Casts and Splints are often used to treat orthopaedic patients. Casts and splints are useful to protect bones and soft tissues either after injury or surgery to aid in healing. If your treatment involves a cast or splint you must take extremely good care of your cast and splint to optimize your treatment outcome and avoid further injury. Detailed information on cast care is available from the AAOS here. Please read this information carefully. If you have any questions regarding your cast or splint please do not hesitate to ask your orthopaedic surgeon.
Keys to Casts and Splints
- Elevate your injured arm or leg for 24 to 72 hours after initial cast or splint application.. The injured area should be elevated well above the heart. Rest and elevation greatly reduce pain and speed the healing process by minimizing early swelling.
- Keep your splint or cast dry at all times. Avoid sweating as much as possible. Damp padding next to the skin can cause irritation. Use two layers of plastic or purchase waterproof shields to keep your splint or cast dry while you shower or bathe.
- Keep dirt, sand, and powder away from the inside of your splint or cast.
- Do not stick anything inside your cast. Do not attempt to scratch the skin inside you cast with objects such as coat hangers or try to store anything inside you cast like money. Scratching inside a cast or a lost penny inside a cast can result in severe infections requiring amputation.
- Do not apply powders or deodorants to itching skin. If itching persists, contact your doctor.
- Inspect the skin around the cast. If your skin becomes red or raw around the cast, contact your orthopaedic surgeon.
- Inspect the cast regularly. If it becomes cracked or develops soft spots, contact your doctor's office.
- Do not attempt to remove you cast yourself.
Contact your Orthopaedic Surgeon if any off the following occur:
- Increased pain, burning, stinging or the feeling that the splint or cast is too tight. If your pain is worsening or severe contact your orthopaedic surgeon immediately.
- Numbness and tingling in your hand or foot, which may be caused by too much pressure on the nerves.
- Excessive swelling below the cast, which may mean the cast is slowing your blood circulation.
- Loss of active movement of toes or fingers, which requires an urgent evaluation by your doctor