Become a life saver the next time you or someone breaks, sprains or cracks a bone with one of these ten splints you can make on your own.
Injuries can happen at a moments notice and broken bones can lead to permanent damage or even death if not treated properly. As an Emergency Medical Technician and Firefighter with Baltimore City, it's not rare to have to splint someone in the case of an emergency.
For work, I am prepared with the tools and training necessary to ensure the safety of our customers but what happens if an injury like this happens in the outdoors? As an avid outdoorsman and hunter, I spend a lot of time in the woods and at a moments notice, could twist or sprain an ankle, fall out of a tree stand and dislocate my shoulder, trip and break my hand or wrist and many more.
Below are eight videos I found that could be helpful for anyone wanting to learn how to splint anything from a finger to a shoulder while home with limited supplies.
1. Shoulder injury
A shoulder injury can occur after a slip and fall or like I did last year, getting out of my climbing tree stand. Luckily, I fell from about eight feet only breaking the arrows in my back pack and not my back or shoulder. However, had I landed in a different manor, I would have been nearly a mile back in the woods, with no cell phone service with a hike back up a mountain side.
If I would have landed and dislocated my shoulder, here is how I may have splinted it only by using my shirt and a bandana.
2. Broken arm
If you are under the situation where you have broken your arm doing this one by yourself can be very tricky, especially with a low pain tolerance.
However, if you find that your friend or someone you are with has broken there arm, here is a great video on splinting that long bone fracture.
3. Broken or injured wrist
Very similar to the technique use in the broken arm, a magazine or some type of strong material that is can be malleable but not fragile. If you aren't home, using a shirt or bandana along with a couple arrows or an arrow quiver, strong sticks or anything light and strong can replace the magazine used here.
Although it's not mentioned in the video, it's always good to place something in your hand to hold onto prior to immobilizing the break as this will help keep your hand in the proper location along the splint as well as in the proper form.
4. Fractured hand
Very similar to the fractured wrist however the main focus here is ensuring the hand is stabilized in order to keep it from moving. With a broken hand the splint does not go past the hand, yet like in the video here, the hand, if possible, grasps the end of the splint.
The hand and wrist are then dressed to the splint to secure it and immobilize.
5. Broken finger
Not all of us carry popsicle sticks with us when we hunt, however maybe now you will. If you do not, this splint can easily be made sturdy sticks and cloth ripped into small strips to tie the finger to the sticks.
Underwear, shirt, pants or a bandana offer the cloth you may need to tie the finger, however using fresh green bark from a tree could also work if desperate.
6. Pelvis/Hip immobilization
This will be an injury that unless you have a few people available, cannot be done. The sheer importance of immobilizing a crushed or broken pelvis is crucial. There are several arteries that pass through your pelvis and if not immobilized or immobilized correctly, extreme pain or blood loss could occur.
This would be a very similar scenario to create a DIY splint for the injured person.
7. Femur fracture
This video may be a little longer than the others, but is probably the most important. A femur fracture is by far the most painful fracture of all fractures. The downside, it is also the most difficult to correct and splint. At work, we have what is called a traction splint.
A traction splint takes the bone that has broken and overlapped, and pulls it back into its original position. When done and done correctly, the pain get's much worse at first, however an extreme relief of pain occurs when properly completed. Above is a video of several different options you have when out in the wild and run into a situation of a femur fracture.
8. Fractured or Dislocated Knee
This knee splint can sometimes be confusing when you try to tie this, I know because I just did this a few weeks ago at work. The main thing here is if the knee is bent, keep it bent and tie it so it will not move.
Remember - you want to immobilize, by moving a broken or fractured bone, you can possibly create more damage than what has already incurred.
9. Broken leg
A broken leg or injured knee can be immobilized like in the video below. Remember to try to also make the person comfortable as the pain can be very intolerable.
If the broken leg is above the knee, this is considered a femur fracture and is treated differently (see above).
10. Ankle Brace
Here is a quick ankle brace for someone who has sprained or twisted an ankle. If the ankle is broken, I would suggest full immobilization above and below the fracture, rather than just a brace.
If you do not have ace bandage like in the video, a shirt or even a gun sling can always work as well.
Remember when splinting all injuries, try your best to minimize movement. You will want to support above and below the break until completely immobilized with your splint. It is always good to check for a distal pulse (foot or wrist) before doing any interventions and then again after you splint.
If there you had a pulse prior to your splint and no pulse after, you will need to find what happened as no pulse could be dangerous to extremities. And lastly, be sure to always have a plan if you head out into the woods, especially alone. You don't want to end up missing where no one can find you, especially if you are injured.