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Guide for wearing splints

Why is a splint necessary?

A splint has been supplied to provide correction, support or stability to the foot or the ankle.

Splints help keep your child’s foot and leg in a good position, which will help stop their muscles from getting tighter. If their muscles get really tight they can start to hurt. Your child may even need to see a doctor to look at other treatments such as Botox or surgery.

Splints also help support your child when they are standing or walking. Without the splints it might be harder to stand or walk, or the way they walk might change. The splints may also help with physiotherapy exercises to help your child’s body and muscles.

What should be worn under the splint?

Sock or tights which are:

  • well fitting
  • unpatterned
  • made from cotton rich material
  • long enough to cover all the areas of the skin, which come into contact with the back and the bottom of the splint
  • pulled up firmly to eliminate creases

How should the splint be put on?

Correct the position of your child’s foot in the way you have been shown by the orthotist or physiotherapist.

Illustration of someone holding their child's foot

Place the foot inside the splint making sure that the heel is in contact with the back and the bottom of the splint.

Illustration of someone putting a child's foot into a splitIllustration of someone putting a child's foot into a split and fastening it

Firmly fasten the ankle strap first, then the calf strap and toe strap if there is one, to prevent the foot from moving inside the splint. The footwear should fit over the splint.

Illustration of someone fastening a splint onto a child's foot

What should I check for?

The splint needs to apply pressure to the foot and ankle to give the required correction and support. Some marking of the skin is normal but the skin should not blister or breakdown. When your child receives a new splint their skin should initially be checked frequently for pressure areas.

Remove the splint and sock to check the skin, if there is significant marking leave the splint off and check the foot again after 30 minutes. If the marking is still significant you should make an appointment with the orthotist for the splint to be reviewed.

Your child’s foot may sweat more when wearing the splint, so you should wash their foot and change socks more more often. You must clean and care for the splint following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

What type of footwear does my child need?

The splint should be worn with ordinary footwear, you do not need special footwear. It may take some wiggling around to get the foot and the splint into the footwear the first time.

Your child should only stand or walk when they have footwear on, otherwise they might slip and fall. The orthotist can advise you on different styles and also manufacturers of footwear made especially for splints.

Some brands we recommend include:

Top tips

Top tips to help with splints
  • Make a timetable for when your child is going to wear the splints to get into a good routine
  • Practice helping your child to stand or walk in their splints, if they are able to do this
  • Your child can wear their trousers over their splints
  • Talk to the orthotist about different colours and designs for your child’s splints and choose something they like
  • Try taking the insole out of your child’s shoe to make them more comfortable to wear with their splints
  • You might need to buy a bigger size shoe to go over the splints
  • Often Velcro shoes are easier to get on over splints, and some shoes where the back opens or have side zips work well too

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, please call the orthotic department on 0114 271 7271 Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4.30pm, or email on scn-tr.orthotics@nhs.net

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: ORT7

Resource Type: Article

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Orthotic Department: 0114 271 7271

Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 4.30pm

Email: scn-tr.orthotics@nhs.net


Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

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