Splints come in all shapes and sizes depending on what function they are designed for. Broadly speaking, splints will be soft (flexible and made of fabric), or rigid (hard, inflexible and made from plastic or metal). They can either be 'off-the-shelf', providing a quick solution for an area of the body with a predictable shape, or 'customised' where they are made-to-measure and will only fit a specific area of an individual.

In the upper limb, splints are called 'forearm based' if they extend along the forearm and across the wrist, 'hand based' if they do not cross the wrist, leaving it to move freely, or 'finger based' if they are only attached to the finger.