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What is a cast?

Dr. Rachel S. Rohde, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon

Certain injuries require immobilization for healing; often this requires the application of a "cast." A cast is made of hard material, usually plaster or fiberglass, which is wrapped all the way around the arm or the leg. Cotton or other padding is used first to pad the skin and then plaster or fiberglass is applied wet. Within minutes, the cast starts to harden in the position in which it is held. The cast will continue to harden over a day or two, so care must be taken to protect it. Unless you have special waterproof lining, casts need to stay clean and dry. The cast itself can keep a broken bone from moving, but to do this, the joints above and below the break usually need to be held still as well.

A cast is a bandage covered in a type of glue. It is wrapped around the part of the body where a fracture is located. As the glue sets, the cast becomes very hard and strong. Once the fracture has healed, the cast will be removed. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.