A splint holds and protects a wounded body part from further damage until you get medical help. A splint is a rigid device used to prevent motion of a joint or of the ends of a fractured bone. Splints can be used for many different injuries.
Fractures and sprains both cause swelling, discoloration, and pain. It may be difficult to tell which is the cause (fracture or sprain). If in doubt, threat the problem as a fracture.
Do not attempt to set a broken bone. It’s jagged ends can do great damage to soft tissue. Instead, immobilize the fracture with a splint or by binding it to the body. If the jagged end of a broken bone protrudes through the skin, do not try to push it in. Instead, stop the bleeding – apply clean dressing and immobilize the fracture just as it is. An injured body part should usually be splinted in the position in which it was found.
Find something rigid to use to make the rigid supports of the splint such as sticks, boards, or even rolled up newspapers or a magazine. If none can be found, use a rolled blanket or clothing. An injured body part can also be taped to an uninjured body part in order to prevent it from moving. For example, you can tape an injured finger to the finger next to it to keep it immobile.
Extend the splint beyond the injured area in order to keep it from moving. In general, try to include the joint above and below the injury in the splint.
Secure the splint with ties (belts, cloth strips, neckties, etc.), or tape above and below the injury (make sure the knots are not pressing on the injury). Avoid over-tightening which can cut off the circulation.
Seek professional medical attention.
DO NOT make any attempts to change the position of, or realign, an injured body part. Be careful when you place a split to avoid causing more injuries. Be sure to pad the splint well to avoid putting extra pressure on the injured limb. If the injury is more painful after placing the splint, remove the splint and seek medical assistance immediately.
The following require immediate medical help:
Bone that is sticking through the skin
Loss of feeling (sensation)
Loss of pulse or a feeling of warmth beyond the injured site
If any of these situations occur and medical assistance is not available, and the injured part looks to be abnormally bent, gently replacing the injured part back into its normal position may improve the circulation.
Well rounded survival preparedness includes First-Aid, which if needed during TSHTF, could make the difference in one’s life. Consider attending a first-aid course; there are many adult-ed courses available out there.