Thomas splint

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


1. a rigid or flexible appliance for fixation of displaced or movable parts; see also orthosis.
2. to supply support for the purpose of immobilizing an injured or displaced body part.

Uses. Splints are most commonly used to immobilize broken bones or dislocated joints. When a broken bone has been properly set, a splint permits complete rest at the site of the fracture and thus allows natural healing to take place with the bone in the proper position. Splints are also necessary to immobilize unset fractures when a patient is moved after an accident; they prevent motion of the fractured bone, which might cause greater damage.

In a pelvic or spinal fracture, the effect of splinting is achieved by placing the patient on a stretcher or board. Breaks of the ribs and of face and skull bones usually do not require the use of splints, since these parts are naturally splinted by adjacent bone and tissue.
Making and Applying Splints. A splint can be improvised from a variety of materials, but should usually be light, straight, and rigid. It should be long enough to extend beyond the joint above the injury and below the fracture site. A board used as a splint should be at least as wide as the injured part. Tightly rolled newspapers or magazines can be used to splint the arm or lower leg. Ice cream sticks have been used as splints for broken fingers.

Splints should be padded, at least on one side. Thick soft padding permits the injured part to swell and reduces interference with circulation. Bandages or strips of cloth or adhesive tape are used to hold splints in place. Pulses distal to the injury should be checked before and after splinting to determine whether the blood supply has been impaired. If the limb becomes cold, pale, or blue, or if the affected part becomes too painful, the splint should be loosened. Splints should never be tight.
Internal Splints. Internal splints, as well as pins, wires, and other devices for the fixation of fractures, are among the more spectacular advances in orthopedics. They have worked wonders in the setting of hip fractures, especially in older people. Internal splints are available for almost every type of fracture. Stainless steel, titanium, and Vitallium are the most commonly used materials. Splints and devices of this type require surgery for insertion, but are less cumbersome than external splints and permit earlier use of the fractured bone.
Types of splints. From Lammon et al., 1996.
airplane splint one that holds the splinted limb suspended in the air.
anchor splint one for fracture of the jaw, with metal loops fitting over the teeth and held together by a rod.
Balkan splint Balkan frame.
coaptation s's small splints adjusted about a fractured limb to produce coaptation of fragments.
Denis Browne splint a splint for the correction of clubfoot, consisting of two metal footplates connected by a crossbar.
dynamic splint a supportive or protective apparatus that aids in initiation and performance of motion by the supported or adjacent parts.
flexion splint tenodesis splint.
functional splint dynamic splint.
shin s's strain of the long flexor muscle of the toes, occurring in athletes and marked by pain along the tibia.
Taylor splint a horizontal pelvic band and long lateral posterior bars; used to apply traction to the lower limb.
tenodesis splint an orthosis that allows pinch and grasp movements through the wrist extensors.
Thomas splint two iron rods joined at the upper end by an oval iron ring or half-ring, and bent at the lower end to form a W shape; used to give support to the lower limb and remove the weight of the body from the knee joint by transferring it to the pelvis.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thom·as splint

a long leg splint extending from a ring at the hip to beyond the foot, allowing traction to a fractured leg, for emergencies and transportation.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

Thom·as splint

(tom'ăs splint)
A long leg splint extending from a ring at the hip to beyond the foot, allowing traction to a fractured leg, for emergencies and transportation.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


Hugh Owen, English surgeon, 1834-1891.
Thomas Allis forceps
Thomas brace
Thomas cervical collar brace
Thomas classification
Thomas collar
Thomas collar cervical orthosis
Thomas extrapolated bar graft
Thomas fracture frame
Thomas full-ring splint
Thomas heel
Thomas hinged splint
Thomas hyperextension frame
Thomas Kapsule instruments
Thomas knee splint
Thomas Kodel sling
Thomas posterior splint
Thomas procedure
Thomas ring
Thomas sign
Thomas splint - a long leg splint extending from a ring at the hip to beyond the foot.
Thomas splint with Pearson attachment
Thomas suspension splint
Thomas test
Thomas test of function
Thomas walking brace
Thomas wrench
Medical Eponyms © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
They took us to a hospital in Etaples and then put me in a bed and fitted me with a Thomas splint, a round wooden ring with iron bars and a footrest".
It is impossible to say how many lives were saved by Hugh Owen Thomas's invention and by his nephew's introduction of the Thomas splint to the army.
Hugh Owen Thomas was the creator of the Thomas splint which |has helped save thousands of lives
Welsh orthopaedic surgeon, Hugh <B Owen Thomas, invented the Thomas splint. Unfortunately, the impact of this new idea was limited in his lifetime and it was left to his nephew, Robert Jones, to popularise his innovation.
The Thomas splint immobilises the limb with or without traction, aiding transfer of patient or the limb without undue movements at the fracture and hence limiting continued injury to the soft tissue (Mueller 1970).
It has been observed that application of the Thomas splint is a dying art (Figure 2 for Splint application instructions) and hence there is marked apprehension among colleagues in its application.
Thomas Splint fitting instructions (With permission from Ossur, Manchester, 2009, 1.
Corea JR, Ibrahim AW, Hegazi M 1992 The Thomas splint causing urethral injury Injury 23 340-341
Therefore the intramedullary pinning is supported by schroeder-thomas splint or modified thomas splint.
In present case, a single intramedullary pin supported by modified thomas splint was used with quite good results (Fig.5b).
During the second world war, the Thomas splint once again came into its own.
The animal was able to stand with the support of affected limb due to use the modified Thomas splint. The prognosis for return to the previous level of work is influenced by the factors including the degree of skin damage, on the amount of tendon and ligament injury and whether the synovial structure is involved (Belknap et al., 1993).