How to apply a cast to a broken arm

Shifts in the Brain Improve Skills So You’re Not a Klutz for Long, Study Shows

Jan. 16, 2012 — Breaking an arm and wearing a sling or a cast is a real inconvenience, to say the least. When it’s the arm you depend on to eat, write, dress, brush your teeth, bathe, and do most everything, well, that’s when all the fun begins.

But Swiss researchers have discovered that the brain adjusts quickly to a broken limb. It doesn’t take long — perhaps a week or two — before shifts in the brain occur so people can adapt to their new circumstances and be less clumsy in using their other arm.

A new study has shown that two weeks after a broken arm, there’s an increase in the size of the brain areas needed to compensate for the injury, and a decrease in areas of the brain not being used while in a sling or cast. This rapid reorganization of the brain allows someone who is usually right-handed, for example, to transfer skills to the left hand while the hurt arm heals.


This finding is not only important for those with broken arms who temporarily need to rely on their less-used limb. It may also apply to people who are recovering from a stroke and working to regain lost motor skills.

“These results are especially interesting for rehabilitation therapy for people who’ve had strokes or other issues,” researcher Nicolas Langer, MSc, says in a news release. He is a neuropsychology researcher at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

The study is published in the journal Neurology.

How the Brain Adapts

In this small study, researchers asked 10 healthy people who were right-handed and broke a bone in their upper arm to have two MRIs. The first brain scan took place within two days of the injury and a second one occurred a little more than two weeks after getting a sling or cast.

Scientists tested how well the usual right-handers could move their left hand and use it to perform various tasks. Scans allowed them to see how certain regions of the brain had adapted to people having their dominant hand immobilized for at least 14 days.


Researchers observed that even within two weeks’ time, the volunteers were much better at using their left hand than they had been two days after the injury. Regions in the brain’s left hemisphere linked with the use of the right hand had decreased in size.

Areas in the brain that improved skills in the left hand had increased in size, giving a person better movement and hand control in the uninjured arm. In other words, the sling or cast was doing its job of resting the limb so it could heal. And the brain had reorganized by forming new connections between brain cells to compensate for these changes.

In fact, the better an injured person could now do a usual task with his left hand, whether it was using a computer mouse or buttoning a shirt, the thicker the areas in the brain’s right hemisphere, which control the task, had become.

“The findings highlight the capacity of the human brain to adapt rapidly to changing demands,” write the researchers.


Langer, M. Neurology, Jan. 17, 2012.

News release, American Academy of Neurology.

Jonathan Cluett, MD, is board-certified in orthopedic surgery. He served as assistant team physician to Chivas USA (Major League Soccer) and the United States men’s and women’s national soccer teams.

Michael Menna, DO, is board-certified in emergency medicine. He is an attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York and also works at an urgent care center and a telemedicine company that provides care to patients across the country.

After a bone is broken it needs rest and support to heal properly. Orthopedic doctors use casts to support and protect injured bones. A cast is a supportive bandage that is solid and wraps all the way around the extremity.

Casts come in many shapes and sizes, but the two most common types of cast material used are plaster and fiberglass. While casts can be uncomfortable and cumbersome, they are an effective and efficient method to treat fractures.

How to apply a cast to a broken arm


While fiberglass material is newer, many casts used today are still made from plaster. Plaster casts are most often used when a fracture reduction (repositioning of the bone) is performed.

The reason plaster is used after repositioning the bone is that plaster can be well molded to the patient, and therefore it can support the bone more precisely.   When a bone was out of position and is manipulated back into position, plaster may be used to help hold the bone in the proper position.

The problem with plaster is that it is heavy and must remain dry. Plaster casts are a burden for the patient because of their bulky and heavy material. Furthermore, water will distort the cast shape and can cause problems for healing should the cast get wet.


Fiberglass casts are usually fitted when the bone is not out of position, or if the healing process has already started.   Fiberglass casts are lighter weight, longer wearing, and more breathable than plaster. The fiberglass casts are sturdier than the plaster and require less maintenance.

The vast majority of casts used today are fiberglass. The other advantage of fiberglass that is appealing to many (not just kids) is that it comes in many colors and is easy to ‘dress up.’

Both plaster and fiberglass casts are wrapped over a few layers of cotton that serve to protect the skin. Keeping this cotton clean and dry will be of utmost importance for your comfort.   There is a special type of padding material that can be used under fiberglass casts to allow the cast to get wet. Ask your doctor if you are interested in a “waterproof” cast.


