Can I Shower with a Cast On?
Friday, 25 August 2017 | Amy
You've broken your wrist. A cast has been fitted to support the limb while it heals. It's only natural that you may be worrying about how you're going to be carrying out your normal daily routine until the time comes for the cast to be removed. While certain, more strenuous activities should be avoided at all costs, it is important that such rituals as washing and bathing should not be overlooked.
Although it may seem daunting to take a shower while wearing a cast, there are certain measures that can be taken to protect your cast and prevent against it from becoming wet and, consequently, ineffective. With specific casts, water infiltration can also result in infection, but by following the suggestions below you can be assured that you have protected your cast as best as possible while washing.
Alternatives to Showering
The first question you need to ask yourself is: is showering my only option? Some homes may only have a shower, leaving you with no other choice of facility when it comes to thoroughly washing your body. However, if you are able to take a bath instead, this will enable you to prop your arm up on the edge of the bath or a nearby stool, reducing the risk of water splashing onto the cast.
If you feel it may be easier for you to reduce the amount of time your body is fully emerged in water, you may prefer to take sponge baths in between your regular bathing or showering. Not only will this reduce the time you need to spend around water, but it will also allow you more control over the water that goes near your cast. Simply sit down in a comfortable position, and use warm water and a sponge to cleanse yourself. This can be done near the sink, or with the help of a bucket.
Request a Waterproof Lining
If you have yet to have your cast fitted, you may be able to request with your doctor or surgeon that a waterproof lining is added. While this still does not mean that the cast can get wet, it does provide an additional preventative measure against any mild splashes of water.
Not every cast is suitable for a waterproof lining, and the other steps for protecting your cast while showering should still be followed. Your doctor will advise on whether or not a cast with a waterproof lining is an option for your specific injury.
Regardless of the method of showering or bathing you choose, it is imperative that you protect your cast with a protective waterproof cover. To ensure your cast is as protected as possible, it is best to seek out a cover that has been specially designed for such a use. The LimbO Half Arm Plaster Cast and Dressing Protector, for example, includes a comfortable seal that keeps the cast dry without feeling too tight or restrictive against the skin. