The Do’s & Don’ts of Broken Bone Cast Care & Maintenance

As you know, a cast is often necessary to immobilize and stabilize a fractured bone. One purpose of a cast is to support a broken bone while it heals.  Proper broken bone cast care is essential for healing, so here are some Do’s and Don’ts for maintaining a cast for broken bones.

The Do’s

Reduce Swelling

If the area swells, then your cast may be uncomfortable to wear. In order to reduce swelling, you can keep your casted fracture elevated above the heart, if at all possible.  If you have a waterproof cast, submersion of the cast in an ice bath can also be used to reduce swelling.

Movement and Exercise

This may not seem like an important part of cast care, however, you should move your fingers and toes regularly to reduce joint stiffness and reduce inflammation. Also, follow your doctor’s treatment plan and instructions regarding how you can safely exercise that without disrupting the heal of your injury.

Keep Your Cast in Good Condition

Sand, dirt and other debris can get inside of your cast. If this happens, then you may be able to gently clean the edges with a cloth. It is a good idea to keep your cast covered while you are doing messy work. Alternatively, ask your doctor about waterproof casts, which could be a better fit for an active person and easier to maintain.  A true waterproof cast can be cleaned with soap and water.

Use a Cast Protector/Cover

If you do not have a waterproof cast with waterproof cast padding, you will need to use a cast cover any time there is a chance of exposing the cast to water such as in the shower, by the pool, or on a boat.  As mentioned previously, waterproof casts can be a great option for almost any patient. However, even if you have a waterproof cast, you may still want to consider using a cast protector or cover in extremely dirty or sandy conditions. An extra layer from a cast cover may help minimize particulates in the cast.

Rinse the Inside of your cast

If you have a waterproof cast, it is typically recommended that you rinse and even wash inside of the cast with a mild soap at least once per day.  Always flush the inside of your cast with a forceful stream of clean water (from a hose, shower, or kitchen faucet for example) after going into non potable (non drinking) water or washing inside your cast.  A forceful stream of cool water can be a good way to satisfy an itch.

The Don’ts

Try to Remove the Cast Yourself

Do not attempt to remove the cast yourself. You can cut or burn yourself if you attempt to remove the cast without proper medical experience or supervision. You may also reverse the healing process if you remove your cast.

Ignore Pain or Discomfort

You may experience some discomfort as your body adjusts to the cast, however, you should never ignore the following signs:

  • A high fever
  • Excessive swelling
  • Finger paralysis
  • Toe paralysis
  • Severe pain in the injured area
  • Foul odor

Putting things in the cast

Never put anything inside the cast.  Items pushed into a cast can break the already weak skin and create an opportunity for infection.

Do not use lotions, potions, or creams in the cast.  Typically, these items are designed to be used on skin exposed to the air.  Without air exposure, the compound may stay against the skin for longer than expected and create an irritating condition.

If you want to know more about how to maintain a broken bone cast, waterproof casts, or cast padding, then feel free to get in contact with us at any time.

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