How to Deal With Wearing a Cast

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After an injury to a bone or ligament, your doctor may use a cast to immobilize the limb in order to speed the healing process. Although wearing a cast is awkward, there are techniques you can use to reduce the inconvenience.

  • Keep your cast dry. Although some casts made of fiberglass allow the wearer to swim or bathe, most casts should stay dry. If you get a permanent cast wet, mold may form against your skin, increasing the risk of infection.

  • Cover your cast with a plastic bag and secure it with tape or a rubber band before bathing. Even with the bag on, keep your arm or leg out of the water. If you have a full-length leg cast, you will need to take sponge baths instead of tub baths.

  • Gently tap on your cast if you experiencing itching. As bones and ligaments heal, you may have severe itching but refrain from sticking coat hangers or other objects into your cast to scratch. Instead, tap on the cast repeatedly until the itch is gone.

  • Apply ice to your cast if directed by your doctor to reduce swelling and pain. Put crushed ice into a zip-type, heavy-duty baggie and place over the painful area. Because the coolness takes longer to penetrate the cast material, you may have to wait longer for relief.

  • Cut the outside seam from a pair of jeans and poke holes on both sides at equal distances. Use super-long shoestrings to lace up the pant leg over your cast. Make sure to choose pants that you will discard after your cast comes off.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ask your doctor for a colored cast or one with a pattern. You might as well be stylish while your bone heals.
  • Call your doctor if you notice a disagreeable odor coming from your cast. If you sweat, the skin under your cast may become damp and mildew. To prevent an infection, your doctor may recommend that you blow dry the area under the cast.
  • Contact your doctor immediately if the skin color under your cast becomes gray or bluish. In addition, if the pain increases at the location of the broken bone, an immediate call to your doctor is in order.
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