Overview on a cast

A cast mainly surrounds a damaged body part for protection, limit movement and promote healing. Casts are made of plaster or fiberglass and often used for fractures but also used for torn tendons or ligaments.

Application and removal

The doctor will initially apply padding around the damaged part of the body to protect the skin. Take note that both fiberglass and plaster are available in strips or rolls that are immersed in water and enveloped over the padding. The cast material will solidify as it dries.

The doctor will get rid of the cast using a specialized saw to avoid damaging the skin. Remember that a cast should only be removed by a healthcare provider.

How long is a cast worn?


The length of time the cast is used is based on the injury of the individual.

The length of time the cast is used is based on the injury of the individual. Some injuries recuperate in just a few weeks, but others can take several months. Take note that the cast might be replaced or adjusted as the injury heals.

Self-care measures while under a cast

The pain and swelling from the injury can be managed by:

  • Taking pain medications as instructed by the doctor
  • Make sure that the cast is propped on cushions while sitting or lying down
  • If the uninjured toes or fingers are free beneath the cast, they must be wiggled or moved every few minutes

It is vital to keep the cast dry. A plaster cast might fall apart once it gets wet. As for a fiberglass cast, it will not fall apart but the padding beneath might itch or produce foul odor.

If there is itchiness inside the cast, use a hairdryer on cool setting or position a fan to blow into the end of the cast. Avoid scratching the skin around the cast or poking any objects since it might damage the skin.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on a cast is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn more about casts, register for a first aid and CPR course with Vancouver First Aid.


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