Paul B. Roache, MD - Orthopaedic Specialist
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In this section:

Arthritis

Arthroscopy

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Shoulder Instability

Shoulder Rehibilitation

Tennis Elbow

Rotator Cuff

Cast Care

Healing with R.I.C.E.

Sprains

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Cast Care:

Your Cast:† Synthetic

  • One of the advantages of a synthetic cast is that it can get somewhat wet, unlike the traditional plaster cast.† However, check with the doctor to make sure that your injury can get wet!† To protect the cast while you bathe, cover the top with a towel or washcloth, and then tape plastic around the entire cast.
  • Keeping your cast dry will help to keep your skin healthy. If you get your cast wet, dry it thoroughly with a towel and hairdryer set on low.

Your Cast:† Plaster

  • It can take up to 2 or 3 days for your plaster cast to dry completely. In that time, avoid resting it against hard surfaces ≠ you donít want you cast to harden with potentially painful dents.†
  • Donít get your plaster cast wet! Once itís damp, your cast will no longer be effective and youíll have to get a new one. Keep your cast dry with towels and plastic, as with synthetic casts, and ask the doctor arm sleeves to help keep the cast dry. †

Tips for Comfortable Healing

  • In the first few days, elevate your injury ABOVE YOUR HEART to allow the fluids around your injury to drain.† This will help keep down swelling, too.
  • Though it might itch, never scratch or poke sharp objects down your cast ≠ a skin infection can result.† Instead, try to wait it out for a few days.† If the itching still hasnít improved, try a hair dryer set on cool.
  • Wiggle your fingers! This movement will help keep healthy circulation, reducing swelling and helping along the healing process.
  • Make sleeping more comfortable by cushioning your cast with pillows. †

When to Call the Doctor

Though some pain and swelling, and discomfort is common with a new cast, elevate your injury and call the doctor immediately if you experience

  • Constant rubbing, redness or chaffing
  • Tightness or swelling
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Increased pain
  • Foul odor or increased itching
  • Swollen, blue or fingers that are cold to the touch
  • Damaged cast ≠ keep your injury as still as possible before having your cast replaced
When the Cast Comes offÖ
  • Your skin will look dry and flaky.† It will recover, but in the meantime use body lotion to help alleviate the dryness.
  • Your arm will be thinner, lighter and even a little painful.† Follow the doctorís orders to help rebuild your muscles and ligaments. If you experience swelling, remember:† ELEVATE YOUR INJURY!
  • Take it easy; healing takes time. Follow the doctorís instructions about continuing with your regular activities.† Check back with the doctor if you experience any persistent pain. †
LastlyÖ
  • Be Patient! Remember, you canít rush the healing process. Young bones can heal relatively quickly, but after the age of about 20 bones heal more slowly.†
  • While youíre healing try to keep your injury as still as possible, and avoid trying to use your recovering limb.

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