Plaster Basics

How plasters work?

  • Plaster casts help in keeping the part of the body (usually upper or lower limbs) immobilized, until it can heal.

  • They are important way of rendering protection to bones and surrounding tissue from repeated injury and stress after a fracture (broken bones) or after some surgeries particularly in children

  • Plasters also help in reduction of swelling and pain after an injury or surgery.

  • Plaster Casts play a special role in reducing spasticity along with certain medications in children suffering with cerebral palsy

Putting on a Cast

  • Casts are made of either fiberglass or plaster of paris. Fiberglass is a lightweight, durable plastic. Plaster of paris has been used to make casts for many years.

  • A sock-like bandage (stockinet) is put on the injured arm or leg.

  • The arm or leg is wrapped in cotton to create a padding to protect the skin from the hard cast material.

  • The fiberglass or plaster, which comes in rolls or strips, is dipped in water so it can be molded around the limb.

  • As the wet cast material dries it will harden. Fiberglass casts harden quickly but plaster casts take 24 hours to dry completely.

Getting Used to a Cast

  • Wearing a cast can be strange at first. The injury or surgery site may still hurt after you get your cast put on – this is normal.

  • If there is swelling in the first 24-72 hours after the cast is put on, Ice the cast and the area around the cast in 20-minute periods.

  • Keep the injured body part lifted (elevated) on pillows.

  • Gently move uninjured fingers or toes.

Caring for Casts

  • Keep the cast dry at all times.

  • Wrap the cast in a plastic bag and secure it with tape. This does not "waterproof" the cast – keep it out of the water.

  • Keep dirt and sand out of the cast.

  • Do not try to scratch inside the cast by sticking a sharp object down into the cast. This could scrape or cut the skin inside the cast. Itching usually means the cast has gotten wet inside.

  • Use a hairdryer on "cool" setting pointed down into the cast.

  • Sweating is the most common cause of itching inside a cast.

  • Limit physical activity to "walking only" to prevent sweating and to prevent other injuries.

  • Do not trim the cast or pull padding out of the cast. o Casts can crack or get small holes in them, especially with children because they are very active.

  • .If the cast cracks open or holes become larger than a quarter, call your doctor to have the cast looked at.

Removing Casts

  • Never remove a fiberglass cast at home. This needs to be done at the doctor's office for safety reasons.

  • The technician uses a "cast saw" to remove fiberglass casts. The saw rocks back and forth to cut through the cast material.

  • Plaster casts are removed with a "cast bender."

  • The doctor might take x-rays when the cast is removed to see how the injury has healed.

  • The arm or leg that has been under the cast will be sensitive and stiff at first. This normal and will go away over several days.

  • The skin underneath the cast will be dirty because dried skin has built up. It may look strange after the cast is taken off.

Gently wash the area – do not scrub the skin. This can make the skin become irritated and crack.

When to Call the Doctor

  • Call your doctor's office if your child feels:

  • Increasing pain or tightness in the cast.

    Burning or stinging.

    Too much space inside the cast. For arm casts, this means the cast can be pulled down to the second knuckles. For leg casts, this means the toes can be pulled inside the cast.

    Cast is wet inside and cannot be dried out at home.

  • Seek immediate medical attention if your child experiences:

  • Loss of movement in fingers or toes-

    Numbing or tingling.

    Fingers or toes that look blue in color


Contact Us

Colony Nursing Home | Plot No.60
Shivdutt Housing Society
N-8,South Road, CIDCO,Aurangabad-431003 | For Appointment Contact:9405302073

Direct: (0240)2482779 | Fax: (100) 000-2222


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