Casts can also be differentiated from splint materials. A splint is often referred to by other names such as a soft cast or temporary cast.

Splints are often used when more rigid immobilization is not needed, or in the early stages after a fracture has occurred.   For example, seldom do patients leave a hospital emergency room in a cast. Instead, after their fracture is diagnosed, they are typically splinted. Splints can be made of many materials

The advantage of the splint in this setting is that there is more room for swelling. A potentially devastating complication of cast treatment after a fracture is compartment syndrome. This condition occurs when too much pressure builds up inside the body and can occur after a fracture when swelling occurs in a space confined by a cast.  

While compartment syndrome typically causes severe pain, this can be difficult to distinguish from normal fracture pain after a broken bone, and therefore most doctors don’t want to risk a complication and will, therefore, use a splint to ensure there is adequate room for swelling.

Jonathan Cluett, MD, is board-certified in orthopedic surgery. He served as assistant team physician to Chivas USA (Major League Soccer) and the United States men’s and women’s national soccer teams.

Michael Menna, DO, is a board-certified, active attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York.

If you have a broken bone, it is quite likely that you have a cast—and that you face the big challenge of trying to bathe or shower while keeping your cast dry. Here, some ideas for keeping your cast dry so you can and still keep yourself clean.

One tip not to try is to shower by holding the cast out of the way. Water will inevitably drip down your arm or leg, soaking the cast’s padding.

Even if you plan on holding your cast out of the path of the water, find something to cover it. Wet casts can cause a number of problems including bad odors, skin problems, and discomfort.

Plastic Bag

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Jaunty Junto / Getty Images

A newspaper bag is often the perfect size plastic bag to cover your cast. Other good options are bread bags or small trash bags. These can be sealed at the top either with some tape or a rubber band.

A rubber band allows the bag to be reused, and it is also much gentler on your skin. Be sure to check the bag for holes, and do not try to submerge the cast.

Plastic Wrap

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

Plastic wrap can be used to cover a cast, although it must be wrapped tightly. Take special care to ensure a good seal around the top of the cast. This method may leave gaps where water can seep through, but it is an inexpensive and easy method to cover the cast.

Using a rubber band at the top of the cast can help ensure the seal will not leak. Again, refrain from submerging the cast in water, as the seal may not be as tight as you hope.

Cast Covers

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Courtesy of Amazon

Several companies make sleeves specifically designed to cover your cast. The sleeves often include a pump that sucks the air out from under the cover, forming a tight seal against the arm or leg.

Cast covers come in different sizes, and seem to work very well. They are much more durable than other options, and therefore unlikely to tear. These should stay dry even when completely submerged underwater.

While it may seem like a more significant cost than a simple plastic bag, they are much more durable and more likely to be effective at keeping all of the water out!

Waterproof Cast Material

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Anna Fredriksson / Getty Images

Some cast materials are made to withstand getting wet. While these don’t make the cast truly waterproof, they are able to withstand getting wet, without causing damage to the cast. These waterproof materials work well for kids, especially in the summer months.

There are several types of waterproof cast material, some seem to work better than others. Try to only get the cast wet infrequently because even though the material can withstand being wet, it can take a long time to completely dry out. Some people still choose to use a cover, even when they have a waterproof cast.

Technically speaking, the answer to the question “can broken bones heal without a cast?” is yes. Assuming conditions are just right, a broken bone can heal without a cast. However, (and very importantly) it doesn’t work in all cases. Likewise, a broken bone left to heal without a cast may heal improperly. So perhaps instead of asking “can broken bones heal without a cast?”, the more useful question to answer is “do I need to get a cast?”

How to Heal a Broken Bone

Before answering the question, “do I need to get a cast?” It helps to consider how to heal a broken bone. Just as a cut on the skin will heal by itself, so too will a bone. If the cut is small, and the edges of the cut are close together, the skin will close itself up with time. The larger the cut, the longer the healing process will take, and the larger the scar will be. If there is considerable pressure placed on the skin, the cut will take even longer to heal, and the scar may be bigger afterwards.

The skin cut analogy can be used to help us understand how to heal a broken bone. If the break is small, and the edges are close together, it is more likely that the bone can knit itself together. On the other hand, if the sections of remaining bone are far apart and/or there is excessive pressure on the bone, the healing process of the broken bone will take longer. It is also more likely that the healed bone will be abnormal (like a large scar).

