Bandaging and Splinting an Arm Fracture

Splinting an arm uses the same techniques as for splinting a leg. Splint the limbs directly above and below the fracture itself.

But what do you do if the bones are protruding? What are the priorities then?

Priorities When Splinting An Arm

Remember your DRABCD. The priorities with first aid are, first and foremost, the airway. The airway takes precedence over any other injury in a first aid situation. The next thing you need to take care of is any bleeding. So, if a bone is protruding and bleeding we should deal with that next.

When splinting an arm we don’t want to make it worse than it is so we take the protruding bone out of sight. It’s good psychological care for the casualty not to see it sticking out. It also looks after the potential of that bleed.

Let’s say someone had a bone protruding from their arm. Get them to support it in a position of best comfort. As with any penetrating injury we need to build up a dressing around it. There are a couple ways. We can use something as simple as a couple of triangular bandages. Place them on the side of the fracture and bandage those in place.

Bandaging and splinting an arm

Apply bandage to bleeding before splinting an arm

 Another way is to make a donut bandage. These take a little bit of time but they’re not too difficult. Essentially, you do a couple of loops and you feed the tails in and out through the center and back around the sides. When finished it forms a donut-type shape.

We then place that over the protruding the object. In this case, it’s a bone. It provides initial support. It also places a pad in place to collect any blood and helps to form a clot.

Once that is done we would bandage over the top of that. Bear in mind that if it is fractured, we don’t want to move it too much. We don’t put pressure directly over the bone. We’re basically just getting it out of sight and preventing any further bleeding. With a dressing in place we would then take care of splinting an arm. For step by step instructions and video follow the same procedure as for splinting a leg.