So your out in the wild with either yourself or with a friend and something bad happens. You slip and fall, and have no cell phone service. You’ve come down on a bone hard and it could very well be broken. Your best bet to treat the injury ASAP until you can get to help, your job will be to keep the broken limb immobile, in a natural position, you can do this by creating a splint.
Now it doesn’t matter if you’ve injured your arm or leg you need to adjust the limb out straight and natural. You see your body begins to heal right away, your bones are surrounded with a healing marrow and the bone will begin to knit back together as soon as 30 minutes after the injury. If you don’t splint the limb and keep it natural and immobile you will probably face surgery. Splinting is extremely important to prevent painful motion issues in the future, and to avoid having the bone re-broken to be set again. Splinting will also prevent pain as your getting to the ER.
Now your first step to making a splint is to locate two sticks that are longer than the limb you intend to splint. They must go past the wrist or ankle at least an inch. Shorten them if needed and strip off all loose leaves and branches. These will be placed on either side of the limb to keep it stable until you are able to get medical attention. If no sticks are available, you’ll have to improvise. Anything straight will work just be creative until you can get help.
Pad the limb well. Use a t-shirt, towel or any cloth you can obtain, padding the limb is more for comfort than stability, so if you don’t have much fabric, use it sparingly so you have some left for when you add the sticks to stabilize the limb.
Now you will place the two sticks on top of the previous layers of padding. Make sure they are on both sides of the limb, equal distances from each other. Position them to where they extend beyond the joint. With forearm or ankle fractures, sticks should extend past the limb. With upper-arm or upper-leg fractures, the sticks should extend onto the trunk of the body.
Wrap the cloth around the sticks at least 6 inches both above and below the break. The wrap should fit well, but whatever you do DON’T make it too tight! You should be able to fit 2 fingers under the wrapping with ease. Wrapping too tight can cause pain and cut off blood flow and you could lose the limb, but if you wrap it too loose, it won’t be stable. Keep wrapping until you have 6 inches left on both ends and tie the ends into a secure knot.
For a broken arm you will now need to make a sling…
Slings are used to hold the arm in place, preventing the arm from moving around and causing further pain and injury. Use any type of cloth or belt for this. From the mid-point of the cloth, both ends should reach from mid-chest up to up around your neck. Make sure it’s comfortable and strong enough to hold your arm in place
Fold the cloth in half length-wise to find the center. Gently place your forearm in the middle of the sling. Resting it in the middle provides equal weight distribution on the sling and prevents stress points on the arm. This also keeps the arm from slipping out of one end or the other.
Pull both sides of the sling up around your neck until the forearm is in a comfortable horizontal position. Your elbow should be at a 90-degree angle. If this causes pain lower the forearm slowly until you find a comfortable position.
If you do not have material for a sling, take the long sleeve arm from a jacket and find a way to pin it at the shoulder, then sling the arm through the crook of the pinned jacket while wearing the other arm normally.
For a broken leg hopefully, you have help and your friend will make you a stretcher…
You can make a stretcher out of shirts, take two or three of the strongest shirts you have and lay them on the ground in front of you. Find two long strong sticks that are about five to six feet long and run them through the shirts sleeves to create a body brace, make sure the sticks are parallel to each other and held in place by the sleeves. Have the victim lay on the parallel sticks, with their armpits over the stretcher sticks and pad as much as possible. If you have a thermal blanket cover the victim to keep warm and prevent shock.
You will need to pick up one end of the stretcher like a wheel barrel and drag the victim to safety, DO NOT let the leg drag so make sure their body is high enough on the sticks, if there are two able bodies carefully carry both ends of the victims stretcher to safety.