With an average of six million people breaking bones each year, it’s essential to know how to use a SAM splint or any other type of splint. Some people believe all splints are created equal and are used in the same way. However, this isn’t the case.

Misusing a splint, or even using the wrong kind of splint, can result in more harm than good. It can make injuries far worse than they would’ve been otherwise.

In this article, we discuss the news of a flexible SAM splint as well as rigid splints. Continue reading if you want to prepare for unforeseen strains, sprains, and fractures.

Types of Splints

When it comes to immobilizing an injury, a splint can be an optimal choice. It can also help minimize additional damage. There are two common types of splints to choose from, including rigid and flexible splints.

Rigid Splints

Rigid splints are just as their name suggests, and prevent movement with their hard surface. They are typically made out of fiberglass or plaster, which are customized to fit the area of injury. To prevent irritation, they’re often padded.

In order to provide adequate immobilization, rigid splints tend to extend past the joints directly above and below a fracture point. They are ideal for maintaining constant pressure regardless of temperature or elevation.

Flexible Splints

Flexible splints include air splints, pillows, and slings. These are made from soft materials. Air splints are beneficial when an injury requires compression to help slow bleeding. However, they may stick to the skin and cause irritation.

Alternatively, slings use the chest wall to provide structure by bringing the arm to the body. For injuries limiting movement toward the body, the use of pillows between the arm and the body prevents additional pain.

What is a Flexible SAM Splint?

An alternative type of soft splint is a SAM splint. A structural aluminum malleable splint, or a SAM splint, is a medical device used to provide temporary support after an injury.

These splints remain soft and malleable until they’re folded, after which point they provide firm support. There are different folding methods to use depending on the location and type of injury.

The interior of flexible SAM splints is made of an aluminum sheet, which is covered by a non-porous foam. The smooth surface means it’s easy to clean for reuse later. They can be used for a variety of injuries.

SAM Sugar Tong Splint

A SAM sugar tong splint is similar to other SAM splints in that it uses bends and folds to build strength and offer support. This model of SAM splint offers a high level of flexibility so that it can bend into any simple arc. This makes it highly effective.

Benefits of a SAM Splint

A flexible SAM splint offers more than just immobilization of an injury. Their soft material means they are easily trimmed and manipulated to fit any body part.

Since they’re lightweight, waterproof, heatproof, and easy to clean (which also means easily reused), they are ideal for any emergency or first aid kit. This also makes them perfect for traveling or outdoor adventures.

Unlike other materials, they also don’t interact with x-rays. This means that the injury can remain securely wrapped in the splint instead of having to experience the discomfort of removing it for x-ray positioning.

While these benefits may cause you to jump to the conclusion that they’re costly, SAM splints are actually very affordable as well as functional.

How to Use SAM Splints

In order to maximize the benefits, it’s essential to know how to use a SAM splint. These SAM splint uses include knowing how to fold it effectively.

Finding the Right Curve

There are three common ways to fold a SAM splint: c-curve, reverse c-curve, and t-curve. The c-curve requires the splint be bent down the middle, lengthwise to form the shape of the letter c.

To achieve a reverse c-curve, fold the outer edges of the c-curve back, creating an almost ‘w’ shape. The t-curve requires a sharp fold down the center of the splint. Then, fold back each half to create a ‘t’ shape.

Use As a Stirrup

For ankle injuries, the SAM splint uses include creating a stirrup to prevent side-to-side motion. Folding SAM splints creates enough rigidity that it can help hold your weight when trying to walk on a broken or sprained ankle or leg.

When to Use a Splint

The main function of a splint, whether rigid or flexible, is to provide support and immobilize joints. This helps to minimize pain, avoid additional damage, and ensure safe transportation.

This includes situations involving potentially broken bones, sprains, and dislocations. They can also serve as a way to manage pain such as pain from tendonitis.

When NOT to Use a Splint

A splint should NOT be used in the event of a compound fracture, open facture, or compartment syndrome. A splint allows the bone or joint to straighten. For certain injuries, this can cause more harm than good.

When applying first aid, if you’re unsure of whether a splint should be applied or not, it’s best to avoid use. Instead, prevent movement as much as possible while seeking medical attention.

Prepare for Injuries with a Splint

Keeping a soft splint, such as a flexible SAM splint, in your first aid or emergency kit can help keep you prepared for unforeseen injuries. Their lightweight, easy to clean, and affordable features make them ideal for almost any situation.

Be sure you’re comfortable with how to use a SAM splint when adding it to your first aid kit. This will help you know when to use one, and, more importantly, when NOT to use one.

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