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When treating various types of injuries in limbs or digits, a static splint is often used to help hold that limb or digit in place to promote healing and prevent further injury. As its name implies, the static splint does not allow for any movement of that limb or digit during the healing process, unlike a dynamic splint that can allow for some movement of a joint, limb, or digit. Static splints are generally used to secure a joint in a particular position while soft tissue or bone injuries heal.
The materials used to make a static splint must be quite rigid. Steel, aluminum, and various types of plastics are often used to create this type of splint, and these materials may be combined with softer, more malleable materials that help secure the rigid materials against the injured joint, digit, or limb. Hook and loop straps are often used to secure the splint in place, for example, and some splints feature neoprene sleeves that help compress the injured area and bring the rigid splinting materials as close to the limb as possible. Sometimes the static splint will be adjustable so the angle of the joint can be adjusted as necessary; once the desired angle is achieved, the splint can then be locked in place.
Unlike a static splint, a dynamic splint can often be adjusted or can allow for slight movement of a joint or limb. These are useful for treating minor injuries or even chronic ones. The splint may or may not need to be worn at all times during the day; some dynamic splints are used only at night when the limb or joint is not in use anyway to correct long-term problems such as plantar fasciitis. In other instances, the splint may only be used when pain is felt in the affected region.
Sometimes a static splint will be used in emergency treatment as well. Emergency medical technicians will often carry a variety of different static and dynamic splints to be prepared for various types of injuries. If a fracture occurs in a limb, for example, the techs may choose to use a static splint on the affected limb to prevent movement during the transport process. Soft tissue injuries, however, may require either a static or a dynamic splint, depending on the situation. The techs must be trained to recognize various injuries and know which treatments are most appropriate.