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Cast Care: Why You Need a Cast

Bones can break anywhere in the body. Casts are often used for fractures in the hands, arms, legs, or feet. There are many types of fractures. But all fractures heal the same way: New bone grows to connect the broken pieces. A cast holds broken bones in place while they heal.

How Bones Break

Depending on the injury, bones can break in different ways. These are the most common types of fractures. (You may have a fracture that’s not shown here.)

Nondisplaced Fracture

  • Bone fragments (pieces) are lined up.

Displaced Fracture

  • Bone fragments are not lined up.

Comminuted Fracture

  • The bone is broken into three or more pieces.

Open Fracture

  • The bone breaks through the skin. (A fracture that doesn’t break through the skin is a closed fracture.)

Greenstick Fracture

  • The bone bends, but may not break all the way. This happens most often in children, whose bones are softer and still growing.

 

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 3/14/2012
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 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.