Thus, the best way to ensure a broken bone heals properly is to create the right conditions for the bone to heal. The bones should be immobilized, or not be able to move relative to one another. Since it takes weeks for bone to heal, the bone needs to be immobilized the entire time.

Lastly, the body needs to have optimal nutrients for the healing to occur. Bone healing requires calcium, natural hormones, vitamins, and adequate nutrition. Nutritional deficiencies, vitamin deficiencies, and certain chronic diseases can interfere with the natural process of bone healing. 1 However, properly treating these problems can help restore natural bone healing.

Do I Need a Cast for a Broken Bone?

When you consider what a bone needs to properly heal itself after being broken, a cast makes good sense in many cases. A cast holds the broken bones in alignment and close to one another for several weeks, until the cast is removed. If the broken bone is in the leg, people usually are also given crutches or even a wheelchair to keep weight off of the healing bone.

A broken bone cast is required for longer bones such as the arms and legs. Some also may need to get a cast for certain broken bones in the torso, such as ribs, collarbones, and shoulders. On the other hand, people with finger fractures may not need to get a cast if the finger can be held in place with a splint or tape.

In essence, a broken bone cast is required if a rigid cast can create the right conditions for the broken bone to heal (see How to Heal a Broken Bone above).

Broken Bone Treatment Options

A cast is one option for treating a broken bone, but it is not the only treatment option. Other broken bone treatment options include splinting, taping, bracing, placing the affected bones in a sling, and surgery. As mentioned, finger fractures are often treated with taping. Typically, a process called “buddy taping” is used in which the broken finger is taped together with one or both surrounding fingers. The hand may be further immobilized with a brace.

An air splint is a temporary method of holding the bones together until a cast can be placed. An air splint is a long air-filled tube that provides some, but not full immobilization.

Some bones and some fractures are best treated with surgery. An orthopedic surgeon may use screws and plates to hold the broken bones in careful alignment with one another. The hardware can then be removed once the bone has healed.

Do You Have a Broken Bone?

Broken bones are treated by orthopedic surgeons. They are the experts in all broken bone treatment options, from taping to casting to surgery. Whether you need to get a cast or not, a broken bone should be evaluated and treated by an orthopedic surgeon. The orthopedic surgeons at Regional Orthopedics are leading specialists in this regard — they know how to heal broken bone inside and out.

If you want to learn more about broken bone treatment options, contact Regional Orthopedics for a consultation.

Get medical advice as soon as possible if you think you have broken your arm or wrist. Any possible breaks need to be treated as soon as possible. It’s not always clear if your arm or wrist is broken or just sprained so it’s important to get your injury looked at by a healthcare professional.

Urgent advice: Get advice from 111 now if:

You have had an injury to your arm or wrist and:

  • the injury is very painful
  • there is a large amount of swelling or bruising
  • you cannot use the affected arm or wrist due to the pain

111 will tell you what to do. They can tell you the right place to get help if you need to see someone.

Other ways to get help

Go to an urgent treatment centre

Urgent treatment centres are places you can go if you need to see someone now.

They’re also called walk-in centres or minor injuries units.

You may be seen quicker than you would at A&E.

Immediate action required: Go to A&E or call 999 if:

  • the affected arm or wrist is numb, is tingling or has pins and needles
  • you have a bad cut that is bleeding heavily
  • a bone is sticking out of your skin
  • your arm or wrist has changed shape or is at an odd angle

Things to do while you’re waiting to see a doctor

gently hold an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel) to the injured area for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours

stop any bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with a clean pad or dressing if possible

remove any jewellery such as rings or watches – your fingers, wrist or hand could swell up

take paracetamol for the pain

do not eat or drink anything in case you need surgery to fix the bone when you get to hospital

do not try to use the affected arm or wrist

Treatment for a broken arm or wrist

When you get to hospital the affected arm will be placed in a splint to support it and stop any broken bones from moving out of position.

You will also be given painkilling medicines for the pain.

An X-ray is then used to see if there is a break and how bad that break is.

A plaster cast can be used to keep your arm in place until it heals – sometimes this may be done a few days later, to allow any swelling to go down first. You may be given a sling to support your arm.

A doctor may try to fit the broken bones back into place with their hands before applying a splint or cast – you will be given medicine before this happens so you will not feel any pain. If you had a very bad break surgery may be carried out to fix broken bones back into place.

Before leaving hospital, you’ll be given painkillers to take home and advice on how to look after your cast.

