Signs that there might be a problem with the cast

A cast is an excellent way to treat a broken bone. However, unless you spot these signs and report them to your healthcare provider, there can be problems wearing a cast that could be overlooked. It’s not just pain that you should be concerned about, but also signs of infection, excessive swelling, or improper bone healing.

A suitable plaster cast should fit comfortably during treatment. There may be some itching and pain as the bone begins to heal, but new or worsening pain indicates a problem.

This article looks at some of the potentially serious problems that can arise when wearing a cast. It also lists signs and symptoms that require immediate visit to your healthcare provider.

skin maceration

One of the most challenging aspects of making plaster is keeping it dry. While there are waterproof castings and casting materials that can tolerate moisture, people are generally encouraged to keep castings dry.

The problem is not that the casting “falls apart” (although some can), it is soaking the skin underneath the casting.Doing so will cause the skin dipping Your skin begins to break down at the cellular level.

Skin maceration can lead to increased itching and the development of sores and cracks. This in turn can lead to skin infections as bacteria and fungi thrive in moist, dark environments.

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If there is water under your cast and it cannot tolerate water, you should let your healthcare provider know, as the cast may need to be replaced. Signs of infection require immediate treatment.

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pressure ulcer

Another complication of wearing a cast is pressure ulcers, also known as pressure ulcers. These tend to develop in skeletal areas such as the ankle or elbow. They are caused by constant pressure on the skin, usually when the cast is not installed properly.

In addition to pain, bedsores can cause skin infections and bleeding. A skin infection can usually be identified by a foul odor and/or discharge of fluid under the cast. There may also be a visible spot on the casting when drainage seeps in.

If you suspect a pressure sore under your cast, talk to your healthcare provider, as the cast may need to be loosened or replaced.

Compartment Syndrome

A more serious cast-related complication is compartment syndrome. This happens when the casting is so tight that the pressure inside the casting cannot be relieved. This puts excessive pressure on nerves and blood vessels, which not only causes pain, but also reduces blood flow to the tissue.

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Compartment syndrome can lead to permanent nerve damage and even tissue damage if not properly recognized and treated necrosis (die).

When the skin outside the cast cools and turns blue (called Cyanosis). This is due to the deprivation of oxygen in the tissues.

When to call your healthcare provider

If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be a sign of cast-related complications and need immediate medical attention:

  • Pain or swelling that is not controlled by prescription medication
  • Increased numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • inability to move fingers or toes
  • blue hands or feet
  • Skin remains fair after pressing
  • A stench from under the casting
  • Drain liquid from under casting
  • high fever with chills
  • Loose, split or broken castings


Casts help the bone heal, but can cause problems if the cast is oversoaked or improperly installed. This can lead to skin maceration (in which saturated skin begins to break down), bedsores (usually in bony areas of the body), and compartment syndrome (caused when a tight cast cuts off blood circulation).

If left untreated, these complications can lead to skin infections, permanent nerve damage, and even tissue death. If castings are damaged or too tight, they can be avoided by replacing them.

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VigorTip words

The cast can be fun, but for most people, they end up being very annoying, even unbearable. Don’t try to remove the cast yourself, no matter how annoying they become. Even if the cast is planned to be removed.

The orthopaedic surgeon removes the cast with a specially designed saw to avoid damaging the underlying tissue. Attempting to use other tools to remove the cast can be dangerous and result in serious injury. Call your healthcare provider if you think the cast needs to be removed for any reason.

How to remove a cast

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you sleep with a cast?

    To make yourself more comfortable, use a pillow to raise the cast above your heart. Elevating the cast can help reduce swelling and pain. You can use more pillows to prevent excessive movement of the affected limb.

  • How long does it take for a fracture to heal?

    The healing time of a fracture varies by bone and fracture type, but the average time is about six to eight weeks.