You have been placed in a cast to treat your fracture and sprain. Remember the cast has been placed on you for your protection. Taking proper care of it is in your best interest so here are some things you should know:
If you have been placed in a plaster cast (white in color), it is not ready for full use for 48 hours. Do not put weight on it as you will dent or weaken the cast that would cause a pressure sore.
If you have been placed in a fiberglass cast, it takes 20 minutes to dry and is then ready for use as your doctor instructs. Limit weight bearing for the first 24 hours.
Do not place anything inside the cast. Wearing a cast may cause itching, but putting anything inside your cast may cause a sore or infection that will mean replacing the cast. Do not put powder in your cast for it will make the itching worse. If severe itching continues, call the office and ask to speak to the orthopaedic technologist.
Do not get your cast wet. Dampness in your cast will cause skin irritation and skin breakdown. If you accidentally get it wet, you may dry the cast by using a hair dryer on a low cool setting. This may take 45 minutes to an hour. Using a hair dryer will also help stop itching. If your cast gets soaked, it must be removed.
Pain, swelling, numbness or discoloration of the toes or fingers can indicate lack of blood circulation caused by swelling in the cast. If these signs occur, elevate the casted extremity above the level of the heart and place an ice pack on the injured area; the coolness will get through the cast. If symptoms do not subside within one hour, call the office any time and ask to speak to the doctor. If you cannot reach the doctor within a reasonable time and if you have a severe symptom, please go to a nearby emergency room for treatment.
Frequently a cast is applied to an injured area that is swollen. When the swelling goes down, the cast will become loose. Sometimes, the looseness will allow movement inside the cast causing blisters or increased pain. If a lot of movement occurs in your cast or if your cast becomes soft or cracked, inform the office.
If you are provided with a cast boot, wear it at all times except when in bed. A sock over an attached walking heel may make it slide more easily in bed.