- General information
- Cast care tips
- Warning sign after application of a splint/cast
- proper plaster removal
Casts are often used to treat non-displaced fractures or soft tissue injuries.
Splints and casts support and protect injured bones and soft tissues, reducing pain, swelling and muscle spasms. In some cases, splints and plaster casts are used after the operation.
These molds are customized and applied by your doctor or assistant. Molds are usually made of plaster of paris or fiberglass. Studs or half-casts can also be custom made, especially when an exact fit is required. In other cases, commercially available rails are used. These commercially available splints come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them easier and quicker to apply. They feature Velcro straps to easily adjust the splint and make it easy to put on and take off. Unfortunately, a splint offers less support and protection than a cast and may not be a treatment option in all cases.
Fiberglass or plaster of paris material forms the hard backing layer in the splint and plaster of paris. Fiberglass is lighter, more durable and "breathes" better than plaster of paris. Both materials come in strips or rolls that are soaked in water and applied to a cotton or synthetic padding layer that covers the injured area.With fiberglass and plaster of paris splints and casts, a filler (usually cotton) is used as a protective layer next to the skin.
When using cotton pads, chemical fiber pads or plasters, the plaster must be kept dry. Serious problems can arise when these materials get wet. If the cast gets wet, it will soften and lose its strength and may no longer adequately support the injured area. Therefore, if the cast is not replaced, the fracture may heal in the wrong place. Cotton or synthetic upholstery may be difficult to dry when wet. This can cause the moist skin under the pad to develop a rash, become inflamed, or macerate. All of these disorders require additional treatment. In order to keep such patches dry, it is necessary to use commercially available plastic bath bags.
More recently, Gortex plaster interiors have been developed. The liner is fully waterproof, allowing the patient to fully submerge the cast without the protection of a plastic bag. With this type of cast pad coupled with the application of a fiberglass cast, the patient can engage in activities such as bathing and swimming without worrying about keeping the injured limb dry. However, in some clinical situations such plaster fillings cannot be used.
In order to ensure optimal support, the splint or cast must be precisely adapted to the shape of the injured arm or leg. Sometimes the cast needs to be replaced when the swelling goes down and the cast becomes "too big." Once the fracture has healed, the splint can often be reapplied to facilitate removal for treatment.
Cast care tips
In order for the treatment to be successful, you must carefully follow your doctor's instructions. The following information is for general guidance only and does not replace the advice of a doctor.
1. Swelling caused by the injury may put pressure on the splint or cast for the first 48 to 72 hours. This makes the injured arm or leg feel tight in the splint or cast. Reduce Swelling:
- Raise the injured arm or leg over your heart and support it with a pillow or other support. If the splint or cast is on your leg, you will need to bend. The altitude allows clear fluid and blood to flow "downhill" to the heart.
- Exercise your fingers or toes to reduce swelling, prevent stiffness, and increase blood flow.
- Apply ice to the splint or cast. Place ice cubes in a dry plastic bag or ice pack and wrap loosely around the splint or pour over the injured area. Packing ice cubes in a hard container and only touching part of the mold is not effective.
2. If it is cotton or chemical fiber lining or plaster, please keep the plaster dry. Shower with a swim bag.
3. If you have a cast, you can shower or swim, but rinse it under running water afterwards.
4. File off any unevenness with sandpaper.
5. To relieve any itching symptoms, cool air can be blown into the plaster cast with a hair dryer.
6. Check blood flow by pressing on the nail bed. The nail should turn white when pressure is applied, but return to its normal color once pressure on the nail is released. If not, please contact your doctor.
7. Check the skin around the cast. Contact your doctor if the skin around the cast turns red or cracks.
8. Check the plaster regularly. If it breaks or develops soft spots, contact your doctor.
9. Keep dirt, sand and dust away from the inside of the plywood or plaster.
What not to do when caring for a cast
1. Unless you have a Gortex cast, do not wet the cast.
2. Do not insert objects such as hangers into the cast to relieve itching. Instead, use the cool setting of a hair dryer to blow air into the plaster.
3. Do not apply body powder or deodorant to itchy skin. If itching persists, contact your doctor.
4. Do not pull on the plasterboard. It protects your skin.
5. Do not break or trim the molding edges.
Warning sign after application of a splint/cast
After applying a splint or cast, it is important to elevate the injured arm or leg for 24 to 72 hours. The injured area should be higher than the heart. By resting and elevating the body, initial swelling is minimized, significantly reducing pain and speeding the healing process.If you experience any of the following warning signs, contact your doctor's office immediately.
