Sunday, November 05, 2006

10 things you should know before putting your leg in a plaster cast

Most of us have seen a plaster, many have been in one. To avoid a ugly complication, follow these simple 10 tips.

  1. Do not wet the plaster cast, it will break.
  2. Keep the limb elevated. If your sitting on your couch do not let your limb hang downwards but elevate it on a stool. This helps decrease the swelling.
  3. If your cast breaks, becomes loose or soft in places, go back to the doc. A broken cast fails to immobilise the limb - your fracture may not heal properly.
  4. Do not cut part of the cast or try and remove the cast on your own. You may not succeed or may cause injury.
  5. Ask your doctor about prophylaxis against thrombo-embolism. If you have the risk factors, you'll need it.
  6. The skin below the cast may develop a sore, especially at pressure points. A bad odor & excessive pain should alert you.
  7. In case of a lower limb cast, ask your doctor how much weight you can bear on the limb. It could range from nil to full.
  8. For heavens sake, do not put anything into the cast (like a hairpin to scratch the skin)
  9. This one is the latest - if your child is getting a cast removed, use ear plugs. The noise from the plaster cutting saw causes excessive anxiety in the child
  10. Run to your doc if you get any of the following symptoms
  • excessive swelling
  • excessive pain
  • a feeling of tightness
  • bluish discoloration of skin
  • tingling in your toes or fingers

Your doctor will immediately loosen or remove the cast. If prompt action is not taken, a compartment syndrome may develop. It basically means there is too much pressure which causes a decrease in the blood supply of the limb & may lead to gangrene.(you definitely don't want that to happen.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I broke my fifth metarsal mid shaft with no displacement and will have this half cast (walking) on for 8 weeks... I would like to have the cast trimmed back to the ankle area now because when the bone is healed, I will not be able to walk, have ankle pain and have to do physical therapy for 7 weeks. I want to avoid will my OS be able to trim the cast back...?