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By immobilizing the injury site, a splint relieves pain and allows the injury to heal in proper alignment. It also minimizes possible complications, such as excessive bleeding into tissue, restricted blood flow caused by bone pressing against vessels, and possible paralysis from an unstable spinal cord injury.
In case of multiple serious injuries, a splint or spin board allows caregivers to move the patient without risking further damage to bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and skin.
A splint can be applied to immobilize a simple or compound fracture, a dislocation, or a subluxation. During an emergency, apply a splint to a suspected fracture are contraindicated for upper extremity injuries and open fractures.
The three different Types of Splints commonly are used to help support injured or weakened limbs or to help correct deformities.
Rigid Splint - A rigid splint is used to immobilize a fracture or dislocation in an extremity. Ideally, two people should apply a rigid splint to an extremity.
Traction Splint - A traction splint immobilizes a fracture and exerts a longitudinal pull that reduces muscle spasms, pain, and arterial and neural damage. Used primarily for femoral fractures, a traction splint also may be applies for a fractured hip or tibia. Two trained people should apply a traction splint.
Spine Boards - Used for a suspected small fracture, a spine board is a rigid splint that supports the injured person's entire body. Three people should apply a spine board.