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Stirrup Ankle Splint

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Other Names

  • Stirrup Splint
  • Sugar Tong Ankle Splint

Background

Illustration of Stirrup Splint[1]
Example of stirrup splint[2]
  • This page refers to the stirrup splint
    • Short leg splint running under heel and foot from medial to lateral leg, extending to level of fibular head on both sides.
    • Essentially the "sugar tong" of the ankle
  • Typically applied along with posterior short leg splint

Indications

Stable Injuries

Unstable requiring addition of Stirrup Splint


Contraindications

  • Absolute contraindications
    • None
  • Relative contraindications
    • Open fractures
    • Injuries with neurovascular compromise

Procedure

Equipment

Preparation

  • Document pulse, motor, sensation
  • Measure plaster length
    • Start: At level of fibular head laterally
    • End: At level of fibular head on medial side of leg
    • Use 10-12 layers for lower extremity

Technique

  • Number of people
    • Typically, at least 2
  • Patient Position
    • Knee is bent to 90°
    • Ankle is at 90°
  • Stockinette
    • Apply stockinette slightly longer than desired splint length
  • Web roll/ cotton padding
    • Apply cotton padding starting proximally and working distally
    • Apply extra padding around calcaneus
  • Splint material
    • Immerse splinting material in lukewarm water, squeeze out excess water
    • Apply wet plaster in U-shape from fibular head, around calcaneus and up medial calf to roughly the same height
  • Can apply more cast padding
  • Apply ace wrap/ elastic wrap
  • Hold in place until hardened
  • Confirm the distal neurovascular status

Pearls and Pitfalls

  • Splint is much easier to apply if patient is prone
  • If injury is unstable, holding reduction is key during splinting and hardening process

Aftercare

  • Typically non-weight bearing until re-evaluated
  • Advise patient to keep cast or splint clean and dry
  • Do not insert objects into splint/ cast
  • Monitor for complications (worsening pain, paresthesia/ numbness, color changes)
  • Seek further care if unable to control pain at home

Complications

  • Acute Compartment syndrome
  • Plaster burn/ thermal injury
  • Pressure sores
  • Nerve palsy
  • Vascular compromise
  • Splint dermatitis
  • Permanent joint stiffness
  • Skin infection

See Also


References

  1. Image courtesy of uptodate.com, "Stirrup splint"
  2. Image courtesy of AAFP.org, "Splints and Casts: Indications and Methods"
Created by:
Jesse Fodero on 10 July 2019 18:52:32
Authors:
Last edited:
25 June 2023 13:25:04
Category: