What Is Posterior Long Leg Splinting?

Reviewed on 7/29/2020

What is a posterior long leg splint?

Posterior Long Leg Splinting
A posterior long leg splint is usually recommended for the following leg injuries includes femur bone fracture in children.

Posterior long leg splinting is a type of splint used to stabilize injuries by reducing movement and providing support to prevent further limb damage. A splint is a type of medical equipment made of wood or other rigid material. It is used to immobilize a fractured or dislocated bone. A splint usually helps to maintain a part of the body in a fixed position. The most common use of splints is in emergency settings to keep a detached bone in position until it heals. Posterior long leg splinting reduces swelling that may be present at the site of injury and thereby reduce the further risks. After a splint is placed, follow-up for definitive care with an orthopedist should occur within one to five days.

When is a posterior long leg splint recommended?

A posterior long leg splint is usually recommended for the following leg injuries:

  • Legs that are too large for knee immobilizers.
  • Treatment of angulated fractures (fracture displacement where the normal position of the bone is altered such that the portion of the bone points off in a different direction).
  • Temporary immobilization of knee injuries that require immediate operative intervention or orthopedic referral.
  • Femur bone fracture in children.

When can a posterior long leg splint not be used?

Certain injuries require immediate evaluation or intervention by a consultant (e.g., an orthopedic surgeon, a hand surgeon, a plastic surgeon, etc.), and splinting alone cannot be the treatment. Such injuries include the following:

  • Complicated or multiple fractures
  • Open fractures
  • Injuries associated with nerves and blood vessels

How is a posterior long leg splint performed?

Splinting is usually tolerated without the use of anesthesia. However, if significant manipulation of the injury is required during the splinting process, anesthetic techniques may be used.

  • These splints are made of plaster, fiberglass, or a low-temperature thermoplastic material with sufficient padding or cotton.
  • Immobilization of the foot, ankle, tibia, fibula, knee, and femur
  • Positioning for the long leg splint includes placing the limbs in the neutral position, for example, foot position, ankle at 90°, the knee is flexed at 10-15°.
  • A splint is placed from lower leg fingers to the buttock area to keep the fractured bone in position and in rest.
  • Adequately padding the heel is done.
  • Patients may need to float the heel when elevating.
  • The leg should be at the same angle throughout the application to avoid complications.

What are the complications of a posterior long leg splint?

As with any splinting technique, a posterior long leg splint can have few possible complications  that include:

  • Using excess heat during splinting may cause skin burns
  • Pressure sores
  • Skin infection
  • Swelling and pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Skin breakdown in case of improperly padded splints 

The Patient can experience discomfort if the splints are wrapped too tight. Over padded splints can become too loose and inadequately immobilize an injury.

What is the outcome after a posterior long leg splint?

Long leg splints are a valuable tool in the treatment of various leg injuries. This form of splinting can provide excellent immobilization while allowing a decrease in swelling. Typically, a long leg splint is the initial form of immobilization. It is typically removed after a pre-decided time, and patients are transitioned into more definitive immobilization such as a cast.

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References
References:

Posterior Long Leg Splinting: (https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1355131-overview)

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