A sling is a device used to support and keep still (immobilize) an injured part of the body.
Slings can be used for many different injuries. They are most often used when you have a broken (fractured) or dislocated arm or shoulder.
Sling - instructions
If an injury needs a splint, apply the splint first and then apply the sling.
Always check the person's skin color and pulse (circulation) after the injured body part has been splinted. Loosen the splint and bandage if:
Injuries to nerves or blood vessels often occur with an arm injury. The health care provider should check circulation, movement, and feeling in the injured area often.
The purpose of a splint is to prevent movement of the broken or dislocated bone. Splints reduce pain, and help prevent further damage to muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Splinting also reduces the risk of a closed injury becoming an open injury (an injury in which bone sticks through the skin).
Care for all wounds before applying a splint or sling. If you can see bone in the injured site, call your local emergency number (such as 911) or local hospital for advice.
HOW TO MAKE A SLING
DO NOT try to realign an injured body part unless the skin looks pale or blue, or there is no pulse.
Seek medical help if the person has a dislocation, broken bone, or severe bleeding. Also get medical help if you cannot completely immobilize the injury at the scene by yourself.
Safety is the best way to avoid broken bones caused by falling. Some diseases make bones break more easily. Use caution when helping a person with fragile bones.
Activities that strain the muscles or bones for long periods of time should be avoided, because these can cause weakness and falls. Use care when walking on slippery or uneven surfaces.
Auerbach PS. Fractures and dislocations. In: Auerbach PS, ed. Medicine for the Outdoors. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:67-107.
Kalb RL, Fowler GC. Fracture care. In: Fowler GC, ed. Pfenninger and Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 178.
Klimke A, Furin M, Overberger R. Prehospital immobilization. In: Roberts JR, Custalow CB, Thomsen TW, eds. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine and Acute Care. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 46.