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    Cast and skin care

    • Try blowing cool air from a hair dryer or fan into the cast to help relieve itching. Never stick items under your cast to scratch the skin.
    • Don't use oils or lotions near your cast. If the skin gets red or irritated around the edge of the cast, you may pad the edges with a soft material or use tape to cover the edges. Call your doctor if you think you have a skin infection.
    • Keep up your muscle strength and tone as much as you can while protecting your injured limb or joint. Your doctor may want you to tense and relax the muscles protected by the cast. Check with your doctor or physical therapist for instructions.
    • Watch for pressure sores. These can form over bony areas. Symptoms include a warm spot under the cast, pain, drainage, or an odor. Call your doctor if you think you have a pressure sore.
    • Watch for compartment syndrome. This happens when pressure builds up in a group of muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. It is an emergency. Symptoms include severe pain or tingling or numbness.

    When to call

    Call your doctor right away if:

    • You have increased or severe pain.
    • You feel a warm or painful spot under the cast.
    • You have problems with your cast. For example:
      • The skin under the cast burns or stings.
      • The cast feels too tight.
      • There is a lot of swelling near the cast. (Some swelling is normal.)
      • You have a new fever.
      • There is drainage or a bad smell coming from the cast.
    • Your foot or hand is cool or pale or changes color.
    • You have trouble moving your fingers or toes.
    • You have symptoms of a blood clot in your arm or leg. (This is called a deep vein thrombosis.) Symptoms may include:
      • Pain in the arm, calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
      • Redness and swelling in the arm, leg, or groin.

    Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

    • The cast is breaking apart.
    • You are not getting better as expected.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 17, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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