Cast Care

It takes 24-48 hours for a cast or splint to dry all the way. This will depend on the material it made of. While the cast is drying:

  • Keep it uncovered as much as you can.

  • Raise your casted leg or arm at least 4-6 inches above the level of your heart. This helps to reduce swelling.

Casted legs: Prop two or more pillows under the calf of the casted leg. Do not rest or prop leg using the heel area. This helps prevent any skin break down of the heel. Wiggle your toes to reduce swelling and increase blood flow.

Casted arms: When you are in bed, put your arm on top of two or more pillows. If you have a sling, use it as needed. Wiggle your fingers to reduce swelling and increase blood flow.

Daily Care

Check your fingers and toes daily. Call if you notice any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Increased pain.

  • Swelling that is not reduced by raising above heart level.

  • Numbness, tingling or temperature change that does not improve with raising or position change.

  • Loss of movement (wiggle your fingers or toes to check).

  • Pain that is not relieved with medicine.

Keep the cast dry and clean. To protect your skin from irritation, cover the edges of the cast with waterproof tape or moleskin. This will also help prevent the edges of the cast from crumbling.

Skin Care

Check the skin under the edges of the cast each day. If you see constant redness, broken skin or sores, call your doctor or the Orthopedic Clinic.


  • Use a blow dryer on a cool setting. Blow cool air at the opening of the cast.

  • Do not shake powder into the cast.

  • Do not stick any object into the cast to scratch the skin.

  • Do not cover the cast with plastic bags for a long period of time.


Your provider will talk with you about any limits you may have. Check with them about going back to work or school. Your casted arm or leg will swell when you use it. The swelling may cause pain. To relieve the swelling, raise your arm or leg and wiggle your fingers or toes.

When to Call

  • You have numbness, tingling, temperature, or color change that does not improve with raising or position change.

  • You have an odor or unusual drainage under or through the cast.

  • Your cast becomes loose, cracked, broken, wet or just feels terribly tight without relief from raising it.

Who to Call

Orthopedic Clinic
1 South Park St

Orthopedic Clinic
UW Health East Madison Hospital

Pediatric Orthopedic Clinic

Orthopedic Trauma Clinic

If you have concerns after hours call the Orthopedic Resident on call at:

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.