During an injury, a thorough assessment of the injured extremity is required to decide whether casting/splinting is needed. These include the assessment of the skin, neurovascular status, soft tissues, and bone structures. Once the need for immobilization has been ascertained, the doctor will decide whether to apply a splint or a cast.
Splinting involves support for the injured extremity by using elastic bandage and splints. Splints are faster and easier to apply than casting. Splints are also easily removed which ease the process of inspection and monitor the injured area. Splints are often preferred tool for immobilization in the acute care setting. During emergency situations, splints are also utilized because it is much faster than casting. Temporarily splinting in an emergency setting can prevent fatal results.
Disadvantages of splinting include lack of patient compliance and increased motion at the injury site.
The chances are you have seen someone with a cast on their arm
or foot. Casting is a very common way to immobilize the injured
extremities. Casting involves application of plaster or fiberglass.
Compare to splints, casts provide superior immobilization, but
they are more difficult to apply and less forgiving during the acute
inflammatory stage. Casts also has a higher risk of complications
which include compartment syndrome, thermal injuries, pressure
sores, skin infection, and joint stiffness. It is important to educate
patients with splint/cast information so they can avoid obstructing
the healing process.
The below are situations where splint/casting can be beneficial
Severe soft tissue injuries
Reduced joint dislocations
Arthritis, tendinopathy, tenosynovitis
Deep lacerations repairs across joints
During a visit to the doctor’s office, the doctor will carefully inspect the involved extremity before splint or cast application. The patient’s clothing will also be covered with sheets to protect it and the surrounding area from being soiled by water and plaster or fiberglass.
The ability to properly apply casts and splints is a technical skill easily mastered with practice and an understanding of basic principles. Dr. Paul has extensive experience in casting and splinting. If you suffered an injury that require the immobilization of an extremity, Dr. Paul’s Clinic offer immediate services without an appointment, thus getting your cast/splint up and running as soon as possible.