- Increased pain and swelling that cannot be controlled with ice, elevation, and/or painkillers.
- The splint or cast feels too tight.
- Numbness and tingling in the hands or feet.
- Burn and burn.
- Excessive swelling under the cast.
- Loss of mobility in a toe or finger that needs urgent evaluation by your doctor.
- There is a feeling of bubbles in the plaster.
- Feel your calf swelling, tight and sore in the cast.
- You notice unusual odors in the plaster.
- If the plaster cracks or becomes too loose.
- If the fused edges cause skin problems.
- If you have a fever.
proper plaster removal
Never remove the patch yourself. You could injure your skin or prevent the wound from healing properly. Your doctor will remove the cast with a cast saw. Saw vibrates but does not rotate. When the saw blade touches the spacer in the plaster case, the spacer will vibrate with the saw blade.
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Casts and splints hold the bones in place while they heal. They also reduce pain, swelling, and muscle spasm.What are the 2 goals of cast braces and splint? ›
A splint, cast, or brace is used to hold the body part in one position Splints, casts, and braces support and protect broken bones, dislocated joints, and injured soft tissues such as tendons and ligaments.What is the difference between an ortho splint and cast? ›
What is the difference between a cast and a splint? A cast wraps all the way around an injury and can only be removed in the doctor's office. All casts are custom-made with fiberglass or plaster. A splint is like a “half cast.” The hard part of a splint does not wrap all the way around the injured area.Is a splint better than a cast? ›
Splints, also known as half-casts, provide less support than casts, but are faster and easier to use. They also can be tightened or loosened easily if the swelling in the arm or leg increases or decreases. Ready-made or off-the-shelf splints are available in many different sizes and shapes.What helps broken bones heal faster? ›
In particular, calcium, vitamin D and protein will be important during the bone healing process, so be sure you're focusing on food sources rich in these nutrients, including dark, leafy greens, broccoli, fish, meat, yogurt, nuts and seeds.What are 3 things you should not do while splinting? ›
Never stick items under your splint to scratch the skin. Do not use oils or lotions near your splint. If the skin becomes red or sore around the edge of the splint, you may pad the edges with a soft material, such as moleskin, or use tape to cover the edges.What are the two rules of splinting? ›
A basic rule of splinting is that the joint above and below the broken bone should be immobilized to protect the fracture site. For example, if the lower leg is broken, the splint should immobilize both the ankle and the knee. Pulses and sensation should be checked below the splint at least once per hour.What are 3 important things to remember when applying a splint? ›
- Ensure adequate analgesia before splint application. ...
- Ensure that any soft-tissue injuries are addressed before splint placement.
- Apply a stockinette circumferentially to the injured area. ...
- Pad bony prominences such as the elbow, knee, or calcaneus with at least 1 cm to 2 cm of soft cast padding.
Do not take your splint or cast off unless instructed to do so by your therapist. There are some basic principles of sleep hygiene that can be useful to try to improve your quality of sleep: Try to avoid screens one hour before bedtime.Is a splint better than a brace? ›
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SPLINT AND A BRACE? Essentially, there is no difference between a splint and a brace; the words can be used interchangeably. Sometimes a splint is also called an orthosis. A splint or brace is a device used to hold a body part still after an injury or surgery.
