Sling Wearing Duration for Orthopedic Fractures

Background

  • A sling acts as an immobilization device.
  • A fracture cannot heal unless it is prevented from moving.
  • Immobilization also helps the bone fragments fuse together by keeping them in the correct position.
  • Slings should be worn at all times, including in bed. If allowed by your doctor, they may be taken off for exercises and self-care (e.g., dressing & bathing).

Typical Sling Wearing Durations

  • Always follow your orthopedic surgeon’s recommendations for sling wearing durations.
  • Fractured proximal humerus: up to 2 weeks
  • Fractured clavicle: 4 to 6 weeks
  • Fractured scapula: 2 to 4 weeks, or typically worn until you can move your shoulder without pain

Why should I move it? It is broken!

  • While the injured location should remain immobilized during the crucial healing period…
  • Movement of neighboring joints is often encouraged to preserve ROM and strength.
  • Small movements such as in the hand help to increase blood flow, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the injured parts to help heal more quickly.

Sources:

https://nyulangone.org/conditions/shoulder-elbow-fractures/treatments/nonsurgical-treatment-for-shoulder-elbow-fractures

https://www.fracturecare.co.uk

Jeff is a licensed occupational therapist and lead content creator for OT Dude. He covers all things occupational therapy as well as other topics including healthcare, wellness, mental health, technology, science, sociology, and philosophy. Buy me a Coffee on Venmo.