Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Purpose & use:
  • By the emergency medical services or by volunteer first responders, to immobilize a fractured limb before the transportation; it is then a temporary immobilization;
  • By allied health professionals such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists and orthotists, to immobilize an articulation (e.g. the knee) that can be freed while not standing (e.g. during sleep).
  • By athletic trainers to immobilize an injured bone or joint to facilitate safer transportation of the injured person.
  • By emergency room physicians to stabilize fractures or sprains until follow-up appointment with an Orthopedist.

Characteristics of splint
Handling characteristics

1.      Memory
·   The material’s ability to return to its preheated (original) shape, size, and thickness when reheated.
·   Easier to monitor and determine whether the material is properly contoured onto the surface of the skin.
    Allows therapist to reheat and reshape splints several times without the material stretching excessively.
2.      Drapability
·   Degree of ease with which material conforms to the underlying shape without manual assistance. 

3.      Elasticity
·   Material’s resistance to stretch and its tendency to return to its original shape after stretch.

4.      Bonding
·   Self –bonding or self-adherence is the degree to which material will stick to itself when properly heated.

5.      Self-finishing edge
·   That allows any cut edge to have a smooth texture if the material is cut when warm.

Performance characteristic

6.      Conformability
·   Ability of thermoplastic material to fit intimately into contoured areas. Easily drape and has a high degree of conformability can pick up persons’ fingertips and crease marks.

7.      Flexibility
·   A thermoplastic material with a high degree of flexibility can take stresses repeatedly. Flexibility is an important characteristic for circumferential splints because these splints must be pulled open for application and removal.

8.      Durability
·   The length of time splint material will last. Rubber-based materials are more likely to become brittle with age.

9.      Rigidity
·   Materials that have a high degree of rigidity are strong and resistant to repeated stress. Rigidity is especially important when therapists make medium to large splints (such as splint for elbows or forearm).
·   Large splints require rigid material to support the weight at larger joint. In smaller splints, rigidity is important if the plastic must stabilize a joint.

·   Allow for air exchange to the underlying skin. Various perforation patterns are available.
·   Perforated and superperforated materials allow air exchange to the underlying skin surface and reduce the weight of splint.

  Finish, colors, and thickness
·   Finish refers to texture of the end product.
·   Colored splints tend to show less soiling and appear cleaner. Brightly color splints tend to be popular with children. Colored materials may be used to help a person with unilateral neglect call attention to one side of the body.
·   One common thickness for thermoplastic material is 1/8 inch. However, if the weight of the entire splint is concern, a thinner plastic may be used, reducing the bulkiness of the splint and possibly increasing the person’s comfort and improving compliance with the wearing schedule.