A broad-arm sling, shoulder immobiliser or a collar & cuff may be prescribed if you have suffered an injury to your arm or shoulder. Each of these act to support and splint the limb in a comfortable position close to the body to allow healing, and vary depending on the type of injury.
Ensure that you are comfortable, that you understand the instructions set by the person that applied the sling and confident that you can manage it the sling.
A sling is beneficial as it is a simple effective device which is easy to apply and adapt to one’s body and arm shape. When applying, position the elbow in the corner of the sling. Ensure that the back of the neck is adequately padded so that the sling is comfortable. For a properly positioned sling, the hand should be slightly elevated above the level of the elbow (not the example!).
A Shoulder Immobiliser is used to support and help immobilise the shoulder. It can be used following shoulder surgery, fracture and or surrounding soft tissue injury. It is to be fitted by a healthcare professional.
When applying, position the elbow in the pocket of the shoulder immobiliser and apply the neck strap across the back and over the unaffected shoulder. If there is a hook at the wrist, this usually corresponds with a second strap that goes around the lower back. Similar to the sling, the hand should be slightly elevated above the elbow for proper positioning.
If unusual swelling, skin discolouration or discomfort occurs, contact the heathcare team involved. Be careful that the sling/shoulder immobiliser is not so tight that it interferes with circulation- check this after application.
Collar & Cuff
A Collar and Cuff is a loop of foam-based bandage that is suitable for use as an arm sling. It offers more versatility for the patient than the broad-arm sling, thus more suitable for combining with a forearm or upper arm cast. The padded collar means it can be worn for extended periods without causing chafing. The Collar & Cuff can be worn in conjunction with a U-slab cast on the upper arm, as shown here.