These instructions are intended to give you information about your cast and it’s proper care.
What is a cast made of?
The cast is made of a rigid and waterproof fiberglass material. It is not delicate nor is it indestructible. The padding and lining is usually made of cotton for skin protection. This material is not waterproof and should be protected from water (rain, bath/shower, pool etc.). Sometimes a special Gore-Tex lining material can be used which makes the cast waterproof.
Can I get the cast wet?
As mentioned above, the lining materials are not waterproof and need to be protected. If careful, you may take a shower. Drugstores or surgical supply stores sell bags to protect your cast while showering. If one cannot be located, then you may use a large heavy duty garbage bag with some sturdy tape around the upper part of the cast. Use a small towel around the top to catch any small amounts of water that may find their way into the bag.
What if the cast gets wet?
If the cast gets slightly wet, you can use a hair dryer on cool to dry it. Do not use high heat. If the cast becomes smelly or real itchy after it got wet and feels soggy, then it needs to be changed. Call the office. If you get the cast really wet, it will need to be changed. Call the office.
What should the cast feel like?
Obviously there will be some pain since you are being treated for a fracture or severe injury to the extremity. However, the cast should not be digging into your skin or causing any significant burning or rubbing on the skin or bony prominences. If you feel this but it goes away quickly with change of position, then it is no cause for concern. If, however, you feel an area of pressure that won’t subside, or is causing a burning pain on the skin, then your cast needs to be checked. Call our office. The cast should be relatively comfortable. The more active you are and the more time you spend with your arm or leg in the down position, the cast may actually feel tight. As long as the pressure goes away when you raise your arm or leg, there is no need for concern. If you have pain that does not go away when you elevate your extremity, or if you feel your fingers/toes are cold and numb, then you should call our office. If it happens at night or on a weekend and the pain is getting worse with each passing hour, then go to the nearest emergency center, preferably emergency room at William Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak.
What if I have an itch?
Do not stick anything down there to scratch your skin. You may cause a cut that can become infected. Again a cool hair dryer or talcum powder can often help that itching. You can also take an over the counter anti-histamine to reduce the itching. If it becomes intolerable, you may need a skin check and cast change. Call our office.
How active can I be with this cast?
If a cast was placed on your arm, you should not be playing any sports while it is on. If you had a cast put on your leg/ankle/foot, then the amount of pressure you can put on it depends on the injury and the stage of healing. You will be instructed one way or the other. Check before you put pressure on it.