A foot cast is a wonderful tool that helps to protect an area so that healing can run its course. However, if an issue develops with your cast or the area it’s protecting, your foot and ankle surgeon may need to readdress the area to stop a small problem in its tracks. In today’s blog, we explore some of the symptoms that suggest there may be an issue with your foot cast, and what you should do if you’re dealing with any of these issues.
Warning Signs Of A Cast Problem
Casts aren’t always the most comfortable accessory, but a little discomfort isn’t something to contact your doctor about. That said, if you find yourself dealing with any of the following symptoms or issues, you’ll want to reach out to your care clinic:
- Significant Pain Or Swelling – If you need to have your ankle casted after a fracture, odds are there will be some pain and swelling associated with the injury itself. If you find that pain is intensifying or the areas above or below your cast are significantly swollen, there may be an issue with blood flow or the tightness of your cast.
- Toe Discoloration – Casts typically allow the toes some room to breathe, but you should also pay attention to them to look for signs of an issue. If they are discolored, your cast may be too tight and you should let your specialist know right away.
- Numbness – Some mild numbness isn’t all that uncommon, but if you’re dealing with chronic or severe numbness, it could be a sign that your cast is causing a circulation or nerve tissue, and you should bring this up to your care team.
- Fever – If you are running a fever and you recently underwent foot surgery before your foot was placed in a protective cast, you need to talk to a medical professional right away. A fever in the wake of a surgical procedure could be indicative of the presence of an infection that will need to be treated with antibiotics.
- Foul Odor – Your cast is covering up the incision site, so it won’t always be easy to look for signs of an infection at the site itself. So while your eyes may not be able to look for the presence of an infection, your nose may be able to detect it. If your cast smells unusually smelly, this is another possible sign of an infection.
- Cracking Or Soft Spots – If your cast absorbed an impact or accidentally got wet, it could affect the integrity of the cast and leave you more susceptible to problems if the cast isn’t effectively doing its job. Look for cracking or soft spots that could signal a problem with your cast.
- Can’t Move Your Toes – You should be able to wiggle your toes even though your foot and ankle is wrapped in a protective cast. If you can’t wiggle your toes, the cast may be too tight or restrictive.
If you’re dealing with any of these issues, or you have another reason to believe that there is a problem with your cast, reach back out to your provider. And if you have questions about the best way to care for your feet after a foot or ankle injury, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.