Breaking your arm, or any bone for that matter, is a terrible thing. However, people who suffer this injury also are forced to deal with the restriction, irritation and smell of a cast for many weeks, or even months. One of the major drawbacks for casts has been the fact that the person wearing it was not allowed to get it wet. If the only drawback were that you could not go swimming, it wouldn’t be a big issue. However, there is the much more problematic issue of bathing while wearing a cast. Needless to say, it is a difficult and annoying chore to take a shower or bath while wearing a cast and a cast protector for fear the cast padding material may get wet or damaged and cause further irritation.
Thanks to advances in technology, it appears the days of people struggling to keep their cast dry are now officially a thing of the past. There are now cast liners being made of waterproof materials. W.L. Gore and Associates invented Gore-Tex® membranes, which do not allow water to penetrate the membrane, but allow water vapor molecules to pass through them thus being waterproof and breathable. W.L. Gore and Associates introduced PROCEL®, one of the first and most successful water proof cast liners in the early 1990’s. However, PROCEL cast liners were discontinued in 2012.
The waterproof materials introduced in the PROCEL cast liners and cast padding are different than other cast liners which are water resistant materials and are not waterproof materials. These water resistant materials are able to withstand water and do not fall apart if they become wet. Unfortunately, these liners can act like a vacuum cleaner filter, trapping dead skin cells and eventually clogging the liners, preventing water from leaving the cast.
Waterproof cast materials make wearing a cast less of a nuisance by allowing the cast to get wet without the need for clumsy cast protectors or causing any damage to the unprotected cast. Waterproof cast liners enable a person to keep doing many of the things they would normally do on a daily basis.
Typical waterproof casts can take 30 to 90 minutes for a liner to completely dry out. While the cast is drying, the skin under it may feel cool. Waterproof liners work only with casts that are made of fiberglass, not with plaster. If you are wearing a plaster cast, you must still avoid water and keep it dry with something like a cast protector. The good news is that most orthopedic practices and hospitals offer waterproof cast options.
When you use a waterproof cast liner with a cast made of fiberglass, water is able to drain out of the cast, keeping the padding completely intact. Before these breathable and waterproof paddings were invented, cotton or synthetic materials were used for the padding inside casts. Cotton tends to hold water. It can collect odors and exfoliated skin over time. Therefore, if cleaning is needed, a doctor must remove the cast, wash the skin, and put a new cast on.
To obtain more information about waterproof casts or waterproof cast padding, please contact AquaCast Liner or your physician.