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Cast and Splint Care
Proper cast or splint care is important to the healing process of a broken bone or injury because it controls the positioning of any break. Keeping a broken or injured bone from moving throughout the recovery process will avoid delayed healing and can reduce pain and discomfort.
If there are any serious problems or concerns with your cast or splint, contact Valley Children’s Orthopaedic Clinic immediately or seek emergency care.
Casts on Arms or Legs
What should I do after my child gets a cast?
- Elevate limb for 24-48 hours after casting and whenever swelling occurs
- Move fingers and toes frequently to help decrease stiffness and swelling
- Use a cold pack (ie: a bag of frozen peas) to place over the injured area in order to help decrease swelling
- Avoid dirt, sand and gravel and inspect the skin around the cast regularly
- No vigorous activities or rough play is permitted while in a cast
- Do not try to remove or adjust the cast yourself
What should I do when my child takes a bath?
- It is important to NEVER get a non-waterproof cast wet. Completely avoid water activities (ie: pools, beach, lakes, rivers, etc.)
- If possible, cover cast with a well-taped plastic bag when bathing in order to prevent water from getting on or near the cast. (Not all casts are able to be covered adequately.)
- Do not use anything constrictive that will cut off circulation such as rubber bands when covering the cast with a bag.
- If the cast cannot be covered adequately, a sponge bath is recommended.
What should I do if the cast itches?
- All casts smell and can be itchy
- Do not stick anything inside a cast
- Do not put any kind of powder in the cast
- Over-the-counter Benadryl (taken by mouth) will usually take care of mild itching.
- A hair dryer on the cool setting can also help
Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- If the cast gets too tight and swelling does no go down after elevating it
- If the cast gets wet and does not dry out after using a hair dryer on a cool setting for several hours
- If there is increasing pain or worsening numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- If the cast breaks, cracks or becomes loose
- Soreness or blisters inside the cast
- Soft spots in the cast
- Unexplained fevers
Post Surgery and Open Wounds or Sores
The recommendations outlined above are especially important post-surgery. It is vital to keep your cast dry because pins or sores that get wet underneath a cast are at a greater risk of getting infected.
It is safe to sweat, shower, swim, or wet your cast in any way if you have a specially lined waterproof cast -- most commonly made out of fiberglass. If you are unsure whether or not your cast is waterproof, avoid any liquids or moisture until consulting with your doctor. To maintain your waterproof cast, consider the following:
- After the cast gets wet, it is recommended that you rinse it out thoroughly and then remove as much liquid as possible to reduce drying time.
- To avoid odors and irritation, wash the inside of your cast with soap and water.
- Never insert anything into your cast including additional padding or other materials, and completely avoid lotions, oils or powders.
- Do not engage is rough activities that could damage the cast area
Club Foot Casts
It is common for a baby to be fussy up to two days after the cast is placed. After two days, a baby will be back to a normal disposition, so if they continue to be fussy, contact your provider. Please keep the casts clean and dry – a sponge bath is usually easiest while casts are in place.
With every diaper change, be sure to check baby’s toe color – it should be a similar color to their fingers. If their toe color is white or dark purple, baby is not getting enough blood flow. Reposition their legs and see if the color gets better. If not, contact your provider to schedule cast removal.
Also check the cast daily to make sure it has not slipped. If baby’s toes are further back in the cast or further out in the cast, then the cast may have slipped. This can cause a blister or sore, so contact your provider because the cast will need to be removed.
If an emergency occurs outside normal business hours and you need to remove the cast, please follow the cast removal instructions below:
- Mix 1 cup of vinegar in warm water
- Soak the casts for 5 minutes or until the casts are soft
- Cut the casts off with heavy scissor
- Contact your provider to schedule an appointment for the next business day
Valley Children’s Hospital - Main Campus
9300 Valley Children’s Place
Madera, CA 93636
Eagle Oaks Specialty Care Center
12500 Stockdale Hwy
Bakersfield, CA 93314
Olivewood Specialty Care Center
1190 Olivewood Drive, Suite A
Merced, CA 95348
Pelandale Specialty Care Center
3525 Pelandale Ave
Modesto, CA 95356