You’ll be asked to attend follow-up appointments to check how your arm or wrist is healing.

How long does it take to recover from a broken arm or wrist?

In most cases it takes around 6 to 8 weeks to recover from a broken arm or wrist. It can take longer if your arm or wrist was severely damaged.

You will need to wear your plaster cast until the broken bone heals. The skin under the cast may be itchy for a few days but this should pass.

The hospital will give you an advice sheet on exercises you should do every day to help speed up your recovery.

Your arm or wrist may be stiff and weak after the cast is removed. A physiotherapist can help with these problems, although sometimes they can last several months or more.

Things you can do to help during recovery

try to keep your hand raised above your elbow whenever possible; use a pillow at night to do this

follow any exercise advice you have been given

use the painkillers you have been given to ease pain

do not get your cast wet – waterproof cast covers are available from pharmacies

do not use anything to scratch under the cast as this could lead to an infection

do not drive or try to lift heavy items until you have been told it is safe to do so

Urgent advice: Get advice from 111 now if:

  • the pain in your arm or wrist gets worse
  • your temperature is very high or you feel hot and shivery
  • your cast breaks, or the cast feels too tight or too loose
  • your fingers, wrist and arm start to feel numb
  • your fingers, wrist and arm look swollen or turn blue or white
  • there’s a bad smell or discharge of liquid from under your cast

111 will tell you what to do. They can tell you the right place to get help if you need to see someone.

Other ways to get help

Go to an urgent treatment centre

Urgent treatment centres are places you can go if you need to see someone now.

They’re also called walk-in centres or minor injuries units.

You may be seen quicker than you would at A&E.

Page last reviewed: 27 May 2020
Next review due: 27 May 2023

Am Fam Physician. 2009 Jan 1;79(1):23-24.

See related article on casting and splinting.

What are casts and splints?

Casts and splints are hard wraps used to support and protect injured bones, ligaments, tendons, and other tissues. They help broken bones heal by keeping the broken ends together and as straight as possible. Casts and splints also help with pain and swelling and protect the injured area from more harm.

What is the difference between a cast and a splint?

A cast wraps all the way around an injury and can only be removed in the doctor’s office. All casts are custom-made with fiberglass or plaster.

A splint is like a “half cast.” The hard part of a splint does not wrap all the way around the injured area. It is held in place by an elastic bandage or other material. Unlike casts, splints can be easily removed or adjusted. Many splints are custom-made from fiberglass or plaster. Others are premade (“off-the-shelf”) and come in lots of shapes and sizes for different injuries.

What are they made of?

The inside layer may be a “sock-like” material called a stockinette and is used more often with casts than with splints. Padding is also used to protect the skin and tissues under it and to make casts and splints more comfortable. Padding can be made from cotton or a man-made material.

The outer layer is usually plaster or fiberglass. Your doctor will pick the best materials for you. Fiberglass and plaster are put on while they are wet. Fiberglass dries in 15 to 30 minutes, but plaster can take longer.

If you are walking on the cast or splint, the drying time will be longer. On average, plaster will take about a day and a half before it’s hard enough to support your weight, but fiberglass will take about 20 to 30 minutes.

How long does a cast or splint stay on?

A splint usually stays on for several days to weeks. If the injured area is very swollen, a splint may be used first to allow for that swelling. If you need a cast, your doctor will remove the splint and apply a cast. Casts that are kept in good condition can stay on for several weeks. Your doctor will tell you how long your cast will need to stay on.

Splints and casts often need to be adjusted in the first few days if your injury is swollen. As the swelling goes down, a cast may become too loose. If swelling increases, the splint or cast may become too tight.

What if the pain gets worse?

Some people have mild pain and swelling if they don’t rest the injured area enough. To avoid this, it is important to do the following:

Keep the injured area above the level of your heart (for instance, prop it up with pillows).

Wiggle your fingers or toes while resting.

Apply ice, if needed. It can be used for 15 to 30 minutes over a cast or splint as long as the ice doesn’t get the splint or cast wet or touch the skin for too long.

Talk to your doctor before taking pain medicine.

When should I call my doctor?

Call your doctor right away if you have:

Numbness, tingling, burning, or stinging on or near the injured area

Circulation problems (if your skin, nails, fingers, or toes become discolored, pale, blue, gray, or cold to the touch, or if you have trouble moving your fingers or toes)

Bleeding, pus, drainage, or bad smells coming from the cast

A wet, broken, or damaged cast or splint

Your doctor may need to adjust, remove, or change your splint or cast. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.

