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Cast Care

Home care instructions for arm and leg casts.

Skin Care

  • Keep the cast clean and dry. When bathing, cover the cast completely with a large plastic bag, or sponge bathe only.
  • A wet cast will make the cast weak and can also lead to skin breakdown. A wet cast also smells more. Cast covers or bags can be purchased at most large drug stores.
  • Your child’s cast will probably start to smell over time. If it becomes unbearable you can place two small drops of oil of wintergreen over the cast (available at any dug store).
  • Do not put talcum powder or ointments on the skin near the cast.
  • Do not let your child put things inside of the cast (i.e., food crumbs, small toys, coins, crayons, etc.) If these objects remain in the cast for a long period of time it will cause skin sores.
  • Do not allow your child to use a hanger or anything similar to scratch inside the cast. These can cause injury to the skin that can not be seen underneath the cast. To decrease itching sensation, you can utilize a hair dryer using a low cool setting. Do not use heat settings.

Things to Do

  • Check fingers and/or toes for good circulation. They should be pink and warm.
  • Elevate your child’s cast with at least 2 pillows (above the level of the heart) unless otherwise indicated by your doctor.
  • Do not allow your child to walk on the cast unless indicated by your doctor. If you child is allowed to walk on the cast, they should always use a cast shoe.

Call the Doctor If

  • You see extreme redness of the fingers or toes, especially associated with swelling.
  • There is continuous swelling of the involved fingers or toes.
  • The fingers/toes are purple, and are extremely cold.
  • Your child complains of numbness of the fingers/toes or complains of tingling or “pins and needles”.
  • Your child complains of persistent pain that is not relieved by your child’s prescribed pain medication.
  • If there is a foul odor or unexplained drainage from the cast.