Cast & Splint Care Information
What are casts and splints?
Casts and splints help support and protect injured bones and soft tissue
after an injury or surgery. A splint will help provide firm support for
your injured extremity; whereas, a cast will provide a more solid support
and completely encompass your limb. Splints are generally used directly
following a surgery or injury. The splint is open and allows comfort when
you are experiencing swelling. Your Newport Orthopedic Institute doctor
will decide what is best suited for your injury.
What are casts and splints made of?
Casts are generally made out of a soft cotton lining and an outer plaster
or "fiberglass" layer. The hard outer layer aides in protecting
your injury during the healing phase and the soft lining helps to prevent
skin irritation and protects you when the cast is being cut off once you've healed.
Why are casts uncomfortable?
Once you have your cast or splint on, you might notice that at first your
cast or splint may be tight. This is due to the swelling because your
injury is healing. Try to keep the casted/splinted extremity elevated
above the heart as much as possible to reduce swelling. This will help
decrease swelling. The more you can keep the swelling down, the faster
your injury will heal.
Symptoms of swelling in a cast/splint can include:
- Increased pain or feeling like the cast is too tight
- Tingling or numbness
- Coldness or discoloration of extremities
If any of these symptoms occur, elevate extremity above the heart. If symptoms
persist after 1 hour, contact our office immediately.
Caring for your cast
Please call our triage line if any of the following symptoms occur:
(949) 722-5035. If you are calling outside of our normal business hours, please call
our main number to reach the physician on-call:
Signs and Symptoms:
- Severe worsening of pain
- Numbness or tingling in your fingers or toes
- Burning or stinging sensation in the injured area
- Prolonged swelling of the hand or foot (more than 1 hour after elevating
the extremity above the heart)
- Inability to move fingers or toes
How to Care for Your Cast
The following information will help guide you on how to take care of your
cast or split.
Click here to download a PDF with this information.
It is important to keep your cast clean and dry at all times. Avoid getting
the cast/splint wet. When showering, wrap a dry washcloth around the top
of the cast/splint and hold in place with tape or a rubber band. Cover
cast/splint and towel with a plastic bag or waterproof cast cover and
secure with tape or a rubber band. If any water gets in the bag it should
be absorbed by the towel before it gets to the cast/splint. A few drops
of water will not be a problem, but if the bag fails and the cast is saturated,
please contact us immediately, as the cast/splint will need to be replaced.
A wet cast can irritate your skin or cause a rash under the cast. A wet
cast also does not help to heal your injury.
Please note that Cast covers are available at NOI as a cash purchase. Ask
a staff member if this is an option for your injury.
We use materials designed to keep itching under control. If however, you
do have an itch; DO NOT put anything inside the cast to scratch. This
means no pens, pencils, coat hangers, eating utensils, etc. If you insert
anything into the cast you can break the skin, which can then become infected.
Digging in the cast can also dislodge the padding; leaving an area with
no padding. The padded layer is what protects the skin from the saw during
cast removal, so do not remove or alter the padded layer.If you have rough
or rigid edges, do not try to fix them yourself. Please contact NOI to
have one of our trained professionals adjust this for you.
How is my cast removed?
It is not recommended that you remove your cast yourself. You risk cutting
your skin and could interrupt the healing process. Casts are removed with
a special saw. The saw does not spin or rotate so it will not cut your
skin. The protective cotton lining will prevent your from experiencing
any discomfort while the cast is being removed.
How will I know when I'm healed?
Your physician may schedule additional X-rays during your recovery to make
sure the cast or splint is doing its job. X-rays can show whether the
bones are healing well or have moved out of place. The X-ray is able to
see through the cast or splint material to get the best picture possible.
Please try to limit activities like sports and exercise while in a cast.
Remember, you can always make an injury worse.
If you have any questions regarding your cast or splint please call Newport
Orthopedic Institute at
(949) 722-7038 and ask to speak to one of our Orthopedic Technicians.