A plaster cast has been put onto your child’s arm or leg to prevent movement of a broken bone while it heals, or to rest an injured limb or joint.
Occasionally, swelling may occur underneath the plaster cast, causing pain and problems with circulation.
What should I do?
- Do keep the affected arm / leg elevated, either in the sling, collar ’n’ cuff, or on pillows, as directed by the doctor / nurse. This will boost the blood circulation, and lessen the chance of any swelling.
- Do change position regularly when in a lower limb cast to avoid getting pressure sores.
- Do exercise all joints that are not inside the plaster, for example, fingers and toes.
- Do carefully wash the skin around the cast daily. Check the skin under the edge of the cast for redness.
- Do not allow the plaster to become wet.
- Do not put anything inside the cast. This could irritate the skin and cause an infection.
- Do not cut the plaster cast. If the cast is uncomfortable, rubbing or digging in, contact the hospital.
What should I look for?
While your child is in plaster, he / she should not feel any pain but may feel uncomfortable.
Give your child paracetamol or ibuprofen as required.
Your child’s fingers / toes should be:
- Pink (or normal skin colour)
- Able to move, with no sensation of numbness or ‘pins and needles’
Please contact the hospital immediately for advice if:
- Fingers or toes turn white or blue and feel cold to the touch.
- Fingers or toes become swollen and do not return to normal when the limb is raised.
- Your child complains of feeling pins and needles, numbness or pain.
- There is any oozing or wetness under the cast.
- The cast starts to smell.
- The cast becomes loose, cracks or breaks.
We are smoke-free
Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.
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Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge
Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151