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how to make a sling

Alternative Names 
instructions for sling preparation

A sling is a device that is made to hold an injured part of the body and limit its movement and relieve pain.

What are the causes and risks of the injury? 
A sling can be used for many different injuries. It can be used for a fracture, a torn muscle, a sprain or for a blunt injury where a great deal of bleeding has occurred. Slings are usually made for the upper limbs and are very important in supporting the arms.

What are the treatments for the injury? 
A sling is made in the following manner:
  • First cut or tear a piece of material from either a sheet or a large piece of cloth that is approximately 1.5 metre wide at the base and 1 metre long.
  • Then tie 2 of the 3 ends together and place this tied end around the person's neck, keeping it very loose. The injured arm is then placed in the fold of the cloth and allowed to hang there. If the arm needs to be immobile, take a longer piece of cloth and tie it around the injured arm, wrapping this cloth around the chest and abdomen and tying it on the uninjured side. It is important not to tie the sling too tightly. Loosen the sling if it is too tight.
  • Try not to realign any obvious misaligned body parts. For example, if there is a fracture to the upper or lower arm, do not try to realign it. Allow a doctor or doctor / specialist to do this.
  • Seek emergency medical help if there is an obvious dislocation, a fracture, if pain continues and healing does not come quickly, or if there is a loss of circulation.
What happens after treatment for the injury? 
After a sling has been applied, seek care from a doctor / specialist. He or she can recommend the appropriate treatment to:
  • reduce pain
  • place the injured limb in a more permanent sling
  • refer the injured person for further treatment
Author: James Broomfield, MD
Reviewer: eknowhow Medical Review Panel
Editor: Dr John Herane
Last Updated: 17/10/2004
Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request

This website and article is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.  All Health and any associated parties do not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information.


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