How To Use A Sling

What is a sling?

  • A sling is a device that hangs from your neck to support your arm. Your arm, bent at the elbow, rests in the sling. A sling can be as simple as a belt or loop of cloth tied around your neck. It may be a wide piece of fabric or a scarf.

  • To take the weight off your neck, some slings have a strap that goes around your neck and down your back. This strap is connected to the elbow side of the sling. When your injured shoulder, arm, wrist, or hand is in the sling, the weight is on your neck and back. Some slings have a strap, from the elbow side of the sling that goes around your back. This is to help take some of the weight off your neck. Your caregiver will help you decide which sling is best for you and where you can get one.

Why do I need to use a sling?

You may need a sling because of an injury or surgery to your hand, wrist or arm. Hanging your arm in a sling may help rest your shoulder if you have a heavy cast. Your injury may heal faster because the sling helps keep your arm from moving.

How do I use the sling?

Usually, you get your first sling at the emergency department or at your doctor's office when you are seen for your injury. Your caregiver will teach you how to put on your sling. You may have to ask another person to help you put on the sling. The directions below will help you apply the sling:

  • Gently bend your injured arm at the elbow across the waist (at a 90 degree angle). Your thumb should be pointing up.

  • Put the strap of the sling around your neck and down your back. The strap usually has an adhesive fabric to make it easy for you to fasten the strap.

  • Put your arm in the sling so your elbow is in the closed end of the sling. Your hand will be at the open end of the sling.

  • For comfort, put the edge of the sling so it covers the first fold of the little finger.

  • You may need to have more than one sling so you always have a clean one to use. Slings can usually be washed in a washing machine, or they may be washed by hand. Allow the sling to air-dry.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your illness, injury, or surgery, and how to use a sling. You can then discuss your treatment and care options with your health caregivers. You always have the right to refuse treatment.The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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