Thomas Splint

We have a World War Two Telescoping Thomas Splint in our History of Medicine Collection. 

The Thomas splint was introduced by Hugh Owen Thomas in 1875, a Welsh physician who specialised in the study and treatment of diseases like tuberculosis, polio, and rickets. 

The first design was used for treatment of tuberculosis affecting the knee. The design included a metal ring, wrapped in leather, fitted around the groin and  attached to a smaller ring around the ankle. This simple design could be widely accessible and affordable so that even the poorest patients can benefit from its use.

During the first World War, Robert Jones – consultant orthopedic surgeon to the British Army and nephew to Thomas – advocated the Thomas splint’s superiority in the treatment of femur and tibia fractures. Jones also recognised the splint’s ability to provide adequate exposure of the lower extremity for surgical procedures, and to transport patients from the battle front.