Skin Temperatures Generated Following Plaster Splint Application

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-2013


Heat is generated during the exothermic reaction associated with plaster splint application. The amount of heat generated is affected by the plaster thickness, dipping water temperature, and extremity elevation method. The authors assessed the effect of these variables on skin and plaster temperatures. Short-leg posterior splints were applied to noninjured extremities on a volunteer using 2 protocols. Following splint application, the splinted leg was elevated in 4 ways: on plastic-covered urethane pillows in cotton pillowcases, on cotton blankets, on ice packs (short-term cryotherapy) placed on top of cotton blankets, or with heel elevation to promote free air circulation. Skin and plaster temperatures were monitored at 1-minute intervals. The maximum skin temperature generated and the average time that skin temperature was 40°C or higher were recorded.


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doi: 10.3928/01477447-20130426-06