When a person experiences an arm or shoulder injury, a doctor may recommend that they use a sling while the injury heals. A sling is a great way to keep weight and pressure off of the injured area while also preventing motion of the injured joints. This is a key component of the healing process because any movement may cause additional injuries and may slow the healing process.
What Are Slings?
Essentially, a sling is a section of fabric or material that is used to hold an injured arm in place. Slings are commonly made of a soft, comfortable fabric like cotton. An average sling will be triangular in shape so that it can be wrapped around the arm and upper torso. Placement of the sling is important to keep the arm immobilized while also keeping the patient comfortable.
How to Use a Sling
Slings are most often used for injuries to the arm or shoulder. When someone suffers an injury to this area of the body, it can be extremely painful and debilitating. Moving the arm or shoulder even slightly can cause intense pain and additional injuries. This is why it’s so important to prevent movement of the arm while also keeping the injured person as comfortable as possible.
This is why slings are ideal for these injuries. To use a sling, the cotton bandage or other material must be wrapped around the injured person’s arm and upper torso. The goal is to keep the person’s arm suspended in front of them so that the arm is across the chest and bent at the elbow. The bandage should be firmly wrapped to prevent excess movement but not so tight that circulation is cut off.
When applied properly, the injured person will be able to comfortably rest their injured limb in the sling while moving, standing or sitting.
Common Types of Slings
There are several different types of slings that can be used in various situations. Choosing the right type of sling is a decision that a doctor can make after assessing the injuries of a patient.
Common or Standard Sling
This type of sling is the one that most people are familiar with. It is usually used when a person has suffered a broken forearm bone or sprain. These slings are made from a triangular piece of cloth that is wrapped around the forearm and tied behind the back. In this way, the standard sling can keep the patient’s arm immobilized so that further damage does not occur.
Collar and Cuff Sling
This type of sling is most often used to secure the arm of a person who has suffered an upper arm injury. The sling is wrapped around the wrist of the patient so that the forearm can be brought up and across the chest to be secured at the opposite shoulder. Once the wrist is in place, the sling can be secured with a knot behind the neck.
A shoulder sling is used to keep an injured shoulder from moving during the healing process. Like the standard sling, a triangular piece of cloth is used to hold the wrist and forearm at an elevated point in front of the chest. However, the arm is not pulled forward as much as with a standard sling. This allows the shoulder to remain immobile.
Arm injures can be extremely painful and inconvenient. In order to heal quickly and return to normal function, patients can consult with a doctor to determine which type of sling is best for their situation. With proper medical treatment, an arm injury can heal quickly so that the patient can get back to their normal life.
If you are having pain that might require a sling, you can always visit our three locations in Montrose, Heights and Mission Bend. Our board-certified physicians will get you taken care of, within the comforts of our fully-stocked facility. Schedule an emergency room appointment with us.