If you suffer a significant injury to your foot or ankle, or the area needs to be protected following a surgical procedure, there’s a chance that you’ll be fitted for a protective cast. These casts can be a perfect option for the right patient, but many people are unfamiliar with the expectations and challenges they’ll experience while their foot is in a plaster cast. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at what you can expect while your foot is recovering in a protective cast.
Getting Your Foot Casted
The casting process is actually pretty simple and takes only a few minutes. Your doctor will fit your foot and ankle with a soft sleeve before wrapping the area with cotton to help provide a layer of protection. Once that’s in place, the casting material with fiberglass will be applied and wrapped around the area. The doctor will work to mold the cast to a comfortable and supportive fit. Finally, a colorful and protective outer layer of casting material is applied to provide one last layer of protection. The mold hardens quickly, and you’ll soon be on your way out of the office.
If you’re in a foot cast, there’s a decent chance that you’ll be prescribed crutches to help keep weight off the area and help you get around. While it may be a little uncomfortable, it’s important that you work to get used to them because you should not be putting pressure on your foot at this time. Doing so could cause a setback and leave you facing a longer rehabilitation. For best results, have a professional fit the crutches to your height.
As for getting around and navigating life in a cast or while on crutches, here are some helpful tips to consider.
- Pick up tripping hazards and keep walking paths clear.
- Having friends or family members assist with carrying objects
- Take the elevator and use handrails when navigating stairs.
- Set up stations around the house in areas you frequent with helpful supplies like water and a phone charger.
- Talk to your teachers or manager about getting a little extra time for tasks that require movement.
- When you’re not walking, help your foot recover by elevating it and eating a healthy diet.
It’s also important that you are aware that your cast isn’t designed to get wet, so you need to be careful around water. If your cast gets wet, it may need to be removed and recasted, which leads to increased patient costs. Most adults can avoid jumping in puddles and can use appropriate protective measures when showering, but that’s not as easy if it’s your child who’s in the foot cast. Cast covers and wraps can help keep the area dry, but it’s still smart to avoid jumping in the water or taking a bath, even if you think the foot is sealed off from moisture. Talk to your doctor about the best ways to protect your foot if you believe dampness and moisture could be an issue.
Once your foot has healed to the point that the cast can be removed, you’ll want to ease back into activity so that you don’t overload the area that has been protected for an extended stretch. Many patients also partake in simple physical therapy exercises during this time to help increase strength and flexibility in the foot and ankle. We can help set you up with a program once your cast is removed if it is a recommended course of action.