Arm cast and leg cast care
An arm cast and leg cast is made of a combination of materials. Most casts today are fiberglass on the outside — that’s the same stuff they use to make Corvettes! The inside is lined with a stocking and soft cast padding to prevent rubbing of bony joints on the hard fiberglass.
How to bathe with a cast
The stocking and padding can absorb water and other liquids, so they should be kept as dry as possible. The best way to avoid accidental leaks is to avoid water altogether.
Here are some suggestions for bathing with a cast:
- Cover the cast with plastic bags. Check the bag first to be sure it doesn’t already have a leak. Double-bag your cast, just to be sure.
- Seal the top of the bag to the skin with tape. Even with the cast covered, never dunk the arm cast or leg cast in water! The bag will repel a splash but usually won’t survive a dunking.
- If the cast does get wet, blot it dry as best you can. Let water run out first, then blow cool air from a hair dryer in the ends. Be sure the air is cool. A warm blow dryer can burn your skin!
- If the cast is too wet even after drying, it may make the skin under the cast break down. The only way to fix this is to change the whole cast.
How to deal with itching
Itching under the cast is very common. Tapping the outside of the cast can satisfy some itches. If you use a pen to scratch inside, the top may come off inside the cast and leave a nasty bruise on the skin where it is stuck. Benadryl or Zyrtec are effective at making the itch more tolerable, especially if it is keeping you up at night. These medicines may cause sleepiness.
Cover the foot of a leg cast
If you are allowed to walk on a leg cast, make sure you use a shoe or other device on the foot of the cast. Without it, the cast bottom is slick, and you could fall and break something else! Also, the cast might wear out and crack without protection.
Most important thing? Have fun
We strongly encourage you to have fun and decorate your cast! We love to see your artwork when you return.
Connect with Norton Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville.
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