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The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital

The Do's and Don'ts of Cast Care

Do's

  • Do keep the cast dry. Water will soften the plaster/fiberglass and cause the cast to lose its shape. Do cover the cast with a plastic bag in wet weather. Stay away from wet grass.
  • Do keep the cast clean. This prevents the cast from breaking down. Stay away from sand and dirt.
  • Do keep a new cast open to air until dry (usually 24 to 48 hours). Do protect a new cast until dry.
  • Do exercise joints by moving all joints not immobilized by the cast.
  • Do keep the edges of the cast smooth. Rough or uneven edges may irritate the skin. Cover rough edges of the cast with adhesive tape.
  • Do avoid breaking or denting the cast.
  • Do elevate the arm or leg on pillows--especially if there is mild swelling.
  • Do keep the bar in between the legs at all times.

Don'ts

  • Do not place objects under the cast. Pennies, toys, and small objects will cause sores.
  • Do not scratch. Coat hangers, back scratchers, or pencils under the cast will cause sores.
  • Do not remove padding. Padding helps protect skin and hold the broken bone in place.

Danger Signs

  • Burning, numbness, or tingling pain--"pins and needles feeling"
  • Pain in toes or fingers
  • Swelling of toes or fingers. When watching for swelling compare casted to uncasted.
  • Fingers and toes feel cool. Again, compare casted to uncasted.
  • Toes or fingers turn dark or blue in color
  • Cannot move his or her fingers or toes
  • Any strange odor or drainage from under the cast

Call your child's doctor if you see any of the above danger signs. Serious complications can occur if the cast is too tight.