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How to make an arm sling

An arm sling stops someone’s arm moving (immobilisation) and protects it so it can heal. It’s also a useful warning to others that someone has an injury so they should be careful around them.

There are two types of arm sling – an arm sling and an elevation sling. You can make both using a triangular bandage.

Watch our video - how to make a sling

Arm sling

An arm sling holds someone’s forearm in a horizontal or slightly raised position. This gives support for:

•an injured upper arm

•an injured wrist or forearm

•someone who can bend their elbow

•someone with a rib fracture

Arm sling what you need to do

Step 1 of 5: Support their bad arm

Ask them to support their bad arm with their other hand. Slide the triangular bandage underneath it, with the longest edge (the base) parallel to their body at the tip of the little finger. The tip of the bandage (the point) should stick out past their elbow.

Arm sling

Step 2 of 5: Pull the top bit

  • Gently pull the top bit under their bad arm and around the neck to the opposite shoulder.
  • Take the bit that’s hanging down over their arm and up to meet the other end at their shoulder.

Arm sling step 2

Step 3 of 5: Make a reef knot

Tie the ends together in a reef knot at the hollow above their collar bone and tuck in the ends.


Step 4 of 5: Adjust the sling

  • • Adjust the sling so that it supports their arm all the way to the top of their little finger.
  • • Twist the tip by their elbow until it fits snugly around their elbow and tuck it in or safety pin it.Arm sling step 3

Step 5 of 5: Check their circulation

Check their circulation in their fingers and keep checking every ten minutes. If it’s too tight, loosen the bandage and sling and tie them again.

Arm sling step 4

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