A cast can't do its job without proper care. Find out the basics of cast care, from keeping a cast clean to knowing when to call the doctor.
Casts are applied to fit and support injured limbs. Casts are also applied to immobilize limbs and the spine after surgery.
Casts may also be applied in situations when there is no injury. For example, casts are used to correct deformities. At times casts are also applied to heal wounds.
There are two main types of cast materials:
When a cast is applied, the main concern is the post injury swelling. In a cast, the swollen limb cannot swell more, and therefore internal pressure in the injured area can rise.
Swelling can cause your child's cast to feel tight and uncomfortable. To reduce swelling:
A cast can cause your child's underlying skin to feel itchy. To relieve itchy skin, turn a hair dryer on a cool setting and aim it under the cast.
Don't allow your child to stick objects, such as a pen, inside the cast to scratch his or her skin. This could cause an injury or infection.
That depends on the type of cast your child has.
In general, casts are meant to stay dry. A wet cast can lead to skin irritation or infection. Plaster casts and fiberglass casts with conventional padding are not waterproof. Keep your child's cast dry during baths or showers by covering it with two layers of plastic, sealed with a cotton string. Avoid swimming while wearing a cast that isn't waterproof.
A fiberglass cast that has a waterproof liner can get wet. Only certain types of breaks can be treated with a waterproof cast and liner. Ask your doctor if it's safe for your child to get his or her cast wet.
If the cast does get wet, you might be able to dry out the inside padding with a hair dryer. Use a NO heat or cold air setting to avoid burning or irritating the skin.
Babies and children can get a cast wet - especially around the genitals. The cause is urine leaking into the cast. The liner gets soaked with urine. The cast develops an odour after repeated soaking. Soon a rash develops ( also called a diaper rash) and then an infection follows.
It is therefore very important not to allow the cast to be soaked with urine. (Please see Hip Spica precautions). And dry immediately with a hair dryer kept on COLD setting.
Try these tips:
Contact your child's doctor immediately if your child:
Caring for a child's cast isn't always easy. Remind your child that taking care of the cast will help minimize discomfort during the healing process.