Finger Splint Types
- Buddy Splint- These are for mild sprains and strains, not for fractures or breaks. Simpy tape the finger above and below injury to the finger next to it.
- Static Splint- This splint doesn't allow movement in finger. Often straight, like the DJ Orthopedics Padded Strip Finger Splint, they may also have a slight curve. Either work, but one may be more effective depending on the needs of the injury.They are best for fractures, tendon damage or multiple strain injuries.
- Stack Splint- Created for injuries from first joint to fingertip, they are usually made of plastic and keeps the first joint immobile. Often they have holes for ventilation like the Procare Plastic Finger Splint Stax.
- Dynamic Splint- for stiffness. Allows limited movement. They are spring loaded to prevent too much movement without losing muscle and flexibility.
- Thumb splints- These are created specifically for thumbs and their unique shape. They have different designs for various injuries.
Splint vs Cast
A cast usually happens 5-7 days after to reduce swelling. Called a "half-cast," splints help keep finger in place until more secure cast is made. A cast is more secure for more serious breaks, but a splint can be used it immobilize the finger until an accurate cast can be made after swelling goes down and often used after a cast is removed as well. For anything less than a severe break, splints are used to reduce risk of further injury.
How to Apply
While most splints similarly have a metal (either stainless steel or aluminum) side and a conforming foam side, they can vary in length, shape and how much mobility they allow. Straight splints cover most injuries, while a curved splint is best for fractures. The finger should not move beyond the natural movement after injury and should be immobilized. Often this means taping the finger to the one next to it for additional support. Do not make the finger support so tight that it cuts off circulation or forces the finger to be straight if the injury does not allow it. Use medical tape to secure the splint in place between the first and second knuckle.
Can I take a Shower
Splints should be kept dry to reduce the risk of infection. If the doctor says the splint is removable, be sure to take it off before entering the tub/shower. Before putting the splint back on, make sure the area that it covers is completely dry by patting it with a towel. If you are unable to remove the splint, cover it with plastic and secure it with tape. For more secure protection, you can use a cast cover. Should moisture find its way in, dry it as best you can afterwards. This can be done using a "cool" setting on a hair dryer.
How long should I wear it?
This can vary depending on the severity of the injury. A mild sprain can take as little as 1 to 2 weeks to heal, while more severe injuries may take up to a few months. For a better idea of how long you should be wearing a finger protector, see a medical professional.
Should I see a doctor?
Always seek professional advice for initial instructions and care. Treatment can vary according to the severity and type of injury. For visible breaks, see a doctor immediately. If symptoms do not improve within 48 hours, please see a medical professional.