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How to Care for Skin After a Cast is Removed
Skin requires special treatment after a cast is removed. The skin will be sensitive to touch and muscles are weak due to the immobilization of the cast 1. Give your skin some special care to help it regain its original condition. Children Specialists of San Diego recommends avoiding rigorous activity for the same amount of time the cast was in place.
Wash the skin gently with mild soap and water. Do not scrub, rub or scratch skin, as it will be sensitive. Soak the area in warm water for 20 minutes twice a day if the skin was enclosed in a cast for more than three weeks. Understand the skin may have an odor--this is normal. The odor will disappear within a few days. The warm soak removes dead skin buildup--don't try to remove the dead skin all at once. It will slowly fall off over the next few days.
Dry the area by patting or gently rubbing with a clean towel. Apply a fragrance-free lotion to the skin to add moisture and increase skin healing.
Avoid shaving the skin area for three days, suggests The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
Limit activity and elevate the extremity if swelling occurs. Muscles may have become weakened and stiff with no use. Apply ice as needed to decrease swelling.
Contact a medical professional if there are open sores where the cast was placed. Look for signs of infection including redness, abnormal swelling and a fever which is not relieved by acetaminophen.
- It is normal for function of the joints to be stiff and skin to be slightly discolored. Know that full range of motion and appearance will return slowly over time.
Skin requires special treatment after a cast is removed. The skin will be sensitive to touch and muscles are weak due to the immobilization of the cast'). Understand the skin may have an odor--this is normal. Dry the area by patting or gently rubbing with a clean towel.
- Textbook of Basic Nursing; Caroline Bunker Rosdahl and Mary T. Kowalski (eds.)