Ankle and Foot Splinting, Casting, and Taping

CHAPTER 186 Ankle and Foot Splinting, Casting, and Taping

Primary care clinicians encounter a wide variety of acute and chronic foot and lower leg injuries that may benefit from immobilization. The value of immobilization as an initial means of therapy has been known for centuries. Treatment of foot and ankle injuries involves an accurate clinical evaluation and, when indicated, radiographic assessment of potential fractures, avulsions, or instability. Casting and cast splinting are commonly used in acute situations and fractures (see Chapter 190, Fracture Care), whereas splinting and taping are probably best used to control chronic instabilities and as adjuncts in rehabilitation. PRICES (protect, rest, ice, compression, elevation, splint) is the mnemonic often utilized when acute immobilization is indicated. It should also be noted that rapid remobilization is an important part of the rehabilitation for most soft tissue injuries to the ankle.




Most clinicians have access to premade splinting materials that are fixed or inflatable (e.g., Aircast). However, inexpensive splints can be made from a plaster cast roll and cast padding:

Generally, when making a splint from casting materials, plaster is used. With this type of splint, the padding will not be wet. The casting material is immersed in water separately. Premade splints may be plaster or fiberglass. With premade materials, the padding will be wet. Premade splint material can also be simulated by rolling a stockinette over the outside of the 11 to 13 layers of cast materials. Fold over the ends of the stockinette and tape them to keep the splint neat. Both the stockinette and the casting materials are then immersed in water together. Both will be wet when applying. Several layers of cast padding are then placed between the patient’s skin and this splint to prevent skin breakdown.

Two types of ankle splints will be discussed: sugar tong and posterior. Application depends on the indication and degree of stabilization desired. The sugar-tong (stirrup) splint may be used in ankle sprains to prevent inversion or eversion.

Posterior Splint

The posterior splint may be used with stable tibial or fibular fractures and plantar fasciitis to restrict dorsiflexion or plantar flexion of the foot and ankle complex.

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May 14, 2017 | Posted by in GENERAL & FAMILY MEDICINE | Comments Off on Ankle and Foot Splinting, Casting, and Taping

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