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Cast Care

Your healthcare provider just gave you a cast made of plaster or fiberglass. This cast will hold your arm or leg in place to help it heal. Though it might feel a bit awkward at first, you’ll soon get used to it. During the coming days and weeks, the way you treat your cast can play a big part in how fast and how well you heal.

Arm cast being supported by a sling.
Supporting your cast with a provided a sling or crutches can help with healing.

Keep the cast dry

If a plaster cast gets wet, it can soften and fall apart. And if the padding of a fiberglass cast gets wet, it can irritate and damage your skin. So your cast must stay dry.

  • Avoid activities that can get your cast wet. These include swimming, fishing, washing dishes, and even going out in the rain.

  • Bathe as directed by your healthcare provider. When you bathe, keep your cast out of water and wrapped in plastic.

  • Don’t soak your cast in water, even if it’s wrapped in plastic.

  • If your cast does get wet, try drying it as soon as possible. To do this, use a hair dryer set to cool. Call your healthcare provider if your cast doesn’t dry within 24 hours.

Handle with care

For the best results, remember the following:


  • Do keep the cast clean and dry. Cover it with plastic to protect it when around dirt or water.

  • Do use any support you are given, such as crutches or a sling.

  • Do elevate the cast above your heart whenever possible.


  • Don’t slide anything inside the cast, even to scratch your skin.

  • Don’t put lotions or powders around the cast or inside it.

  • Don’t hit the cast.

  • Don’t cut the cast or pull it apart.

  • Don’t wash the cast.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Swelling or cast tightness that does not improve with elevation

  • If your cast breaks

  • If your cast gets wet and cannot be dried

  • If you have increasing pain, numbness, or tingling

Online Medical Reviewer: Banerjee, Rahul, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Image reviewed by StayWell art team.
Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Last Review Date: 9/3/2015
© 2000-2015 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.