Braces are mainly used to help heal sprains or tears, which require occasional movement in order to rehabilitate the limb and bone. Splints are also stable support devices, but they are used in short term or more emergency type conditions.How many hours should you wear a splint? ›
Do not wear splint for longer than two hours at a time, as this may weaken your hand muscles.What are the 3 types of cast? ›
|Type of cast||Location|
|Shoulder spica cast||Applied around the trunk of the body to the shoulder, arm, and hand.|
|Minerva cast||Applied around the neck and trunk of the body.|
|Short leg cast||Applied to the area below the knee to the foot.|
Technically speaking, the answer to the question “can broken bones heal without a cast?” is yes. Assuming conditions are just right, a broken bone can heal without a cast. However, (and very importantly) it doesn't work in all cases. Likewise, a broken bone left to heal without a cast may heal improperly.What broken bone takes the longest to heal? ›
Most fractures heal in 6-8 weeks, but this varies tremendously from bone to bone and in each person based on many of the factors discussed above. Hand and wrist fractures often heal in 4-6 weeks whereas a tibia fracture may take 20 weeks or more.How much vitamin D for bone healing? ›
Your doctor may recommend up to 5000u Vitamin D3 daily during periods of bone healing (available over-the-counter at your pharmacy). Like muscles, bones need exercise to stay strong.What vitamin helps heal broken bones? ›
It is commonly believed that the only nutrients needed for healthy bones and, therefore, the only ones that can enhance the fracture healing process are vitamin D and calcium .What is the golden rule of splinting? ›
Splint should be tied firmly to immobilize the fractured limb, then check for blood circulation to ensure the splinting is not too tight. Correct splinting provides pain relief. If the fractured limb is bent with a sharp bone end protruding through the skin, keep it motionless.What to avoid while wearing a cast? ›
Avoid placing powder, lotion or deodorant on or near the cast. Leave adjustments to your child's doctor. Don't pull the padding out of your child's cast. Don't trim the cast or break off rough edges without first asking your child's doctor.What is the most serious complication of casting and splinting? ›
Compartment syndrome is the most serious complication of casting or splinting. It is a condition of increased pressure within a closed space that compromises blood flow and tissue perfusion and causes ischemia and potentially irreversible damage to the soft tissues within that space.
THE FIT SHOULD BE SNUG, BUT NOT TIGHT
However, it should not be so tight that your extremity below the cast or splint is turning blue, purple, feels numb or tingly or cold to the touch. Conversely, the fit should not be loose enough to allow your limb to be moving or sliding inside of the cast or splint.
Disadvantages of splinting include lack of patient compliance and increased motion at the injury site. Casting involves circumferential application of plaster or fiberglass.What precautions should be taken when splinting? ›
- Wear your splint according to your doctor's instructions.
- Keep the splint dry at all times. ...
- If a splint gets wet, dry it with a hair dryer on the “cool” setting. ...
- Always keep the splint clean and away from dirt.
- Wash the Velcro straps and inner cloth sleeve (stockinet) with soapy water and air dry.
Plaster casts are made up of a bandage and a hard covering, usually plaster of paris. They allow broken bones in the arm or leg to heal by holding them in place, and usually need to stay on for between 4 and 12 weeks. Taking good care of your cast will help ensure a better recovery.What are the 4 general rules to splinting? ›
Measure splint appropriately, then apply splint to immobilize limb above and below injury. Pad splint as necessary, then secure splint in place. Reassess circulation and motor and sensory function. Elevate splinted part, if possible.Does a cast get loose over time? ›
A cast can become too loose, especially after the initial bout of swelling subsides. A child should not be able to remove the cast or significantly move the affected limb under the cast.Which is the most serious type of fracture? ›
If the bone breaks in such a way that bone fragments stick out through the skin, or a wound penetrates down to the broken bone, the fracture is called an open fracture. This type of fracture is particularly serious because once the skin is broken, infection in both the wound and the bone can occur.Do splints reduce pain? ›
A working splint holds the joint in position, improving joint alignment and stability. This helps decrease stress on painful or damaged joints during activities. Working splints can help improve function and reduce pain.What is the most common type of splint? ›
Permissive. The most common type of occlusal splints, the permissive splint allows the muscles to seat the jaw joints in their sockets, helping prevent bite disharmony.Can a broken bone move in a cast? ›
Your child should also avoid physical activities – if a child falls onto their plaster cast or damages it, the fractured bone can move out of alignment and it may not heal in the correct position.
