Cast and Splint Care Tips - Topic Overview
Keeping a cast or splint dry
- Unless you have a fiberglass cast with a
quick-drying lining or a brace with air pads, do not get your cast wet. If you have a removable splint,
ask your doctor whether it's okay to remove it to bathe. Even though the splint
is removable, your doctor may want you to keep it on as much as possible.
- Keep your cast or splint covered with at least two layers of
plastic when showering or taking a bath or when you have any other contact with
water. Moisture can collect under the cast or splint and cause skin irritation
- If you have a wound or have had surgery, moisture can
increase the risk of infection.
- If you have a fiberglass cast with
a fast-drying lining or a brace with air pads, make sure to rinse it with fresh water after swimming. It
will take about an hour for the fiberglass cast lining to dry.
Itchy skin is common under a cast.
Blowing cool air from a hair dryer or fan into the cast may help.
Never stick anything inside your cast to scratch the
Don't use oils or lotions near your cast. If the skin
becomes red or irritated around the edge of the cast, you may pad the edges
with a soft material or use tape to cover it. Call your doctor if you think you
Complications of wearing a cast
increasing pain may be a symptom of a serious problem.
Compartment syndrome is caused by swelling within the
space or "compartment" that contains muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and bones.
Pressure on arteries, veins, and nerves causes severe pain, slows circulation
to the muscles and nerves, and may cause permanent damage to these tissues.
Compartment syndrome is a medical emergency that
requires prompt treatment.
are another problem that may develop over a bony area under the cast or splint,
such as an elbow or ankle. You may get a pressure sore if your cast or splint
is too tight. A warm spot on the cast or splint, pain, drainage, or an odor are
symptoms that a pressure sore or skin infection may be present. Call your
doctor if you think you have a pressure sore or skin infection under your cast