Fiberglass Splint Care

Man sitting in a chair with leg propped up on the side of the bathtub.

Follow these guidelines when caring for your splint:

  • It will take up to 2 hours for your fiberglass splint to fully harden. Don’t put any pressure on it during that time or it may break.

  • To prevent swelling under the splint, do this for the first 2 days (48 hours):

    • For a splint on your arm, keep it in a sling or raised to shoulder level when you are sitting or standing. Rest it on your chest or on a pillow at your side when you are lying down.

    • For a splint on your foot, keep it propped up above the level of your heart when sitting or lying. Avoid crutch walking as much as possible during this time.

  • Keep the splint or cast dry at all times. Bathe with your splint or cast well out of the water. Protect it with a large plastic bag, rubber-banded or taped at the top end. If a fiberglass cast or splint gets wet, you can dry it with a hair dryer on the cool setting.

  • Put an ice pack on the injured area. Do this for 20 minutes every 1 to 2 hours the first day for pain relief. You can make an ice pack by wrapping a plastic bag of ice cubes in a thin towel. As the ice melts, be careful that the splint doesn’t get wet. Continue using the ice pack 3 to 4 times a day for the next 2 days. Then use the ice pack as needed to ease pain and swelling.

  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines for pain or swelling. Follow your provider’s instructions for taking these medicines. If no pain medicine was prescribed, you may use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to control pain. If you have chronic liver or kidney disease, talk with your healthcare provider before using these medicines. Also talk with your provider if you’ve had a stomach ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding.

  • Don't stick anything inside the splint such as a coat hanger. Don't apply any powders or creams. If itching continues, call your provider.

  • Look at the skin near the cast regularly. If skin becomes red or raw, call your provider.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

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

  • Bad odor from the splint or wound fluid stains the splint

  • The splint cracks or stays wet for more than 24 hours

  • Tightness or pressure under the splint gets worse

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

  • You can’t move your fingers or toes

  • Pain under the splint gets worse

  • The skin around the splint becomes red, irritated, or swollen

  • Fever of more than 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as advised

  • Chills

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