Plaster Cast Care
Children sometimes need cast for proper healing of injured bone. Parents as well as kids will have lots of queries regarding cast. In this blog we will try to answer few common ones.
- What is a plaster cast? A cast is something which prevents bone from moving and helps in early healing. It is basically a big bandage with multiple layers (soft cotton inside and hard outer layer) to prevent bone from moving.
- Types of Casts available? Mainly 2 types:
- Plaster of Paris (POP): white powder bandage that forms a thick paste and hardens quickly when mixed with water. Once hard and dried they need to be prevented from getting wet
- Fiberglass or Synthetic: they are plastic material which is mold able, comes in various bright colors, water resistant and are lighter in weight but heavier on your pocket (expensive).
- How cast is applied? Initially layer of soft cotton is wrapped around injured area after cleaning. Next, either fiberglass or POP cast is applied over soft inner layer.
- Can POP cast get wet? NO, a big No. Wet cast will not hold in place and may even irritate the underlying skin. Cover in plastic bag if you need to go near water. Give sponge bath instead of shower.
- Can Fiberglass or synthetic cast get wet? They are water proof from outside but inside soft padding can get wet.
- Can my friends sign or draw on my POP cast? Yes, surely it can make the whole experience little less painful for the kids. You can even put stickers and draw some pictures and messages. It will be difficult to write on fiberglass cast.
- What to do if my child has itching? Try to blow some cool air using hair dryer (never use warm or hot air). Do not put oil or baby powder or scratch; as it can irritate skin, can even lead to infection.
- What to do if skin or finger’s get blue or pale or tingling sensation? It could be very tight plaster so consult your doctor immediately. There could be redness at the edges of fiberglass cast if child picks on the padding underneath.
- If the cast cracks, what can be done? Consult your doctor for that. It can occur due to cast being hit or crushed or injured area beneath has swelled.
- Will cast be painful? For 1st few days it can be painful (but not very severe), doctor might prescribe pain killer medications like ibuprofen. After a while it is fine.
- Is it necessary to put all broken bones under cast? some fractures like ribs, collarbone do not need casts , they heal on its own. Some may need special strap like “figure of eight strap for collar bone”. Splint or buddy tape for fractured finger.
- How will the cast be removed? Using electric saw. It might look scary and child might feel vibratory movement. It is very quick and painless procedure.
13. Once cast is removed, what next? It might look very pale, dry and small. You may feel very weak while moving the body part. But do not worry everything will be fine soon. You will need good physiotherapy for early recovery. Exercise under warm water will also help.
When to call doctor urgently:
- High grade fever
- Severe Pain
- Tingling or numbness
- Swelling or redness increases near plaster cast
- Cold peripheries
- Foul smelling discharge from cast
Key Points or Summary:
- Keep cast clean and dry
- Can put extra padding near rough edges of cast to protect against scratches.
- In case of Itching over skin, hair dryer can be used in cool setting. But never blow hot air into cast.
- Do not insert anything to scratch inside the cast.
- Encourage child to move his or her fingers or toes to promote circulation
- Do not bear weight on the cast
Feel free to call your doctor or MAYA CLINIC for any queries.
Dr Rahul Varma
“ Healthy Kids, Happy Family”