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The Difference Between Arm Slings and Shoulder Immobilisers – Health and Care Explains

Wednesday, 21 March 2012  |  Paul

When purchasing an arm sling, the choice available can sometimes seem overwhelming. Depending on the injury it is important to decide whether it is a traditional arm sling that is needed or if the injury requires a shoulder immobiliser arm sling. Here we will look at the differences between an arm sling and a shoulder immobiliser and the variety of injuries each arm support is suitable for.

A standard arm sling will have one shoulder strap which should be adjustable to fit the individual correctly. Ideally this shoulder strap will have some form of padding to make it comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. An arm sling will also comprise of an envelope of material where the arm is supported. Basic arm slings may only have a small wrist strap supporting the arm, these types of slings are suitable for more minor injuries.

Arm Slings such as the Procare Blue Vogue Arm Sling combine a fully padded wide foam strap along with a generous material envelope. It provides a comfortable fit ideal for supporting hand, wrist and arm injuries. A simpler sling such as the Universal Pro Arm Sling is a great value sling for broken wrists and upper and lower forearm injuries. This sling is a one piece sling can be adjusted to fit all.

Shoulder Immobilisers do look similar to arm slings however they are designed to keep the arm stable and close to the body thus immobilising the shoulder. The shoulder is immobilised by a strap attached to the arm support which is fastened around the waist. Shoulder Immobilisers such as the Procare Shoulder Immobiliser Arm Sling with Foam Straps are suitable for rotator cuff injuries, shoulder subluxations and post-surgery use. This arm immobiliser combines a soft, comfortable, padded shoulder strap with a comfortable waist strap.

Comfortable straps are important when choosing an arm sling or shoulder immobiliser. Some injuries may take some time to recover from so it is important to ensure that the arm support is comfortable to wear throughout the day. If the sling is sized it is important to measure your arm to make sure the sling is going to be suitable, if between sizes it is generally advised to choose the sling in the next size up.