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    When you first get your cast

    A cast protects a broken bone or other injury. Most casts are made of fiberglass, but plaster casts are still sometimes used.

    After a cast is on, you can't remove it yourself. Your doctor will take it off.

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    Putting weight on your cast

    Follow your doctor's instructions for when you can first put weight on the cast. Fiberglass casts dry quickly and are soon ready to bear weight. But plaster casts may take several days before they are hard enough to use.

    When it's okay to put weight on your cast, do not stand or walk on it unless it is designed for walking.

    Swelling

    Your cast may feel snug for a few days after your surgery or injury. This is usually because of swelling. Swelling can slow healing and cause pain. Too much swelling inside the cast can cause pressure that can harm you.

    To help reduce swelling:

    • Prop up the injured arm or leg on a pillow as much as you can when you sit or lie down. Try to keep it above the level of your heart.
    • If the fingers or toes on the limb with the cast were not injured, wiggle them every now and then. This helps move the blood and fluids in the injured limb.
    • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These can help reduce swelling and pain. Be safe with medicines. Be sure to follow all instructions on the label.

    Water and your cast

    • Do not get your cast wet unless you have a fiberglass cast with a quick-drying lining.
    • Keep your cast covered with at least two layers of plastic when you take a shower or bath or when you have any other contact with water. Moisture can collect under the cast and cause skin irritation and itching. It can make infection more likely if you have had surgery or have a wound under the cast.
    • If you have a fiberglass cast with a fast-drying lining, make sure to rinse it with fresh water after you swim. It will take about an hour for the lining to dry.
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