Surgical Services

ORTHOPEDIC HOME CAST & SPLINT CARE INSTRUCTIONS

A cast or splint is applied to a broken bone to maintain it in its proper alignment. To protect your cast or splint, follow the instructions below:

  1. Keep the cast or splint clean and dry.
    The best way to bathe is by taking a sponge bath. If you must shower, cover the cast or splint completely in a plastic bag. Wrap a towel and tape around the bag to prevent water from getting into the bag and onto the cast/splint.

  2. Do not put any object(s) down into your cast/splint to scratch an itch.
    This may cause a break in your skin which could get infected.

  3. Elevate the limb with the cast or splint AT ALL TIMES for 3-5 days to decrease and prevent swelling.
    After the initial 3-5 days, allow several periods during the day and night to elevate the casted/splinted body part above the heart.

  4. Be aware of numbness, tingling, sensation of the limb “falling asleep,” coldness of the casted/splinted extremity and discoloration of the fingers or toes. If any of these symptoms occur, go to the EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT IMMEDIATELY!

  5. Strictly follow weight bearing activity restrictions if your leg, ankle, or foot is in a cast/splint.
    Always use your crutches, walker, or cane as instructed by your surgeon.
    Do not place more weight on the lower extremity than is instructed by your surgeon.

  6. Do not trim, cut, or remove your cast or splint yourself.
    Consult with the emergency department or your surgeon if you are having problems such as swelling, soreness or foul-smelling odor from the cast.

    If you cast/splint gets soiled or wet, go to the nearest medical facility to have it removed and replaced, and notify your surgeon. Removing a cast/splint yourself could result in permanent deformity.

  7. Perform range of motion exercises as instructed by your surgeon.
    Gently move your shoulder, elbow, wrist, fingers, hip, knee, ankle, or toes as instructed to prevent stiffness due to disuse in these joints.

  8. Eat and live to heal.
    Foods rich in protein such as meats and eggs are important for healing.

    Do not use nicotine-containing tobacco products which constrict blood vessels and prevent nutrients in the bloodstream from healing your wound. Just 1 cigarette delays wound healing for 6 hours!

  9. Follow up in Orthopedic Clinic:
    It is VERY IMPORTANT that you follow up with your surgeon as scheduled. If you cannot make your scheduled appointment, notify the Orthopedic Surgery clinic as soon as possible at: 1-928-283-2660 to make other arrangements.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION:

If you have an increase in pain or swelling where cast/splint was applied that is not resolved with pain medication or elevation of the surgical body part above the heart.

If the cast/splint feels too tight.

If you have any numbness or tingling (the sensation of your arm or leg “falling asleep”) in the extremity on which the cast/splint is applied.

If you start feeling bad, or have a fever, chills, or shakes.

If you have leg, calf, or foot pain, redness, or swelling in either leg after surgery was performed on an upper or lower extremity.

If you have pain in your chest or difficulty breathing.

If drinking fluids makes you vomit (throw up).



IF YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS AT ALL, GO TO THE NEAREST EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT IMMEDIATELY