Palo Alto Hand Surgery

Dr. Andrew Gutow 

Dr. Jennifer Schneider

Cast Care Instructions

Cast Care Patient Information Sheet

Hand Surgery Department



You must carefully follow the instructions that you have been given if your cast treatment is to be successful.


If you experience any of the following, please call or return to the office, or go to ER/ Urgent Care if after hours:


-          If your cast feels too snug or tight. Note: swelling around the injury is common and can cause a cast to feel tight for the first 48 hours.

-          If you have continued coldness or discoloration of your casted limb.

-          Any pain, numbness, or continued tingling of your casted fingers.

-          If your skin becomes red, raw, or emits a bad odor.

-          If your cast has cracks, soft spots, or becomes loose.

-          If your cast does not dry.



-          Move your fingers or toes frequently to prevent swelling and joint stiffness.

-          Elevate your limb to level that is above your heart as much as possible to prevent or decrease swelling.

-          If your cast becomes soiled clean it with a damp cloth and small amount of mild detergent.

-          If your cast is fitted with a walking shoe, wear it at all times except during bathing, showering, or sleeping.

-          DO NOT stuff cotton or toilet tissue under your cast since it may fall into the cast or decrease circulation and cause serious medical problems.

-          DO NOT pull out cast padding.

-          DO NOT scratch under your cast with anything. This may break the skin and cause infection.

-          DO NOT expose inside of cast to dirt, sand or powder.

-          DO NOT remove cast yourself.


SPECIAL CAST CARE-  wet use (only if you were told you may get your cast wet):

You have been fitted with a cast made of a synthetic water-repellant padding material and a fiberglass outer shell designed so that you may get your cast wet. The combination of these materials allows you to shower or bathe without having to wrap the cast in a waterproof cover, if you follow the instructions below.

-          If you have been given permission to get your cast wet, you must allow the cast and your skin to dry thoroughly before getting the cast wet again.

-          If you experience maceration (i.e.; softened, white, or wrinkled skin), skin irritation, heat rash, or pain, do not get the cast wet.

-          Drying time for casts will vary. In some cases, weather conditions, perspiration, or cast construction will prevent the cast from drying completely. Most casts will feel dry in 1-3 hours. If your cast feels wet longer, stop getting the cast wet.

-          If a blow dryer is used to aid in drying your cast, use only on cool/ low heat setting.

-          Gravity helps the water drain from the cast. If your cast is wet, it is important to position your cast so that the water will drain out. If the water will not drain out, do not get the cast wet again.

-          To Drain ARM Cast: Hang arm downward and drain from end of cast.

-          To Drain LEG Cast: Tilt toes downward to allow cast to drain from toe area or elevate leg and let drain from other end of cast.

-          AVOID swimming in lakes, rivers, or oceans. Waterborne parasites or contaminants entering your cast may cause skin irritation or other problems.

-          Ensure that you rinse out the cast thoroughly with clean water after swimming, showering, or bathing.

-          For your safety, swimming in deep water should be avoided.