Sling | How to use a sling
What is a sling?
A sling supports your injured arm and holds it in a position that is best for your recovery. They are typically made of cloth, nylon, or a foam material and may have adjustable straps.
Why are slings used?
To ease your pain. Slings are used when you have an injury that can be made worse or more painful by moving your shoulder, elbow, arm, wrist or hand (such as a a broken arm or collarbone).
To elevate your arm. Slings help keep your injured arm elevated, which reduces swelling. If your arm dangles by your side the swelling and pain gets worse.
To help it heal in the correct position. Slings can hlep your fracture heal in the correct position. For example, a fracture of your upper arm is best treated in a collar-and-cuff sling, which allows your arm to hang freely with gravity.
How should a sling fit?
No matter the design of the sling, it shoudl fit comfortably.
For a broad arm sling, your elbow should be at one end of the sling and your hand at the other end. Your hand should be slightly higher than your elbow, and you should be able to see your fingertips in case they get discolored or swollen after the injury.
The straps of the sling fit around your neck. Sometimes the sling strap rubs and irritates the skin on the back of your neck. To prevent this, wear a shirt with a collar or place a pad under the strap.
How long do I need to wear a sling?
Your doctor will tell you how long you need to wear your sling and if you can take it off to bathe or sleep. How long you should wear the sling depends on what injury you have. Many fractures involving the arm require 6 weeks in a sling.