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Arm Slings: Types of Slings & How To Find The Right One

Arm Slings: Types of Slings & How To Find The Right One
Shweta Chaubey

After an arm, shoulder, elbow, and forearm injury, one might need to wear an arm or shoulder sling. There are various types of slings that help protect the hand and prevent re-injury. But do you know what is an arm sling, what are the different types of slings, and how can you determine which one is best for you?

What is an arm sling?

An arm sling is a flexible device with a cavity and straps that hold the arm and secure it properly. The straps rest on the non-injured shoulder for a better hold. Different types of slings help in recovery from various injuries. Which would suit you the best will depend on the type of injury and your doctor's recommendation. 

Types of slings

Arm slings help immobilize and support the arm and shoulder after an injury, surgery, or other medical condition. The most common types of slings are -

1. Broad arm sling

This simple type of sling supports the forearm, elbow, and shoulder to elevate and protect the injured arm. It is ideal for recovery from minor injuries, such as sprains and strains.

2. Shoulder Immobilizer Sling

This type of sling immobilizes the shoulder joint and has an additional strap that wraps around the chest to hold the arm against the body. Shoulder immobilizers are mainly used for shoulder dislocation or surgery.

3. Elevated arm sling

Used for hand and finger injuries, elevated or elevation slings help control bleeding and reduce swelling in the forearm or hand.

4. Cuff and collar sling

The collar and cuff sling is a common type of sling used for supporting arm injuries in children. It ensures that the injured arm remains in the proper position, promoting optimal healing.

According to a research paper by National Center For Biotechnology Information, various types of slings have varying impacts on shoulder dislocation. Personalized selection is advised due to the differing mechanisms involved. 

How to find the best types of sling?

When selecting a type of sling, ensure it fits comfortably and supports your injury. Follow any instructions provided by your healthcare professional regarding the usage and how long it should be worn.

These are the key factors to consider when searching for the best shoulder arm sling for your needs:

1. Material

  • Neoprene material helps wick moisture and allows the injured area to breathe.
  • Polyester is known for its exceptional durability, making it resilient to repetitive stress.
  • Nylon supports and cradles the arm and minimizes weight and bulk.

2. Type

  • Wrap: Designed to snugly fit the shape of your shoulder and provide gentle to moderate support and compression. Wraps work by limiting the range of motion while allowing for swelling and inflammation. They can be worn over or under clothes and are secured with straps across the bicep and chest.
  • Shoulder Sling: Supports the arm and prevents fatigue during long-term recovery. This type of sling features a thumb loop that helps position the hand in a neutral position for proper placement.

3. Straps

Adjustable straps provide a customized fit to accommodate swelling and inflammation easily. They are secured around the bicep and provide convenience in terms of size, fit, and positioning.

4. Range of Motion

  • Immobilizer: Shoulder immobilizer slings keep the injured arm securely in place for faster healing. These slings help maintain a 15-degree angle.
  • Stabilizer: Shoulder and arm slings stabilize the joint by limiting the range of motion while maintaining good flexibility. They provide gentle to moderate support and are comfortable for extended daily use.

5. Support Level

  • Mild: For minor injuries or recovery from previous injuries. These types of slings restrict the range of motion without limiting your daily functions.
  • Moderate: When additional support and compression are needed, the wrap-around straps are easily adjustable to achieve moderate stability.
  • Maximum: Major injuries or surgery may require maximum support to immobilize the joint and prioritize healing compromised tissue.

What are Arm Slings used for

  • Fractured arm or shoulder
  • Should or elbow dislocation
  • Sprained or strained arm or shoulder
  • After rotator cuff surgery
  • To help repair a torn bicep

How to Put on a Sling

  • Place the injured arm inside the sling with the elbow bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • The top of the sling should be resting on the opposite shoulder, and the bottom should be resting near the wrist of the injured arm.
  • Gently lift the injured arm and bring the sling up over the shoulder of the wounded side.
  • Fasten the strap or buckle on the sling around the neck, ensuring it is secure.
  • Adjust the strap length so that the arm is comfortable and supported.
  • If there is a strap that goes around the waist, fasten it snugly but not too tight.
  • Make sure that the elbow is supported.

Different Types of Slings Available At HPFY

1. Best broad arm sling for post-op recovery

Advanced Orthopaedics Premium Arm Sling

FSA Eligible Items FSA Approved

This premium arm sling offers optimum comfort and support to the injured area. It is designed to accelerate the healing process and reduce recovery time.


  • Elevates the injured hand to the heart level and reduces swelling.
  • Provides comfortable hand support.
  • Easy-to-adjust buckle design.
  • Hook and loop closure makes it simple to put on and take off.

Buy Advanced Orthopaedics Premium Arm Sling


2. Best sling for a dislocated shoulder

FLA Orthopedics ProLite Deluxe Sling and Swathe Shoulder Immobilizer

FSA Eligible Items FSA Approved

This arm sling for the shoulder helps support the arm and limits movement to reduce pain and promote healing. The adjustable arm sling is soft and comfortable and supports the injured arm. The swathe is made with a breathable fabric to prevent overheating and is worn around the chest to hold the sling in place.


  • Adjustable straps for a customized fit.
  • Accommodates different body types.
  • Breathable material makes it comfortable to wear for long periods.
  • The lightweight design reduces strain on the neck and shoulders.
  • Latex-free s

Buy ProLite Deluxe Sling and Swathe Shoulder Immobilizer


3. Best Sling for Repetitive Strain Injury

Townsend Elite Shoulder Sling

FSA Eligible Items FSA Approved

Ideal for positional arm support and immobilization for recovery from major injuries and surgeries. This sling features an open cell foam lined with a breathable mesh material which makes it lighter and cooler. The additional elbow padding offers optimum protection and comfort.


  • Breathable mesh material
  • Quick release buckles
  • Universal abduction pillow
  • Dual-reinforced elbow section
  • Adjustable neck padding

Buy Townsend Elite Shoulder Sling


Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long do you keep your arm in a sling?

Generally, wearing an arm sling for shoulder pain can range from a few days to several weeks, mostly for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.

2. Should you take a shoulder sling off to sleep?

Keeping the arm sling on while sleeping is generally recommended, and removing it only for grooming activities such as dressing and bathing. Wearing it during sleep can prevent unconscious movements that may put your arm in a dangerous position, potentially causing discomfort or pain.

Where can I buy different types of slings online?

HPFY has been your health and wellness partner since 2002. We carry a wide range of arm and shoulder supports. Explore our catalog today and find the best one for you.


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Shweta Chaubey

Shweta Chaubey

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Shweta Chaubey, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. An advocate-turned-writer, her desire to create meaningful and positive content has brought her to HPFY and what better than writing ...

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