How to Care for a Casted Hand – Atlanta Hand Specialist
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How to Care for a Casted Hand

If you have recently had your hand casted, you have probably broken or fractured a bone. Casts function to stabilize the damaged area and avoid repeat injuries. They are usually made out of fiberglass or plaster and should be worn for up to eight weeks.

During their use they must be taken care of to ensure proper healing and avoid further complications. Wearing a cast for a prolonged period of time can lead to irritation and itching, but there are basic preventative measures you can take to protect your cast and hand.

Keeping Clean

The most important factor in preventing infections and irritation is to keep your cast clean and dry. When showering or near any water, cover your cast with plastic to keep water from getting under the shell. Avoid sand, dirt, and other small particles as well.

Collection of moisture can lead to itching of the skin. If showering is not an option, a sponge bath will be necessary—keep all other uncovered skin clean.

If your cast gets dirty, the outside can be cleaned with a lightly dampened cloth. It is essential that you make sure the cast is completely dry afterward.

How to Handle Side Effects of a Cast

Swelling is normal after any injury and usually lasts for around two days. To reduce swelling, elevate your hand by propping on a pillow or comfortable surface. Applying ice that is wrapped in a towel to the outside of the cast for 15 minutes every hour will also help.

To relieve itching, blow a hair dryer down into the cast. Make sure the hair dryer is set on the cool air option. Over-the-counter antihistamines may also provide relief, but check with your doctor before combining any medication. As tempting as it is, never stick objects into the cast to scratch a certain spot. This may lead to infection or worsened irritation.

If the cast continues to itch, try applying special medical anti-itch spray that your doctor can prescribe; or carefully apply a small amount of alcohol around the rim of the cast’s edges. This will not only relieve itching, it will sanitize the area. Remember to slightly wiggle or move unharmed fingers whenever possible to encourage blood flow and healing.

When to See Your Doctor

While itching, swelling, and some mild irritation is common, other symptoms are not. See your doctor immediately if you experience severe pain, numbness or discoloration in the extremities, or have a damaged cast. Casts should be repaired immediately to avoid moisture saturation and promote proper healing.

Contact Atlanta Hand Specialist

Atlanta Hand Specialist has several locations surrounding the Atlanta area including, Smyrna, Marietta, Canton, East Cobb, Douglasville, and Lawrenceville. Our physicians treat a variety of conditions in the hands, fingers, wrists, elbows, and more.

To learn more about our services, view our patient information online or call (770) 333-7888.

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