A fracture casting appointment immobilises a broken bone, allowing it to heal properly. A specialised device, known as a cast, is placed around the bone to maintain optimal alignment. Made from a plaster-type material, the cast hardens to create a rigid shell that supports and protects the bone during the healing process.
What Happens During a Fracture Casting Appointment?
During the fracture casting appointment, your broken bone is set into a cast using the following process:
After the cast is applied, it’s important to keep it dry and clean to aid in the healing process and avoid complications. Any signs of discomfort or changes in sensation around the cast area should warrant immediate attention.
Upon receiving a plaster cast, aftercare is vital to ensure the bone heals correctly and to prevent any possible complications. This includes keeping the cast dry, particularly during showers and baths. Cover it with a waterproof bag or cast protector and avoid submerging it in water. It’s also essential to avoid putting pressure on the cast, such as leaning on it or using it for support.
While plaster casting is generally a safe procedure, there are potential risks and complications, including skin irritation, stiffness of the joints and infection. In rare cases, a condition known as compartment syndrome may occur, where increased pressure within an enclosed space in the body can affect circulation. It’s crucial to be aware of these risks and contact a healthcare provider immediately if you experience persistent discomfort, swelling, unusual smells or any changes in skin colour around the cast.
Adapting to daily life with a cast can be challenging, but there are ways to make it easier. For instance, it’s helpful to elevate the cast above heart level when possible to reduce swelling. You may need to modify your activities and avoid sports or strenuous tasks until the bone is healed. If you find the cast uncomfortable, it can be helpful to use a hairdryer set on cool to blow air down the cast and relieve itching. Please refrain from sticking any objects, like a wire coat hanger, inside the cast to scratch an itch, as this could lead to a skin infection.
How can I manage daily chores with a cast on?
Depending on the location of your plaster, you may need to modify how you perform certain daily chores. Always be mindful not to wet the plaster or apply unnecessary pressure on it. Tasks can be broken down into manageable steps, and it might be beneficial to ask for assistance when needed.
Can I drive with a cast?
Generally, it’s best to avoid driving with a plaster, especially if it immobilises your dominant hand or leg. It’s essential to prioritise safety and avoid actions that could cause further injury.
What should I do if the plaster feels too tight?
If your plaster feels too tight, it could mean that there is increased swelling within the plaster. Try to elevate the plaster and reduce physical activity. If the tightness persists, you should seek immediate medical attention.
How can I bathe or shower with a cast?
Bathing or showering with a plaster requires precaution. Cover the plaster with a waterproof bag or cast protector and avoid submerging it in water.
What activities should I avoid while wearing a plaster?
While wearing a plaster, it’s best to avoid sports or strenuous tasks that could damage the plaster or hinder the healing process of your injury. It’s crucial to be mindful of your physical activity and adapt your routine as needed, always prioritising your injury’s recovery.