Casts And Splints
- Elevate the injured extremity above the level of the heart until swelling is gone. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.
- Apply ice packs to the injured area intermittently for 48 hours.
- If you have a full cast (hard plaster or fiberglass that completely encircles arm or leg) and notice any of the danger signs listed below, which are not promptly relieved by elevation, return to the Emergency Room or call our office immediately.
- If you have a splint (hard plaster that does not completely encircle the limb and is wrapped with Ace bandages) and notice any of the danger signs listed below, loosen the Ace bandages and elevate the injured extremity. If these measures do not relieve the problem within 10-15 minutes, return to the Emergency Room or call our office immediately.
The Danger Signs To Watch For
- Increased pain
- Numbness or tingling
- Blue color of fingers or toes
- Do not walk on leg cast unless you are specifically told to do so by the doctor.
- Use crutches as directed.
- Never put objects inside of cast or splint.
- If itching persists, you can use a cool blow dryer or you can take over the counter oral Benadryl as prescribed.
- For lower extremity casts, please take 1 aspirin twice a day for 3 weeks, unless allergic to aspirin. (This is for patients over 18 Years Old)
Please note: Casts and post-operative plaster splints are useful devices to immobilize an extremity after surgery. However, they can also compromise blood from to the extremity if excessive swelling occurs. If your pain is not controlled by the prescribed pain medications, please call our office immediately at 281-335-1111.
Cast Care Instructions
Plaster has proven to be the most successful and practical cast for centuries. This is why:
- It hardens quickly
- It’s easy to apply
- It’s durable and strong
Have you ever been wrapped in a strong, warm blanket? That’s the sensation you will have when your leg is covered with soft cotton padding to keep the plaster from sticking to your skin. Next, gauze rolls of plaster that have been soaked in water are gently wrapped around your injury. The cast hardens in 5 to 10 minutes but takes 2 to 3 days to dry completely and reach its full strength.
Let your cast dry thoroughly
It must set properly in order to do it’s job. Don’t stand on it or rest it against hard surfaces for 2 to 3 days – a dent in your cast can create an irritating and painful pressure point.
If you are a would-be artist or autograph hound, the smooth surface of your cast is a tempting treat, but wait 2 to 3 days until it is completely dry.
Avoid getting your cast wet
Once a plaster cast comes in contact with water, it becomes soft and ineffective. You will have to start all over and have your doctor apply a new cast – so keep your cast dry. Take special care of your cast while bathing. Ask our doctors about the possibility of using protective arm and leg sleeves.
If your cast gets dirty, you can give it a fresh look just by touching it up with white shoe polish. But don’t paint the cast entirely, it needs to “breathe”.
Good Cast Care
ELEVATE your injury during the first few days after your cast is applied. This will prevent swelling by allowing the blood fluids that have collected near the injury to drain. And because blood runs downhill, elevate your cast above your heart. The fluids will then return to your heart where they will be properly circulated throughout your body. Your doctor will tell you how often and for how long your cast should be elevated.