Upper Limb Plaster of Paris Cast Care Information

Patient Leaflets Team

  • Reference Number: HEY1252/2021
  • Departments: Plastic Surgery
  • Last Updated: 19 October 2021

Introduction

This leaflet has been produced to give general information for patients and carers of a patient with an upper limb Plaster of Paris cast.  Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team, but may act as a starting point for discussion.   If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

Cast care information

Your cast has been applied to keep your injury from moving so that you feel less pain and to help the healing process

  1. A Plaster of Paris cast takes 24 hours to dry.
  2. Casts must be kept dry at all times.
  3. Elevation is important to reduce swelling.
  4. Movement of joints and digits (fingers, elbow and shoulder) not in cast for five minutes in every waking hour is extremely important unless you are advised otherwise.
  5. Do not poke anything down the cast as this may cause a sore, do not add extra padding as this makes the cast tight.

If you drive a vehicle with a cast on you may be liable to prosecution under the Road Traffic Act 1988. Please check with your insurance company that they still provide cover.

Complications that may occur whilst in the cast

If any of the following occur, contact the Plastic Surgery Trauma Clinic. In an emergency and the Clinic is closed, contact the Emergency Department (see contact details at the end of this leaflet)

Increased pain that is not helped by pain relief and rest.

  1. Swelling, numbness, blueness, paleness or discolouration which is not bruising.
  2. Pins and needles.
  3. If you are unable to move the fingers, elbow, shoulder.
  4. If you feel a burning sensation under the cast as this could be a blister or a sore.
  5. Any discharge or smells which come through the cast.
  6. An object gets dropped down the cast.
  7. The cast becomes loose or tight.

Care when in an Upper Limb Cast

  1. Do not let the arm hang down below waist level when sat in a chair or walking.
  2. Please check the top and the bottom of the cast daily for any redness, undue swelling, blistering or broken skin. Report to the plastic surgery trauma clinic if any smells or staining come through the cast. 

Removal of Casts

DO NOT stop wearing your cast until your doctor has said it is safe to do so.

If you develop complications or require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the Plastic Surgery Trauma Clinic, or the Emergency department on the following telephone numbers. 

Plastic Surgery Trauma Clinic (01482) 674509
Emergency Department (01482) 482192 

If it is not an emergency and you reach an answerphone, please leave a message and we will get back to you.

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