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Caring for Your Cast

Hand, wrist, and arm injuries send many people of all ages to the Emergency Room, and they often walk out with a cast. A cast helps you heal and ease the pain while you do, but caring for your cast properly is important in order to avoid infection.

Cast Care Instructions

Once a cast or splint is in place, your pain should improve. However, due to your injury, you may have swelling. This can cause a build up of pressure inside the cast that can cause pain, numbness, tingling, cold fingers, or the inability to move your fingers. Slight discoloration can be normal, but if your fingers or toes become whitish or bluish it could indicate a problem.

If you develop any of the above symptoms, ELEVATE YOUR LIMB ABOVE THE LEVEL OF YOUR HEART. Ice packs also help to relieve swelling. This is good practice for the first few days after your injury regardless if you are having problems or not.

Do not put any items down your cast. Scratching can irritate and even cut the skin and an unseen infection can develop.

If the skin around the edges of the cast is becoming irritated, place a Band-Aid, tape, or moleskin around the edges of the cast to protect your skin from the rough surface. If the irritation persists, call our office.

Water and Casts:

If you are wearing a splint (plaster covered with an Ace bandage) or a fiberglass cast, DO NOT GET THE SPLINT OR CAST WET. This can lead to skin breakdown and infection (especially if it is covering a surgical incision). To protect your cast, we recommend two options. The first option is to wrap the arm with double plastic bags and then seal with duct tape. The second option is to use a purchased “Cast Protector” at a local chain drug store. Both these options have been found to be cost-effective reliable choices.

If your fiberglass/plaster splint/cast gets wet, please contact our doctor’s office in Howell, West Bloomfield, Macomb Township, or St. Clair Shores right away.

 

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