Cast Application and Removal

What is a cast?

A cast is a solid bandage applied to an injured body part. It holds the broken bone in place as it heals and protects it from further injury. Usually, a cast is kept on for a period of four to 12 weeks.

If I am wearing a cast, when should I go to the emergency department?

Go to the nearest emergency department if you have any of the below symptoms:

  • Numbness or “pins and needles” in your fingers or toes.
  • Swelling or change in color (blue or white) in your fingers or toes. This could be a sign of poor blood flow.
  • Severe pain in the cast area.
  • Fever.
  • Unpleasant odor or discharge under the cast.

You should also go to the emergency department if your cast becomes badly soiled or if it becomes too loose or feels too tight.

How should I care for my cast?

Take good care of your cast by following the tips below:

  • Keep the cast dry and intact. A wet cast can irritate your skin and will no longer support your bones properly.
  • Do not scratch your skin under the cast using sharp objects like rulers; do not slip any objects such as powder or tissues inside your cast, even if you have an itchy skin. To relieve itchy skin, place an ice pack covered in a towel on your cast.
  • Cover your cast with a plastic bag when bathing to prevent it from getting wet. As an alternative, you can also use a waterproof cast cover to keep it dry.
  • Dry the inside padding of your cast, by turning a hair dryer to a cool setting.
  • Check the area around the cast regularly for any swellings. Also check for unpleasant odors on the inside of your cast or cracks on its outside.
  • Avoid applying lotion on the skin inside the cast.
  • Exercise the body parts that are not injured to improve your blood circulation, but avoid strenuous activities that might cause damage to your cast.

What should I do if I have an arm cast?

What should I do if I have a leg cast?

Place the broken arm up on a pillow when in bed. Place the broken leg up on a pillow when in bed.
Keep your hand at a higher level than the rest of your body. Make sure your foot is resting at a higher level than your body.
When out of bed, keep your injured arm in a sling, and make sure your fingers are higher than your elbow. While you are seated, rest your leg on a chair or a stool to keep it elevated above the level of your heart.
Use crutches when walking (if recommended by your doctor) but not when using the stairs.
Exercise your fingers every half an hour for several minutes. Exercise your toes every half an hour for several minutes.

What to expect during cast removal?

When it is time to remove the cast, make sure your doctor does that. Do not remove the cast on your own since you may cut your skin. Keep in mind that:

  • Cast removal is painless.
  • The sound of the saw while your doctor is cutting your cast may be bothering, but the saw won’t cut your skin or hurt you.
  • You may feel some vibrations or heat during the removal.

What should I do after cast removal?

  • You may notice some stiffness in the area where the cast was applied due to lack of motion. Your arm or leg will get back to normal size with regular use.
  • Your joint might be a bit swollen after you remove the cast. Keep your arm or leg elevated to reduce the swelling.
  • Take care of your skin.
    • - Inspect your skin for any signs of inflammation or infection (such as redness, swelling, discharge, etc.)
    • - Your skin might be dry. Gently wash it with warm water, and avoid scrubbing it to prevent bleeding.
    • - Apply a moisturizing lotion.
  • Exercise the affected area gently to strengthen it. In some cases, your doctor might recommend joining physiotherapy sessions.
  • Avoid strenuous activities for at least four to six weeks after removing the cast.

Does my Insurance Policy cover cast?

Yes. According to CCHI unified Policy terms and conditions, health insurance policies in Saudi Arabia should cover cast.

Please Click Here to access the Unified CCHI Policy Wordings.


"Cast Application and Removal." Cast Care. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.
"Cast Application and Removal." Casts and Splints. N.p., Feb. 2011. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.
"Cast Application and Removal." How to Care for Skin After a Cast Is Removed. N.p., 16 Aug. 2013. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.
"Cast Application and Removal." What to Expect When Your Cast Comes of. N.p., Jan. 2015. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.