Accidents are an inevitable part of human life. They happen to everyone, and while some may leave you with barely a scratch, others stay in the form of fractures and sprains. Luckily, you can take care of these injuries with a well-placed splint, which will protect the injured part until fully healed.
Splints limit movement; hence, they’re challenging to wear and maintain, especially if it’s your first time wearing one. Some splints, such as ones for wrists, are readily available in stores. Meanwhile, others are custom-made for patients. Whichever type you have, you must care for it as it does for your injury. Else, your sprain or fracture may worsen or take longer to heal.
If you currently have a splint on, read this guide for tips on what you should and shouldn’t do while wearing one:
- Wear It Often
Doctors usually advise patients to wear their splints as often as needed, especially for severe injuries. It’s pretty troublesome to have it on constantly for the first few days, but this is required to ensure the proper healing of the injury. In some cases, you can remove your splint at any time. Otherwise, only remove the splint if your doctor allows you.
Some splints are casts, which can be difficult to remove without professional help. When you have a splint like this, always check if it’s beginning to get loose. This often happens if you had the cast while the injury was swollen, and you can ask your doctor to adjust the tightness. If you have removable splints, like ones that can be used in walking boots, see to it that it’s snug enough but not too tight that it’s already constricting your blood flow.
Depending on your injury or the doctor’s advice, you may or may not need to wear your splint at night. But as your sprain or fracture is still healing, it’s best to keep it on every morning.
- Wash It Daily
While injured, your splint becomes a part of you in a way, and it also needs regular cleaning. Keeping it on without washing will attract bacteria to the area, which is dangerous if you have wounds near the injury.
Fortunately, washing a splint is pretty straightforward. Use a cloth dampened with lukewarm water and soap to wipe it clean. Be careful not to introduce moisture to the insides of non-waterproof splints, like casts. If the interior does get wet, contact your doctor for help. You can dry a washed splint under sunlight, a fan, or a hairdryer set on cool. As for a plastic, nylon, or neoprene splint, you can use mild soap and cold water, then air-dry or leave it under the sun.
It would be best to wash your splint daily, as you would your own body. This is a way to avoid bacteria growth and foul odor. If it starts to smell even after cleaning, you can apply rubbing alcohol to the area and let it dry naturally.
- Keep It Dry If It’s Not Being Washed
Avoid constantly wetting your splint because the moisture will allow bacteria to grow. When you need to bathe and wear a cast or splint you can’t remove, make sure to cover it well with plastic and tape. If the splint is on your leg or foot, get a small stool and ensure it’s stable, even on a wet bathroom floor.
There are other ways to take a shower in a cast, such as leaving the splinted part out of the bathtub or taking a sponge bath instead. If you get a lot of water in the splint, call your doctor immediately for an appointment to replace it since trapped moisture can cause infection.
- Leave It In Hot Places
It would be best if you kept your splint at an acceptable temperature, so don’t use hair dryers in hot settings to dry it when wet. At the same time, please don’t leave it in a locked car under the sun or any place that’s too warm, like a water heater. The heat may deform the shape of your splint or, worse, melt it. Heated plastic splints may also cause burns on your skin.
- Put It In Reach Of Pets
If you have pets, keeping your splint away from them is best. It’s not a good idea to let them scratch or chew on the material since their saliva adds unnecessary moisture, and the chewing will deform the splint. Their fur will also stick to the cast, making daily washes a struggle.
So, when you’re allowed to remove your splint, put it somewhere your cats or dogs won’t find it.
- Add Extra Pressure
Injuries can happen to anyone anywhere. You could even get into an accident while on vacation. So, you mustn’t make it worse when wearing a cast or splint. The splint protects your injury but can handle only a certain amount of weight and movement. You could gain pressure sores or ulcers around the injured part if it exceeds that threshold.
When lying down with a splint, try to change positions to transfer weight to other areas. You could also consult your doctor to know how much weight you can apply to the limb.
Getting a fracture or a sprain is a painful experience. But a splint installed correctly and comfortably by a medical professional should help heal the injury in around four to six weeks. Thus, it would help if you took proper care of your splint until you can fully move your injured limb without any pain.