If you have an upper body cast or your leg is in a plaster cast below your knee and you can bend your knee, you'll be able to sit in a normal seat. If your plaster cast covers your knee, you won't be able to bend it, so you'll need to make special seating arrangements with your airline.Should I wear my splint all day? ›
It's best not to wear your splint all the time, otherwise your joints may become stiff. And you shouldn't wear a working splint overnight unless you've been advised to by your therapist or nurse.Should you walk with a splint? ›
You may be able to walk with an ankle splint, but often not right away. After injuries such as sprains, fractures, and dislocations occur, they usually need time to heal before weight-bearing. Walking or weight bearing too soon may slow healing or cause further damage.What is an alternative to a splint? ›
Use your puffy jacket or the base layers you packed for padding in an improvised splint. Small base layers like socks work great rolled up to hold fingers in a position of function. Larger base layers, like long sleeved shirts and scarves, can work well as slings for upper body splints.Why does my splint hurt my teeth? ›
You probably will have sore teeth, a sore tongue and some muscle pain after getting your splint. This is only the muscles and your teeth becoming accustomed to the splint. These symptoms should subside in a few days.Does splint align teeth? ›
What is a dental splint used for? Depending on the needs of each patient, a dental splint is used for a number of different things. Splints for your teeth can fix bite problems, align teeth, or even help whiten teeth by adding whitening products to them.Do splints work on loose teeth? ›
Teeth that have become loose because of lost gum tissue can benefit from a new technique called dental splinting which attaches weak teeth together, turning them into a single unit that is stable and stronger than the single teeth by themselves. The procedure is most commonly performed on the front teeth.How long does a splint bone take to heal? ›
Veterinarians use many different methods to treat splint bone conditions. However, the horse should be rested and placed on soft ground for at least 30 days.How long does a splint take to heal? ›
Casts and splints hold broken bones in place while they heal. New hard bone forms in about 3–6 weeks, and the cast or splint usually can come off. After the cast or splint comes off, you may not be ready to return to gym and sports right away.Is a bone completely healed when a cast comes off? ›
Even after a cast is removed, it can take some time for a bone to be considered “fully healed.” In most cases, it takes around 6 to 8 weeks for a minor fracture to heal. More severe fractures can take between 3 and 6 months to fully heal even after the cast is removed.
Some pain during the first few days of wearing a cast is typical. A person may also be experiencing pain related to the injury, such as soreness and bruising from a broken bone. The affected area will also swell at first, making the cast feel snug and even a bit painful.How do you walk after a cast removal? ›
Try to walk with the foot as straight as possible as this will help improve the strength of your calf muscles. Rehabilitation: An important part of the treatment after cast removal is early rehabilitation. It will encourage recovery and help prevent re-injury and/or chronic problems.How long does it take for 70 year old bones to heal? ›
A: It varies. If you follow your doctor's instructions and allow for adequate rest and recovery time, your bone should heal within three to six months. More extensive injuries, especially those that involve a joint, may require two years or more for optimal recovery.Why don t doctors use casts anymore? ›
But casts–and other treatments for arm and leg injuries– have changed over the years. For many fractures, casts still play a crucial role in the healing process. But for other injuries, orthopaedists are now opting for removable modern splints and boots that offer greater comfort and flexibility.What 2 things does applying a splint do? ›
A splint is a supportive device used to keep in place any suspected fracture in one's arm or leg. Splint is used to: Provide pain relief of the fractured limb. Support bone ends of the fracture site.What are the advantages of casts and splints? ›
Casts and splints serve to immobilize orthopedic injuries (Table 1). They promote healing, maintain bone alignment, diminish pain, protect the injury, and help compensate for surrounding muscular weakness.Why are casts used for fractures? ›
A cast holds a broken bone (fracture) in place and prevents the area around it from moving as it heals. Casts also help prevent or decrease muscle contractions and help keep the injured area immobile, especially after surgery, which can also help decrease pain.What are two examples of conditions for which a splint may be applied? ›
Splints can be used for joints affected by arthritis or for other conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. There are two main types of splint: splints used while resting the joints of the hand and wrist. splints used to support the hand and wrist while working.How long does a cast stay on for a fracture? ›
On average, plaster casts stay on for about six weeks, depending on your age, general health and type of fracture. Even once the plaster is removed, the bone is still healing so you should take care for at least another month.Can a bone heal without a cast? ›
Technically speaking, the answer to the question “can broken bones heal without a cast?” is yes. Assuming conditions are just right, a broken bone can heal without a cast. However, (and very importantly) it doesn't work in all cases. Likewise, a broken bone left to heal without a cast may heal improperly.
Broken bones usually heal and get strong again, but not always. When broken bones don't heal back together it is call non-union, and that can cause a lot of problems.What are the 4 main types of splints? ›
- Static. As the name suggests, a static splint has no moving parts. ...
- Dynamic. A dynamic splint will still support an injured area; however, the primary purpose is to assist with controlled movement. ...
- Serial static. ...
- Static progressive.
Background. Splints/orthoses are often recommended to patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to decrease pain, reduce swelling, and/or prevent deformity. These orthoses include resting hand splints, wrist supports, finger splints, and special shoes and shoe inserts.