This is an example of the instructions that should be given to patients after a cast is applied. Instruction sheets are available in each emergency department.

Cast care

Your cast takes 1 to 3 days to dry.

Arm casts:

  • While you are in bed, keep the injured arm up on a pillow.
  • The hand should be higher than the rest of the body.
  • When you are out of bed keep the injured arm in a sling with your fingers higher than your elbow.
  • Move your fingers for several minutes every half hour.
Leg casts:
  • While you are in bed, keep the injured leg up on a pillow. The foot should be higher than the rest of the body.
  • When you are sitting, raise your leg on a chair or a stool to above the level of your heart. Move your toes for several minutes every half hour.
If the cast feels tight:
  • move the fingers or toes and elevate the limb. If the tightness does not get better then come to the hospital.
You must not scratch under your cast!

Call the doctor listed below immediately or if you cannot contact that doctor come back to the Emergency if:

  • There is numbness or “pins and needles” of the fingers or toes.
  • There is lot of swelling of the fingers or toes.
  • There is blueness or whiteness of the fingers or toes.
  • There is severe pain
How to use crutches
  • The top of the crutch should be 3 fingers below the armpit.
  • The hand piece should be at wrist level with the arm straight.
  • Do NOT put your weight on the armpit piece.
  • Place crutches about 1 foot in front of you. Swing the injured leg through.
    Hop with the good leg a little ahead of the crutches.
  • Do NOT use crutches when using stairs.

 

How to use a cane

Hold the cane on the side of the body that is NOT injured.

 

How to use a simple arm sling

  • The sling should keep the arm so that the hand is higher than the elbow.
  • The sling should cover and support part of the hand.

 

Follow-up instructions

  • Take any medications prescribed.
  • Make an appointment with your family doctor.
  • Make an appointment with Dr. ________________________
    at the Plaster Room at (613) _________ for _______ weeks from now.
 
©2003 Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Ottawa