Which is Best for Your Injury: a Brace, Splint, or Cast?

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If you’ve ever broken a bone, you know that there are a few different ways to immobilize it while it heals. You might have been given a cast, brace, or a splint. But what’s the difference between them? In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between braces, splints, and casts. 


Close up look of an arm fiberglass cast
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A cast is the most common type of support used for broken bones. It is also intended to be the most stable. A cast will keep your bone in place while it heals and will protect it from further injury. Casts are made from plaster or fiberglass and are custom-fit to your body. They are usually put on in the doctor’s office and can take up to an hour to set up and harden. Once they are dry, you will need to keep them dry and clean. Casts are typically worn for 4-8 weeks. Learn more about the different types of casts


Patient with wrist brace for fracture
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A brace is similar to a cast in that it helps to immobilize the injured area and promote healing. However, unlike a cast, a brace is built to be worn on and off over extended periods of time. They are often made of materials that are more flexible to allow you to remove them during treatment. This makes braces much more comfortable to wear and easier to move around in, but it also means that they provide less support than a cast. Braces are typically used for injuries that do not require complete immobilization, such as mild sprains or strains or very minor fractures. They can also prevent injuries in people who have had previous injuries in the same area. 


Close up image of a wrist splint for wrist fracture
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An orthopedic splint is a medical device used to support, align, or immobilize bones and joints immediately following an injury or during therapy. They are commonly used to treat fractures, sprains, and dislocations. A splint can be made from a variety of materials, including metal, plaster, fiberglass, or plastic. While they are not intended for long-term use, orthopedic splints can be an effective way to protect an injured body part until you reach the next milestone on your healing journey. Learn more about arm splints

Frequently Asked Questions About Braces, Splints, and Casts

Is a Brace the Same as a Cast?

A brace and a cast are both designed to support and protect a broken bone while it heals. However, there are some key differences between the two. A cast is made from a hard material, such as plaster or fiberglass, and it encircles the entire limb. This provides optimal support, but it can also make the limb very stiff and difficult to move. A brace, on the other hand, is usually made from softer materials, such as foam or cloth. It is also less constricting, allowing for more movement. In addition, a brace can be removed for bathing or physical therapy, while a cast must stay on until it is medically removed.

What Is More Comfortable, A Splint or A Cast?

In general, splints are considered to be more comfortable than casts. They're easier to adjust if they're too tight or rub in the wrong spot, and you can remove them for showers and other activities. However, they don't offer as much support as a cast, so your bone may not heal as quickly. Casts, on the other hand, can be quite cumbersome. They make it difficult to move your affected limb, and you have to be careful not to get them wet. However, they offer more stability and are less likely to cause re-injury.

Is a Splint the Same as a Brace?

Female patient wearing an arm splint for wrist sprain
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When it comes to treating injuries, splints and braces are often used interchangeably. However, these two devices serve different purposes. Braces are more stable devices used for long-term care, whereas splints are used in short-term or more emergency-type conditions. The main difference between the two is that braces allow for occasional movement to rehabilitate the limb and bone, while splints completely immobilize the injured area or hold your joints in a specific orientation for therapy. 

Can I Take My Splint off and Put It Back On?

It's important to follow your doctor's or physiotherapist's instructions on when to remove your splint. Depending on the type of injury you have, they will likely give you specific instructions. If you're not sure how long or often you should remove your splint, consult a medical professional. They will be able to give advice based on your individual injury.

Learn More: Can My Broken Bone Heal Without a Cast?

Alternative to Wearing a Cast

Young boy wearing cast21 for broken wrist

At Cast21, we believe that orthopedic care should be comfortable, breathable, and user-friendly. Our innovative low-profile design has been engineered for comfort and breathability, and our patented rapid application process means that you can have your cast applied in minutes. Plus, the open lattice concept allows your skin to breathe, making it the most comfortable and waterproof orthopedic product on the market. In addition, the sleek design is more aesthetically pleasing than a traditional plaster or fiberglass cast. With its many benefits, Cast21 is quickly becoming the preferred choice for those who have suffered a broken bone.

Cast21 is here to help you get on the road to recovery! Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if you would like more information on how Cast21 can help make the recovery process easier. 

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