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Backcountry Lower Leg Splint

This ‘go beyond blanket roll lower leg splint’ that’s shown in the video below, is one of the best ways we’ve found to stabilize both the knee, and the ankle. This is a great splint to use if you patient has an unstable lower leg injury. This split is good to use if your patient is NOT going to be tied into a litter. 

This video will give you step-by-step instructions on how to make this splint, using typical tools found in a backcountry setting— most of which you can improvise if needed!

Materials you’ll need

  • 1x Tarp or blanket
  • 2x Poles or sticks (to create rigid structures along leg)
  • Padding — things such as clothing or material to pad around leg
  • 4x Cravats/tying straps
  • 1x Small rope

Steps: Making the splint

  1. Measure poles or sticks next to your patients leg — The ideal length of the stick will start at the top of their leg, and go a couple inches past their foot.
  2. Next, fold the tarp in half — leaving a small section of the tarp to wrap around the top of your pole. The tarp should be at the right length so the pole ends stick out at the other end.
  3. Roll up the sticks in the tarp or blanket.
  4. Next, pad the splint so it’s comfortable for your patient — Make sure you include padding under their knee and around their foot. Adjust the padding if it’s causing pressure points or discomfort for your patient.
  5. Move the patients leg into the split. It will be the least painful for your patient to pull slight traction on their leg while lifting, and sliding the splint underneath. Having two people pulling slight traction on the leg would be ideal.
  6. Next, pass the tying straps under the knee, and tie around the leg. There should be a strap tied tightly at the top of the leg, just above the knee, just below the knee, and around their lower leg. Use knots that are easy to untie.
  7. After securing the tying straps around the leg, its important to tie the poles together just past the foot — this is ofter referred to as the “go beyond”
  8. Make sure to cover up their foot to keep it warm, but maintain access so you’re able to continuously check their circulation.

Continue Reading:

Wilderness First Aid Kit Packing List by Danny Peled

Simulation Debriefing — for wilderness medicine and rescue courses by Dr. Steve Truong

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