A splint is a device that immobilizes part of the casualty's body. Applying a splint
to the injury helps to relieve pain and prevent further damage by minimizing movement.
Splints are used to immobilize fractured bones, but they are also used to immobilize
limbs with dislocations, sprains, and serious soft tissue injury. A splint may be a special
device or a splint may be improvised. Some types of splints are briefly discussed
a. Traction Splint. A traction splint holds a fracture or dislocation of an
extremity (usually a fracture of the femur) immobile and provides a steady pull (traction)
to the extremity. The traction acts to align the fractured bone and protect the tissues
surrounding the fracture site.
b. Pneumatic Splint. A pneumatic (air) splint is a cylinder made of double-
walled, heavy-duty, clear plastic. The injured limb is placed inside the cylinder; then the
cylinder is inflated to make the splint rigid. The splint immobilizes the fracture and
provides pressure to the injured limb that helps control external and internal bleeding.
c. Wire Ladder Splint. A wire ladder splint is made of strong, lightweight wire
that can be bent by hand to fit various shapes.
d. SAM Splint. The SAM (universal) splint consists of a sheet of aluminum with
a foam covering. The splint can be bent by hand to fit various shapes.
e. Anatomical Splint. An anatomical splint exists when one part of the
casualty's body is used to immobilize an injured part of the body. For example, a
casualty's injured leg can be tied (secured) to his uninjured leg.
f. Improvised Splint. An improvised splint is made of one or more rigid objects
that are secured to the injured limb with available materials. Boards, poles, tree limbs,
rolled newspaper, and unloaded rifles are examples of materials that can be used as
rigid objects. Bandages, strips of cloth torn from a shirt, and belts are some examples
of securing materials.
Section III. RELATED INJURIES
1-11. DISLOCATIONS, SPRAINS, AND STRAINS
Dislocations, sprains, and strains are injuries to the musculoskeletal system.
Although these injuries may not involve actual fractures, the causes, effects, and
treatment of these injuries are closely related to those of fractures. Methods used to
immobilize fractures are also used to immobilize dislocations and sprains.