Skip to main content

How to Use A Sling

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

What is a sling?

A sling is a strong fabric loop that hangs from your neck to support your arm. Your arm, bent at the elbow, rests in the sling. Some slings have a strap that goes down your back to take the weight off your neck. This strap is connected to the elbow side of the sling. Your healthcare provider will help you decide which sling is best for you and where you can get one. A sling helps prevent your hand, arm, and shoulder from moving so your injury can heal. A sling can also help if you have a heavy cast on your arm.

Shoulder Sling

How do I use the sling?

Your healthcare provider will teach you how to put on your sling. The following are general guidelines to help you remember what your provider teaches you:

  • Gently bend your injured arm and hold it in front of you, across your body. Your thumb should be pointing up.
  • Put your arm in the sling so your elbow is in the closed end. Your hand will be at the open end.
  • Put the edge of the sling so it covers the first fold of your little finger.
  • Put the strap around your neck. The strap usually has an adhesive fabric to make it easy for you to fasten. There should be a 2-finger space between the strap and your neck.
  • Wiggle your fingers as directed to prevent hand stiffness.

When should I call my doctor?

  • Your arm, hand, or fingers become swollen, numb, painful, or pale.
  • You begin to have neck or shoulder pain.
  • You have questions about how to use the sling.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. 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.

© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.