A plaster cast is usually comprised of a bandage and solid covering. It works by allowing the broken bone in the leg or arm to recuperate by immobilizing them in place and should stay for 4-12 weeks. Proper care of the plaster cast will ensure better recovery.
Measures on caring for your plaster cast
- Always keep the leg or arm elevated on a soft surface such as cushions or pillows in the first few days. This helps minimize the swelling and allow the plaster cast to dry correctly.
- Avoid getting the plaster cast wet since it will weaken and the bone could not be properly supported. You can utilize a plastic bag to cover the cast while taking a bath or shower. A sticky tape or rubber band can be used to seal the bag at the top and bottom to ensure that it is watertight as possible.
- You can also look for special covers or bags for plaster casts to ensure that they stay dry.
- Make sure that the bag or plastic cover is removed as soon as possible to avoid sweating that can also damage the cast.
- Even if the plaster cast can cause the skin to feel itchy, it is not advisable to poke anything underneath it since this can trigger a sore. The itchiness should subside after a few days.
Additional care tips
The joints that are not covered by the cast should be exercised to improve circulation.
- Avoid inserting small objects or placing any sprays or powders inside the cast since they can irritate the skin.
- Do not alter the position or length of the cast.
- Use pain medications for pain relief.
- Do not lift heavy objects or drive until the cast is removed.
- Utilize crutches or a sling as recommended by a doctor.
A doctor should be consulted or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department for the following:
- Plaster cast feels too tight after being elevated for 24 hours.
- The toes or fingers on the affected limb feels tingly, swollen, numb or painful.
- Toes or fingers turn bluish or white
- Cast feels too slack
- Cast is cracked or broken
- An unpleasant odor or discharge from the cast
- Skin below or around the edge of the cast feels sore
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on plaster cast care is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly care for a plaster cast on broken bones and fractures, register for a first aid and CPR course with Red Deer First Aid.