Proper Cast Care Helps Bones Heal Well

Health Topics

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If you have a serious bone injury, it’s likely you could end up with a cast to protect the injured bone while it heals.

A cast will hold your bones in place while they recover from your injury. Casts also help reduce pain, swelling, and muscle spasms.

Once the cast is on, your doctor will give you instructions for any activities you’re restricted from doing. It’s important to follow your doctor’s directions so your bones heal well.

Follow steps to take care of your cast while you’re wearing it: 

  • Avoid dirt. Keep dirt, sand, and powder away from your cast so they don’t get inside.
  • Itching. Skin can start to itch inside a cast because it gets warm and sweaty. Do not put objects inside your cast to scratch your itchy skin. Also, do not use powder or deodorant on itching skin.
  • Inspect the cast. If your cast gets cracked or becomes soft in spots, call your doctor’s office.
  • Keep the cast dry. Wetness weakens the plaster and makes the skin irritated against the padding. To keep your cast dry while bathing, use two pieces of plastic wrap or buy a waterproof shield. Do not submerge the cast or hold it under running water. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of waterproof casts.
  • Padding. Do not remove any padding from inside or around your cast edges.
  • Skin. Call your doctor if the skin around the cast becomes red or raw looking.
  • Trimming. Do not break or cut off rough edges of your cast without talking to your doctor first.
  • Walking casts. Avoid walking on “walking casts” until they are completely hard, which takes about one hour for fiberglass and up to three hours for plaster.

If you are continually bothered by itching skin under your cast, talk to your doctor about the best option for relief.

Also, if you get the cast wet accidentally, call your doctor’s office immediately. They might provide a suggestion to help dry the padding, such as using a blow dryer on the cool setting. In some cases, they might want to replace the cast with a new one.

One way to make having a cast a more positive experience, especially for children, is to decorate it. A quick search of the internet can provide fun ideas for how to decorate a cast. Most include the traditional idea of having friends sign the cast with a permanent marker, purchasing a cast cover, or purchasing a cast tattoo.

Before going forward with any cast decorating ideas you find – other than friends signing the cast – discuss it with your doctor.

Once your doctor is certain your bones have healed well, the cast will be removed in the doctor’s office using a special saw that can safely cut through the cast without hurting the skin.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.