What Is a Splinting?
The hand and fingers often need a period of immobilization after injury to allow the tissues to heal properly. For most hand injuries, a splint rather than a cast is the method of choice.
Splint vs. Cast
A cast immobilizes the injured hand by completely surrounding it with hard, inflexible materials (plaster or fiberglass). The inflexibility of a cast can cause serious problems if the injured tissues swell or if the cast is placed too tightly. Potential problems include skin loss due to pressure on the skin from the tight cast or possibly development of a compartment syndrome and it may compromise blood circulation to the extremity.
A splint is essentially a half cast used for immobilization. The extremity is not completely bound by inflexible materials. Therefore, a splint is safer than a cast because it usually can accommodate tissue swelling without becoming too tight.