General Cast Care

What is it?

A cast is a rigid casing wrapped around a broken bone to keep it from moving while it heals.

What to expect?

The cast must remain in place until the doctor removes it. If the cast is broken or damaged, the bone might not heal properly. Swelling sometimes occurs when a bone is broken; it can be helped by elevating the affected limb.

How to care for your cast?

Ask the doctor how active your child can be while the cast is on. Keep the cast dry and clean. Keep the casted limb (leg or arm) elevated on pillows higher than your chest to prevent swelling. Have your child move their fingers or toes to reduce swelling and prevent joints from getting stiff.

If any of the following problems occur, return to the doctor, clinic, or emergency room.

  • The cast breaks.
  • The cast is too tight.
  • Your child’s fingers or toes turn blue or pale or become cold.
  • Your child’s fingers or toes get numb (can’t feel).
  • Your child has a high fever.
  • Your child is in increasing pain.

DO NOT get any water on or near the cast.

DO NOT pull the padding out of the cast.

Make certain your child DOES NOT put any objects down the cast. If your child experiences itching, tell your doctor.

DO NOT cut the cast.

Make sure your child DOES NOT walk on the cast unless your doctor tells you this is appropriate.

Copyright © 2003, Michael Vitale, MD.
This information is the property of and has been provided by Michael Vitale, MD, Fellowship-trained Orthopaedic Surgeon