Short Arm Splint (Emergency Medicine)

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  • Temporary immobilization for fractures of the carpal bones, and small non-displaced fractures of the distal radius and ulna
  • Infection
  • Impending compartment syndrome
  • Diabetic or other neuropathy
  • Scaphoid (navicular fractures) are usually managed with a thumb spica splint
  • Slightly warm (not over 24°C) water and bucket
  • Stockinette (optional)
  • Soft cotton bandage / undersplint material (e.g., Webril padding), 3- or 4-inch width
  • Plaster bandages, 3- or 4-inch width
  • Elastic bandages (Ace)
  • Adhesive tape
  • The radius and ulna articulate distally with the carpal bones to form the wrist.
    • The proximal carpal bones (medial to lateral) are the pisiform, triquetral, lunate and scaphoid.
    • The distal carpal bones (medial to lateral) are the hamate, capitate, trapezoid, and trapezium.

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The full content of this section includes:
  • Step-by-step text instructions for performing the procedure
  • Clinical pearls providing practical clinical tips from medical experts
  • Patient safety guidelines consistent with Joint Commission and OHSA standards
  • Links to medical evidence and related procedures

  • Post-splinting radiography to confirm that reduction was achieved and maintained.
  • Neurovascular examination.
  • Instruct the patient to keep the splint clean and dry.
  • The extremity should remain elevated for the first 2-3 days.
  • Loosen the elastic bandage if neurovascular symptoms arise.
  • Reevaluate if increased pain or burning develops.
  • Plaster burn
  • Pressure sores
  • Nerve palsy
  • Vascular compromise
  • Splint dermatitis
  • Permanent joint stiffness
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