How to Survive Wearing an Arm Cast

Man with broken arm wearing a fiberglass cast and blue sling
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If you have to wear an arm cast for 8 weeks, don't worry. You can survive! It can be difficult to do everyday tasks when your entire arm is immobilized. But, we are here to help! In this blog post, we will give you some tips on how to make life easier while wearing an arm cast. We know that it can be daunting, but with a little bit of preparation and planning, you will be able to get through it.

How to Get Used to Wearing a Cast

One of the most important things to do is to plan ahead. When you know you'll be wearing a cast, start thinking about how it will impact your daily routine. What activities will be more difficult? What will you need help with? Figuring these things out in advance will make the transition much smoother. You should also take some time to stock up on essentials like comfortable clothes with wide arm sockets  and non-slip shoes. And finally, don't forget to ask for help when you need it. Whether it's from friends, family, or coworkers, accepting assistance can make a big difference. So if you're facing the prospect of wearing an arm cast, remember that you're not alone. 

How to Relieve Itching Under a Cast

Patient scratching an itch under their pink leg cast
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Anyone who has ever had a cast knows that the itchiness can be unbearable. The feeling of something crawling under your skin, combined with the knowledge that you can't scratch it, is enough to drive anyone mad. However, scratching under the cast can damage the skin and lead to infection. Instead, people with itching casts can try several different methods to relieve the itch without causing harm:

  • Keep the cast dry: Moisture is often the culprit of itchiness under a cast, so make sure to keep your cast dry. 
  • Blow dry: Try using a hair dryer on the cool setting to help circulate air and dry out any moisture. 
  • Take medications Ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter antihistamine or pain reliever. 
  • Don’t stick anything down the cast: Resist the temptation to scratch under your cast. Not only will it make the itch worse, but you could also tear the skin and end up with a serious infection. 

How to Reduce Swelling in a Cast

Swelling is a common side effect of wearing a cast, and it can be both uncomfortable and inconvenient. The good news is that it usually only lasts for the first few days after the cast is applied. During this time, your skin will feel snug within the cast as the swelling goes down. Here are a few things you can do to help reduce the swelling:

  • Try to keep your affected arm elevated as much as possible. This will help to encourage lymphatic drainage and reduce the amount of fluid that builds up in the area. 
  • Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time. This will help to numb the area and reduce inflammation. 
  • Moving the injured arm can also help to reduce swelling. Try simple exercises like wiggling your fingers to keep the blood flowing.
  • Try to avoid doing any activities that require strenuous arm movement. This can worsen swelling. 

How to Keep Cast From Smelling

Male patient drying wet arm cast with a dryer
Филипп Очеретный - stock.adobe

The last thing you want to worry about is your cast smelling bad when dealing with a broken bone. Unfortunately, sweat, dead skin, and bacteria can quickly build up inside a cast, creating an unpleasant odor. There are a few things you can do to keep your cast smelling fresh: 

  • Keep the cast dry and clean: Try to keep the inside of the cast as dry as possible. If your skin gets sweaty, use a hair dryer on the cool setting to help dry it out. 
  • Apply baking soda: A little baking soda can help to dry up some of the moisture and deodorize the cast. Plus, it's gentle enough that it won't irritate your skin.
  • Avoid sweaty activities: When you sweat, it creates an environment where bacteria can thrive and grow. This can result in an unpleasant odor coming from your cast. 

How to Keep Your Cast From Getting Wet

There are few things more frustrating than dealing with a wet cast. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can also lead to skin irritation and an increased risk of infection. Most arm casts are made from plaster or fiberglass, both of which are highly absorbent materials. If your cast gets wet, it could weaken the materials and cause the cast to break. 

Arm Cast Cover 

Investing in a good quality waterproof cover is one of the most effective options for keeping your arm cast dry. Arm cast covers are made from waterproof material and

fit snugly over the cast, preventing water from seeping in. They are available in a variety of sizes and can be purchased online or at most medical supply stores. In addition, arm cast covers can be reused multiple times, making them a cost-effective solution for keeping your cast dry. Whether you're taking a shower or going for a swim, an arm cast cover is the best way to keep your cast dry and protected.

How to Sleep with a Cast 

It is important to get a good night's sleep when you are recovering from an injury. But this can be easier said than done when you have a cast. However, you can do a few things to make it more comfortable. First, try elevating the cast on several pillows to raise the broken bone above your heart. This will help to reduce swelling and pain. In addition, pain medication can help to make sleeping more comfortable; take it as directed, and allow sufficient time for it to take effect. With a little trial and error, you should be able to find a position that will enable you to get the rest you need.

How to Know if Your Cast Needs to Be Replaced 

A young girl getting her green cast cut off with a cast saw
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If you are uncomfortable wearing a cast, it is important to consult your physician as soon as possible. There are a few complications that, if go unchecked, can lead to more serious problems: 

  • If you notice an increase in pain or a tight feeling after a few weeks, this could be swelling that has not gone down and may require the cast to be replaced.
  • A foul odor could signify an infection, and you should see a doctor immediately.
  • Numbness and tingling can also indicate too much pressure on the nerves and may necessitate a cast change. 
  • If you experience excessive swelling in the limb around the cast, this could be indicative of circulation issues. 
  • If you notice bleeding from the skin underneath the cast, it should be addressed by a medical professional immediately.
  • If you lose the ability to move your fingers or toes, it is imperative that you seek medical attention right away. 

Being aware of these potential complications can help ensure your recovery goes as smoothly as possible.

Alternative to Wearing a Cast

Cast21 arm cast alternatives are revolutionizing the way we treat broken bones. Unlike bulky plaster and fiberglass casts, the Cast21 alternative is made from a lightweight latticework that allows airflow. This virtually eliminates itching and makes the cast more comfortable to wear. In addition, the open design allows your doctor to monitor your incision for healing. And because the casts are waterproof, you can go about your daily life without worrying about them getting wet. Best of all, Cast21 casts are usually covered by insurance and can be quickly applied by your doctor. So if you're dealing with a broken bone, ask your doctor about Cast21 arm cast alternatives or contact our team for more information.