I Need a Cast, Now What?

So you have an injury and are told you need a cast. Sometimes an injury or trauma occurs and warrants some type of immobilization. Your provider may decide that a splint or cast may be the best option to immobilize the injured area. At Spectrum Orthopaedics, our casting team is available for same-day placement – your provider, or a team member, can walk you right over to our casting room. Once you’re in the casting room, the team will review your medical history as well as your injury with you. It may be determined that you need a new x-ray; which we are also able to capture at that time! Our casting team follow directions that your provider writes specific to your injury.

Some patients may initially need a splint. This may be because there is some expected fluctuation in swelling with your injury. If this is the case, a splint is more comfortable while your body heals. You can most likely expect to wear your splint until the swelling resolves or any wounds you have heal.

Splint placement:

  • A cast tech will prepare special padding specific to you and your injury.
  • The splint itself is made of “Plaster of Paris” which is a material that achieves an ideal mold to your affected area and allows for the fluctuation of swelling. The plaster does get warm while it cures, but it will not hurt!
  • At the end of curing, a tech will comfortably place snug ace wraps for compression.
  • The plaster takes several hours to dry completely.
  • When you have your splint on, it’s important to remember that elevation will reduce both pain and swelling.

If your swelling has resolved or wound/incisions have healed, it may be time for a cast!

Cast placement:

  • First thing’s first, you get to pick your color. We offer purple, navy blue, red, hot pink, black, or green. We can even add glitter if you want!
  • Once you’ve picked your colors, the casting tech will add specific pads for your injury. These pads will cover all bony areas to prevent rubbing. This helps with comfort as well as establishing an ideal fit.
  • The cast material is then placed. It is polyester based, which looks very similar to fiberglass, but differs as it’s lighter weight and more breathable.
  • The material is hard circumferentially making it more rigid and durable than the splint material.
  • You can expect the cast material to heat up while it cures, but again it will not hurt!
  • Once the cast dries, a soft adhesive edging is placed around the edges of the cast.

A cast shouldn’t be too tight, too loose or uncomfortable. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, it’s important to let your care team know so that they can get you in to fix the issue. Before you leave, your team will review everything you need to know about your plan of care as well as how to care for your cast.

To see what the process looks like, take a look at our mascot, Scrubby the Spectrum Schnauzer, getting his cast placed!

To learn about cast removal, click here.

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