What should I do when I bathe?

Be sure to keep your cast or splint dry, especially during baths and showers. Casts and splints made from plaster can break if they get wet, and your skin can break down. Fiberglass casts are water-resistant, but the lining will absorb water. So if the lining gets wet, the skin underneath may become irritated or infected.

When you bathe, wrap two layers of plastic over the cast or splint and make sure a plastic bag is tightly sealed over it. This will make it water- resistant , but not water proof , so do not put the cast or splint directly in water. Moisture can damage the outside of the cast or splint, but, more importantly, a wet cast can irritate the skin or cause infection.

What else do I need to know?

Take good care of your cast or splint to help your injury heal properly. Also remember:

Never stick objects inside a cast or splint. They can get stuck, break off, or hurt your skin.

Don’t get dirt or sand inside a cast or splint.

Don’t apply powders or deodorants inside a cast. For severe itching, call your doctor.

Never break off pieces of your cast or splint or try to adjust it yourself. If it needs to be adjusted, call your doctor.

Check the cast and the exposed skin daily. If you notice damage to the cast or any injury, call your doctor.

How is a cast taken off?

Your doctor will use a special cast saw with a blade that vibrates but does not spin. It cuts through the outer layer, but not the lining.

Never remove a cast yourself. Using any type of home saw or cutting materials could cause serious injury to your skin, blood vessels, and injured limb.

Where can I get more information?

American Academy of Family Physicians

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Read the full article.

  • Get immediate access, anytime, anywhere.
  • Choose a single article, issue, or full-access subscription.
  • Earn up to 6 CME credits per issue.

Already a member or subscriber? Log in

Get Full Access

  • Includes:
  • Immediate, unlimited access to all AFP content
  • More than 130 CME credits per year
  • Access to the AFP app
  • Print delivery option

Access This Issue

  • Includes:
  • Immediate access to this issue
  • CME credits in this issue

This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at

This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.

Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions

How to apply a cast to a broken arm

So you are traveling with an arm cast…huh? Was it an unexpected wrist sprain while rollerblading, a broken elbow from a surprising slip on the ice; or maybe you tripped on the dog and now have a plate and screws in your forearm?

A trip to the doctor….. an x-ray and…..

an annoying arm cast.

Next time you are at the airport or a national monument, look around, you’d be amazed at how many wrist braces, knee supports, copper gloves, etc people are wearing. People are traveling more than ever regardless of their abilities or inabilities. Whether your trip was planned for vacation or business; you all have one thing in common.

Your injury was NOT on the itinerary.

More often than not, your trip was planned months in advance and you REFUSE to let your arm injury get in the way of your DREAM vacation. Or perhaps, you have an important business trip that cannot be rescheduled and an arm cast will just have to go with your suit.

I’ve happily helped the wounded traveler continue on to their dream get away, work trip, or family vacation quickly after an arm or hand injury.

I’ve seen people travel with everything from minor wrist injuries to severe amputations. Lucky for you, it’s time to share the proven tips I’ve learned from experienced, injured travelers to help you feel more comfortable and pain free while traveling with an arm cast.

Know your dream vacay does not have to end as a result. Sometimes a trip can be just what the doctor ordered.

Get clearance from your doctor.

Get clearance from your doctor. Most physicians will want you to wait at least 24 to 48 hours after your injury or surgery. This is largely due to the swelling that can occur in your fingers or hand.

For example, if you are traveling with an arm cast or splint on, there is a high chance for your fingers and hand to swell. This is a normal body response after an injury.

However, the last thing you need is to be on a plane or in a different state and have to be rushed to an emergency room because the cast is affecting your circulation.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to have your doctor provide a signed medical certificate stating you are fit to fly.

Additional reasons to get the go ahead from your doctor, may be due to medication and medication refills. You may be prescribed pain medications which should not be taken if you are driving. They also come with adverse effects (like constipation) that may not leave you feeling very well while traveling in the car or plane.

Lastly, the doctor may want you to get started with occupational or physical therapy BEFORE you leave to get you started on movement. You’ll want to start a therapy program, per doctor’s orders, to get the best outcome. And that brings me to my next tip.

Take your therapist with you.

Well, not literally, although I will joyfully come along! What I mean is, make sure you sign up to see your physical or occupational therapist through an online teletherapy platform. Now a days you can see a therapist through any mobile device; so it’s like a therapist in your pocket!

