Plaster Cast Care


These tips will help you care for your cast:

  • It will take up to 48 hours for the plaster cast to fully harden. Don't put weight on the cast during that time or it may break.

  • To prevent swelling under the cast, do this for the first 48 hours:

    • If the cast is on your arm, keep it in a sling or raised to shoulder level when sitting or standing. Rest it on your chest or on a pillow at your side when lying down.

    • If the cast is on your leg, keep it propped up above the level of your hip when sitting or lying. Sleep with the cast raised on a few pillows. Stay away from crutch walking as much as possible during this time.

  • Keep the cast completely dry at all times. Bathe with your cast well out of the water. Protect it with 2 large, plastic bags. Separately close the top end of each bag with a rubber band or tape. A wet cast will soften and won't protect your injury. A wet cast may also cause skin problems.

  • If itching develops, you can:

    • Set a hair dryer to cool and blow air under the cast

    • Ask your healthcare provider about taking anti-itch medicines like an antihistamine

    • Put an ice pack on the affected area. To make an ice pack, put ice cubes in a plastic bag that seals at the top. Wrap the ice pack in a towel before using.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider as advised.

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • The cast gets wet or soft, or it cracks

  • Bad odor comes from the cast or fluid from the wound stains the cast

  • Tightness or pressure under the cast increases

  • Fingers or toes become swollen, cold, blue, numb, or tingly

  • Pain under the cast gets worse

  • Cast becomes too loose

  • Loss of movement of fingers or toes

  • Fever

  • Chills

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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