Your healthcare provider just gave you a cast made of plaster or fiberglass. This cast will hold your arm or leg in place to help it heal. Though it might feel a bit awkward at first, you’ll soon get used to it. During the coming days and weeks, the way you treat your cast can play a big part in how fast and how well you heal.
If a plaster cast gets wet, it can soften and fall apart. And if the padding of a fiberglass cast gets wet, it can irritate and damage your skin. So your cast must stay dry.
Avoid activities that can get your cast wet. These include swimming, fishing, washing dishes, and even going out in the rain.
Bathe as directed by your healthcare provider. When you bathe, keep your cast out of water and wrapped in plastic.
Don’t soak your cast in water, even if it’s wrapped in plastic.
If your cast does get wet, try drying it as soon as possible. To do this, use a hair dryer set to cool. Call your healthcare provider if your cast doesn’t dry within 24 hours.
For the best results, remember the following:
Do keep the cast clean and dry. Cover it with plastic to protect it when around dirt or water.
Do use any support you are given, such as crutches or a sling.
Do elevate the cast above your heart whenever possible.
Don’t slide anything inside the cast, even to scratch your skin.
Don’t put lotions or powders around the cast or inside it.
Don’t hit the cast.
Don’t cut the cast or pull it apart.
Don’t wash the cast.
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:
Swelling or cast tightness that does not improve with elevation
If your cast breaks
If your cast gets wet and cannot be dried
If you have increasing pain, numbness, or tingling