Typically, whether you have surgery or not; one of the most important elements in your recovery is to attend therapy.

The last thing you need is a surgery to release tight joints that never got the right amount of motion in the first place.

The virtual hand therapist can help your mobility because they know what exercises are safe for your injury. provide tips to help with swelling and pain, address any concerns that arise while you are away, and so much more.

This can be one less thing to worry about and reduce any anxiety you may have about your recovery process.

There is comfort in knowing, you don’t have to find a reputable therapy clinic in a different state or country.

Want to take a therapist with you?
Click here.

Call ahead to the hotels you will be staying in to find out about services they have, if any, that may assist you.

For example, make sure they have a working ice machine to reduce swelling, request extra pillows for a better night’s sleep, or ask if your room will have a microwave for moist heat application to help with stiff fingers.

Call ahead to the airline to see what type of assistance you can get and if you can schedule it ahead of time. Plan the items you are packing and give yourself more time. Use items such as a back pack to avoid having to carry bags. Keep in mind, if you have a shoulder injury, this may not work for you.

If you are leaving for a long trip, have items shipped to the location to avoid having to pack large boxes or suitcases. If you are flying, check your bags.

Do you really want to haul a suitcase around with your one good arm just to save a few bucks? This tip is especially helpful if you have a layover.

Don’t have a lot of time to think about packing? Then only pack the essentials into ONE back pack or roll away luggage.

Ask for help.

You would think this would be easy but many people do not want to feel burdensome or draw attention to themselves. Well, I’m hear to tell ya that traveling with an arm cast, or any cast for that matter does draw some attention.

Please, please, PLEASE do NOT attempt to lift a suitcase into a car, or worse into the overhead bin on a flight with your injured arm. I am only saying this because it happens and most people regret it.

Ask for assistance from a flight attendant, ask a fellow passenger on the plane, or pay the neighbor boy a few bucks to pile your suitcases in your car.

Jonathan Cluett, MD, is board-certified in orthopedic surgery. He served as assistant team physician to Chivas USA (Major League Soccer) and the United States men’s and women’s national soccer teams.

Ashley Hall is a writer and fact checker who has been published in multiple medical journals in the field of surgery.

Broken bones occur frequently, and just about everyone can expect to have to wear a cast at some point in their life. Many people associate cast treatment and cast decorating ideas with kids and childhood injuries. But everyone should have a cast they can be proud of.

Having a cast is usually not as much fun as we thought it would be when we were kids. So why not make the best of it and brighten your day, as well as those around you. Here are some favorite ways to brighten your cast.

Get a Cool Color

How to apply a cast to a broken arm

Most doctors who apply casts carry a variety of colored cast options.   Popular colors are the bright neon pink, green, and oranges. Some people prefer the color of their favorite sports team or school color. There is even glow-in-the-dark cast material.

One suggestion, if you are going to have trouble keeping your cast clean (be honest), you will want a darker color. Kids often want their friends to be able to sign their cast; there is a marking pen that can work for even the darkest colors (see below). Try a silver ink pen on the dark color casts.

Combining cast colors or having a two colored cast can work, but generally for longer casts (ones that go both above and below the elbow or knee). Cast colors usually come as one color on the roll and using different colors only works if you are needing multiple rolls of cast material.

If you want a multi-colored cast, there are some cast materials that come in camouflage or other multi-colored patterns.

Have It Signed by Friends

Not that it needs to be suggested because having your cast signed has been the favorite of broken bone sufferers for generations, but it is harder to sign fiberglass casts than the older style plaster casts. It can be done, though. Just buy a thick marker. If you have a darker colored cast, you can buy a thick-tipped silver marker that should work well.

Just keep in mind before you hand the pen over, that most ink will be on the cast for the duration of your treatment. While your friends may find their witty markings humorous, it’s you who has to live with the cast.

Cover It Up

Several companies and entrepreneurs make decorative cast covers. You can find these available for order online, including on Amazon and Etsy.

An example is CastCoverz!, a company that produces stylish covers for casts, splints, boots, and slings. Available in a large variety of designs and fabrics, CastCoverz also prevents snagging and scratching and they are easily removed for washing.

One of the advantages of these types of covers is that your cast can change with your mood or your style. Unlike the aforementioned decorations, a cover is removable, replaceable, and probably most important, washable.

A cast cover is a great way to keep your cast clean, and for those obsessed with matching their attire, this is a method to keep you in fashion.