What is a splint?
A splint is a type of a medical tool made of wood or rigid material. It is used to immobilize a fractured or dislocated bone. A splint usually helps to maintain any part of the body in a fixed position. The most common use of splints is in emergency settings to keep a broken bone in position until it heals.
What is an elbow dislocation?
An elbow joint injury frequently occurs during sporting activities. A significant force is required to disrupt the joint because the elbow joint’s stable, bony structure. Therefore, an associated fracture often occurs along with the elbow dislocation, thus classifying the dislocation as complex.
The elbow joint is made up of three main bones:
- Humerus (bone of the upper arm)
- Radius (bone on the thumb side of the forearm)
- Ulna (It lies medially and parallel to the radius)
There are several different ligaments, tendons and muscles that help keep these bones in their normal positions while a person moves this joint around. In most cases, the ulna is dislocated and goes behind the humerus.
What is a posterior elbow splint?
A posterior elbow splint is a type of splinting procedure used to stabilize the following injuries:
When can a posterior elbow splint not be used?
Certain injuries require immediate evaluation or intervention by a consultant (e.g., orthopedic surgeon, hand surgeon and plastic surgeon), and splinting alone cannot be the treatment. Such injuries are as follows:
- Complicated fractures
- Open fractures
- Injuries associated with nerves and blood vessels
How is a posterior elbow splint done?
- The displaced or fractured bone is immobilized by a posterior splint at 45-90° of elbow flexion, and the wrist is slightly extended at 10-20°.
- Usually, a posterior elbow splint is made of plaster or fiberglass with sufficient padding or cotton.
- A splint is cut out into a 3- or 5-inch length, necessary to immobilize the affected part (usually radius and ulna).
- A splint may be bisected lengthwise from the fingertips to the shoulder.
- The splint is secured in place using a sling that makes it look like an “L” shape.
- This splint would be in place for three days to three weeks.
- Throughout the immobilization phase, wrist and shoulder functions should be maintained through a range of motion and strengthening exercises.