Plaster casts are made up of a bandage and a hard covering, usually plaster of Paris. They allow broken bones in the arm or leg to heal by holding them in place, and usually need to stay on for between 4 and 12 weeks.
Taking good care of your cast will help ensure a better recovery.
Keep your arm or leg raised on a soft surface, such as a pillow, for as long as possible in the first few days. This will help any swelling to go down.
Don't get your plaster cast wet. This will weaken it, and your bone will no longer be properly supported.
It's possible to buy special covers for plaster casts to keep them dry when washing or bathing. Ask your local pharmacist for more information. Don't try to use plastic bags, bin liners, cling film or similar to keep the cast dry, as these are not reliable methods.
If your cast gets wet, contact your hospital or minor injuries unit for advice as soon as possible.
Always remove any covering as soon as you can to avoid causing sweating, which could also damage the cast.
Even if the plaster cast makes your skin feel very itchy, don't poke anything underneath it. This could cause a nasty sore and lead to infection.
Do not walk on a cast unless you have been told it is safe to do so and have been given a plaster shoe.
The itchiness should settle down after a few days.
You should contact your local hospital or minor injuries unit for advice if:
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.