If you’ve injured your shoulder, elbow or wrist, you may be advised to wear an arm sling to protect it while it heals. A sling works by holding your arm close to your body and preventing you from moving it too much. Wearing your sling incorrectly can cause your arm to heal more slowly or, worse, cause it to become even more injured.
If you are required to use a sling, it is critical that you wear it correctly to prevent the accumulation of fluid and blood in your hand and wrist. Steps for correct wearing:
- Pull the sling around your arm and elbow gently. It should be a tight fit around the elbow. Your hand should reach the sling’s very end. Check that the sling’s end doesn’t cut into your wrist or hand; if your hand hangs at your wrist, your sling is probably too small.
- Grab the strap behind your elbow by reaching around your neck. Pull the strap over your neck to the back of your hand and feed it through the loop.
- Tighten the straps so that your hand and forearm are higher than your elbow. This keeps blood and fluid from accumulating in your wrist and hand.
- Use velcro closures to secure the straps. You may want to tuck a small towel under the shoulder strap so that it can hang comfortably around your neck.
- Some slings have a strap around the back to keep the elbows close to the body. If you have one, reach your back, pull the strap across your back, and secure it close to your hand. Make sure the strap is not too tight. You should be able to hold two or three fingers between your body and the shoulder strap of the sling.
The sling should fit comfortably, without restriction or tightness. Your shoulders, elbows, and wrists should be in a relaxed position so that you can perform daily activities. Nightingale recommends the arm sling by Ortho Active, which provides maximum comfort and optimum function: https://nightingalemedical.ca/product/ortho-active-arm-sling-shoulder-immobilizer/ . Bonus: all Bracing products are 15% off using promo code CSBR21 online and in-store from November 1 – December 31; some restrictions apply.