How to Care for a Cast
Here are some tips to help you care for your cast.
- Elevate the cast
Lift your broken arm or leg above the level of your heart whenever you can. Overnight, you can do this by keeping your arm or leg on pillows while you sleep. During the day, try to rest your leg up on a chair. This is important to prevent swelling in the first few days after the injury. If your cast becomes tight during the first few days seek medical attention immediately.
- Keep it dry.
Keep the cast dry at all times. When washing yourself, carefully wrap the cast in plastic (gladwrap or a plastic shopping bag are perfect) and protect the cast from any water.
- Itchy? - Don't stick things under the cast.
The skin under a cast will often become very itchy. Try to resist (as much as possible) sticking objects under the cast. Especially avoid the urge to stick coat hangers under the cast--this can cause damage to both your skin and the cast material. Instead, try pointing a hairdryer on a cool-air setting down the cast. This usually helps to relieve these symptoms.
- Keep an eye on your cast
Let your doctor know if your cast cracks, breaks, or becomes loose.
- Tell you doctor if you have problems
It is important to visit your doctor if you have any of these problems
- Pain or swelling that is not adequately controlled with medication prescribed by your doctor, or any pain that is getting worse.
- Numbness or tingling
- Skin problems caused by the cast
- Inability to move your fingers or toes beyond the cast.
- Circulation problems in your hand or foot
- Loosening, splitting or breaking of the cast.
- Unusual odors, sensations, or wounds beneath the cast.
- If you develop a fever or gerneralized illness.