Casts similar to yours have been used for thousands of years. Today there are two basic types of casts: plaster of paris and fiberglass. Although more expensive, fiberglass has certain advantages over plaster. It is lighter, may get wet without serious damage and is longer wearing.
Regardless whether your cast is plaster or fiberglass, it has cotton padding underneath to protect the skin and underlying bones from direct contact or pressure from the cast. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THE COTTON PADDING GET WET.
Bones heal just as other tissues heal–through cell building. The bleeding tissues form a clot. New cells enter the clot and produce a network of fibers that bind the tissues together. Finally, special bone-forming cells replace the fibers and produce new bone. At first the bone is spongy and weak. With time and exercise the bone will become as strong as ever.
- Protect the cast until it dries–2 or 3 days for plaster, 1 for fiberglass
- To reduce swelling around the cast, apply ice in a dry plastic bag or ice pack (the ice should go half way around the cast)
- Elevate the injured limb during the first few days. This helps reduce swelling and discomfort
- Exercise your fingers or toes; this also helps reduce swelling
- Use an emery board to smooth any rough cast edges
- Do not scratch or poke anything under your cast
- KEEP YOUR CAST DRY WHEN YOU BATHE OR SHOWER
In the event of any of the following warning signs, you should elevate the injured limb and contact your doctor immediately.
- Extreme pain
- Numbness or tingling not relieved by 15-30 minutes of elevation
- Swelling, discoloration or coldness in fingers or toes
- Extreme tightness under the cast or excessive swelling below the cast
- Broken or damaged cast (please do not attempt to remove the cast)
Keeping Your Cast Dry
It is important to keep your cast dry when bathing or showering. Although a fiberglass cast is impervious to water damage, if the cotton lining becomes wet it may cause skin irritation and possible skin breakdown. If your cotton lining remains wet and you are unable to dry it with a blow dryer and the skin becomes itchy, you should advise your doctor of this condition.
Using Your Aquashield
The opening of your AquaShield has been pre-sized for your limb. It stretches easily over the cast and fits snugly on your limb above the cast. Under no circumstances should you try to enlarge the opening by cutting it. This would destroy the AquaShield. Watch the video to see how it is done.
When your cast is removed, you will notice that the skin under the cast will be dry and flaky. You may wish to apply skin lotion to eliminate the dryness, but be assured that in time your skin will look like new.
Your limb will probably be a little thinner and will feel stiff or mildly painful. Your doctor will give you instructions to rebuild the muscles and ligaments in your injured limb. He may even recommend physical therapy which, if followed, will speed your recovery.
Some swelling may be expected, especially if your leg were casted. Elevation is key to reducing swelling. Remember, however, stiffness, mild pain and swelling are your body’s signals to proceed with caution and to follow your doctor’s orders.
This website is not intended as a substitute for proper medical care. Only your doctor can diagnose and treat your medical problem. It was prepared by AquaShieldUSA to help you understand your injury, its healing process and the proper care required for a complete recovery from your injury. We hope your convalescence goes well and your recovery is complete. Remember the warning signs and contact your doctor if any problems arise. AquaShield is a registered trademark of Orthomed Products, Inc.