Cast Care Guidelines
What do I need to know about caring for
It takes 24-48 hours for a cast or splint to
dry completely. This may vary depending on
the material it consists of. While your cast is
ξ Keep it uncovered as much as you
ξ Raise your casted leg or arm at least
4-6 inches above the level of your
heart to reduce swelling.
For casted legs: Prop two or more pillows
under the calf of the casted leg. Do not rest
or prop leg using the heel area. This helps
prevent any skin break down within the heel
region. Wiggle your toes to reduce swelling
and increase circulation.
For casted arms: When you are in bed, put
your arm on top of two or more pillows. If
you have a sling, use it as needed for
comfort. Wiggle your fingers to reduce
swelling and increase circulation.
What do I need to do daily to care for my
Check your fingers and toes daily. Call if
you notice any of these signs or symptoms:
ξ Increased pain.
ξ Swelling that is not reduced by
ξ Numbness, tingling or temperature
change that does not improve with
elevation or position change.
ξ Loss of movement (wiggle your
fingers or toes to check).
ξ Pain that is not relieved with
Keep the cast dry and clean.
To protect your skin from irritation, cover
the edges of the cast with waterproof tape or
moleskin. This will also help prevent the
edges of the cast from crumbling.
What do I need to know about skin care
and my cast?
Check the skin under the edges of the cast
each day. If you see persistent redness,
broken skin or sores, call your doctor or the
To relieve itching under the cast you can use
a blow dryer on a cool setting and blow cool
air at the opening of the cast. Do not shake
powder into the cast or stick any object into
the cast to scratch the skin.
Do not cover the cast with plastic bags for a
long period of time.
What physical activities can I do with a
Your provider will talk with you about any
limits you may have. Check with him or her
about going back to work or school.
Your casted arm or leg will swell when you
use it. The swelling may cause pain. To
relieve the swelling, raise your arm or leg
and wiggle your fingers or toes.
When do I need to call my provider?
ξ You have numbness, tingling,
temperature or color change that
does not improve with elevation or
ξ You have an odor or unusual
drainage under or through the cast.
ξ Your cast becomes loose, cracked,
broken, wet or just feels unbearably
tight without relief from elevation.
Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30 pm
Orthopedic Trauma Clinic-608-263-0333
If you have significant concerns after hours
call the Orthopedic Resident on call
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©5/2017. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7980.