How Do You Take Care of a Cast?
Temperatures are heating up, and with fewer COVID-19 restrictions in place, people are more prone to injury. This means increased trips to the hospital from playing sports, roller-skating mishaps or a simple trip to the trampoline park. If you end up in a cast, here are some tips for taking care of your it while your bones heal.
Upon arrival to the clinic or emergency department, you will meet with a physician or physician’s assistant and take X-rays. These X-rays will determine if you have an injury that will call for a brace, cast or splint. Once the injury is diagnosed, you will need a cast to heal. The cast is made using a stockinette, cast padding, fiberglass and cool water.
How is a cast applied?
- Step 1: A stockinette will be placed to keep the padding inside of the cast.
- Step 2: A cast padding will then be placed to protect you from the cast saw when the cast is removed.
- Step 3: Fiberglass is then applied. Fiberglass is what the cast is made of. It helps to protect you from injuring yourself while you heal.
After application, the doctor will do some minor tests to check if the cast is too tight. If all is well, you’re ready to go home.
Taking Care of Your Cast
In the South, we deal with humidity, which can cause the inside of your cast to sweat. You must keep your cast clean and dry. Here are some tips that will help you take care of your cast.
Do not get your cast wet: Rest assured, you can take showers! Go to your local pharmacy and purchase a cast cover or shower bag that best suits your injury. Use that cover while showering. Do not submerge your cast in water. Unfortunately, no beach, no lake and no pool.
Do not stick objects in your cast: If you puncture your skin, you are more prone to getting an infection. This means no pens, rulers, wire hangers or anything of the sort. No matter how much your body itches, do not stick items or objects inside of your cast to relieve the itching. Instead, try the following:
- Take Benadryl by mouth to help soothe the itching.
- Use a hairdryer on a cool setting to blow inside both ends of the cast.
Do not pull out padding in your cast: : Remember that the padded layer between your skin and the cast’s plaster layer helps to protect your skin from coming in contact with the saw during cast removal
How is a cast removed?
There are a few tools we used to remove a cast.
- Cast saw: The cast saw is a saw that oscillates or vibrates back and forth. The saw is uniquely designed to not cut or penetrate the skin but can leave a burn if misused. This is why it’s essential to keep the padding inside the cast.
- Cast spreader: This is an instrument used to help separate or pry open the cast once cut by the cast saw.
- Cast scissors: These scissors will be used to cut the cast padding and stockinette.
What to expect after removal?
Once the cast is off, the injured area will be cleaned, and someone will take you to go get an X-ray. That X-ray will determine if you are healed enough to move into a brace or get back into another cast. You may notice there will be some dry dead skin which is normal due to not showering. If your skin got wet inside the cast it may look pruned up and will need to be dried before putting the cast back on.
- Moving to a Brace: This means the doctor can now work on a range of motion to gain mobility back into the injured area. Being in a brace is more flexible than being in the cast. You can remove the brace for showers and wipe off the brace using warm soapy water.
- Getting back into the cast: Now that you have experienced caring for your cast, it should be simpler caring of your new cast until It’s time for your next removal.
To learn more about Ochsner Orthopedics, please visit: https://www.ochsner.org/servic...