- – Anatomical Splints – Use another marching body part for support
- – Slings – Upper limbs only, Uses the neck to support the arms weight.
How to apply a Splint:
1) Determine which type of “Splint” will help the casualty get the most comfort out of the least amount of movement of the injured body part. “Soft / Hard / Anatomical / Sling” Use what you have available. Your splinting material should be able to cover the injury both above and below with plenty of room to secure it in place.
2) Check for skin temperature & color below the injured area before and after splinting “check circulation“. The area should be warm, indicating good circulation. If the area is cold before splinting, “Seek Medical Attention Quickly“. If the are was warm before splinting and cold afterwards, the splint may be too tight. “Loosen it gently”
3) When possible, splint the injured part in the position in which it was found. “Movement may increase pain and lead to long term damage or side effects“. Always consult a medical professional before moving a damaged body part.
4) For bone and joint injuries, immobilize the injury “above & below” the site of the injury. by using bandages / rope / belts to secure the splinting material in place.
How to help with a Bone, Muscle & Joint Injury:
1) Check the area, once the area is safe, Check the person and ensure the persons ABC’s are present “Airway / Breathing / Circulation“ REMEMBER – Wear gloves if available to avoid bodily fluids.
2) Call 911 and get an AED if you are alone, you suspect a Head / Neck or Spine injury, there is a motor vehicle collision, dangerous environment or the injured persons life could be at risk. “If you expect the ambulance to arrive shortly, keep the person still and do not splint the injury. If the ambulance can be delayed “Immobilize the injury in the position found” NEVER straighten a broken bone without medical assistance and expertise”
3) Care for the Bone Muscle & Joint Injury by:
Always follow recommendations by your Emergency Response professionals and 911 Dispatch personnel. “Never endanger yourself or the victim, you may “not” need to move or roll the injured person“
- – If there are other life threatening injuries, treat those first as quickly as possible with as little movement to the injured person.
- a) Treat the injury using the “R.I.C.E” method
- b) Cool the injured area for 20 minutes of every hour for the first 24 to 48 hours. If you use ice, put some sort of thin cloth or pad between it and the bare skin to avoid freezing the skin.
- c) Elevate the injured are above the level of the heart if possible. “Often a position of comfort is more than enough to help alleviate pain and swelling“
We never know what can happen, its always good to be prepared and have the knowledge we need to help those who need it.
“This material is for information purposes only and is taken from The Canadian Red Cross / Alberta Heart & Stroke Foundation & Alberta Health Services. This information should not be used in place of medical, Technical advice, instructor, and/or treatment. If you have questions, speak to your local Physician or Safety Training Facility.”
Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!