Breaking an arm can be a big pain – literally. Between the phantom itches in the hard to reach places and the nuisance of trying to keep it dry, casts are a lot to deal with. But, if you or a loved one have a waterproof cast, the nuisance becomes less about keeping it dry and more about maintaining it. Contrary to popular belief, a waterproof cast comes with added responsibility. So, how do you maintain it?
What’s a waterproof cast?
A fiberglass cast starts moldable and dries hard. Some fiberglass casts can be made waterproof when a liner is added to the cast. But, waterproof casts come with their own pros and cons.
Benefits of Waterproof Casts
Waterproof casts solve some of the age-old problems of traditional casts. They produce less sweat and odor, keep your limbs cleaner, and produce fewer skin problems. The downside is that they’re more expensive than traditional casts and are often not covered by insurance. They also require more maintenance, as it can take hours for the limb to dry after being submerged in water.
Not all water areas are appropriate for a waterproof cast. While showers, baths, and swimming pools are okay, places like a waterpark or the beach should be avoided until the cast has been removed. Waterparks may be unsafe, and the beach is full of sand and other debris that can get trapped within the fibers. You should talk to your doctor before visiting these types of locations.
How to Take Care of Waterproof Casts
Even though waterproof casts don’t need to be kept dry, submerging them in water should be kept to a minimum – about two to three hours max. After exiting the water, there are some steps you should follow to prevent the cast from smelling or becoming damaged. After showering, bathing, or swimming in a pool, you should:
- Flush the cast and liner with clean water
- Drain excess water
- Dry the cast with a hairdryer on the cool setting
- If a hairdryer is unavailable, allow several hours for the cast to air dry
If the cast does not dry after using a hairdryer or letting air dry for 24 hours, you should contact your physician. It could mean that the liner is not working properly, and a new waterproof cast will need to be created.
When to Call the Doctor
Generally, the cast shouldn’t cause any problems to you or your loved one, but there are some situations where a call to the doctor may be required. You should call the doctor if:
- The cast feels too tight
- The cast is suddenly uncomfortable
- There is a new pain, or existing pain gets worse – despite taking pain medication
- Fingers or toes have gotten more swollen, change colors, hurt, or feel numb
- Something is stuck in the cast
- The cast has broken or split
- The cast smells bad, or any fluid is coming from the cast
Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you’re experiencing pain that requires a cast, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.