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Health & Wellness

How to Care for Your Child’s Cast

By Lafayette General Orthopaedic Hospital
September 13, 2019

Wearing a cast can be awkward for your child but sometimes it’s the best way to help a broken bone heal correctly. While some fractures are able to triaged and treated with splints or slings, when a bone segment is out of place – it requires realignment and cast to be held secure.

 

Below are some tips and tricks to care for a cast while recovering:

  • Avoid getting non-waterproof casts wet.

If the padding inside a cast gets wet, it won’t dry. Neither will the skin next to it. That can cause significant problems, including skin infection, skin death and permanent scarring.

 

  •  Splash protection covers are your friend.

Using a plastic bag or a cast cover (available in most stores) makes life easier when it comes to bathing and swimming. We understand bathtub dunks and other accidents do happen. If your child gets their cast wet, call the doctor as soon as possible. The cast should be replaced within 24 hours.

 

  • That pen won’t stop the itch.

Don’t stick anything in the cast to try and scratch an itch. Broken or irritated skin — which you can’t always detect under a cast — can lead to infection. If something presses on the skin for too long, it can cause severe irritation or scarring.  Do soothe itches by using a hair dryer to blow cool air into the cast or an antihistamine. Never put powder, lotion — or anything else — inside the cast.

 

  • Call the doctor if your child has pain, tingling or swelling.

The fingers, toes or other body parts extending from your child’s cast should be their normal size and color. If they are changing color, swelling or numb, the cast may be too tight.

 

Other reasons to get to a doctor include:

 

  • Foul odor from the cast
  • A crack or break in the cast
  • Increased pain
  • Fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit

For questions or concerns about your child's cast or healing, call the Lafayette General Orthopaedic Center (right inside the Orthopaedic Hospital) at (337) 703.3201.