These temporary splints are associated
with special complications related
to both the action or condition of
the patient and the nature of the
splint itself. At our orthopaedic clinic,
we commonly see patients who
have been referred from the emergency
department in a temporary
splint after a minor ankle sprain or a
fracture of the lateral malleolus. If
the patient allows the foot to hang in
a nonfunctional position without
weight bearing, the injured ankle
may swell like a sausage.
This patient's ankle was splinted in a severe equinus after a minor ankle
sprain (A). After the splint was removed 3 days after injury, extensive swelling
from the dependent position of the foot became evident (B).
To avoid such problems, immobilization with an air splint is preferred for
most acute or subacute sprains and nondisplaced fractures of the ankle (C).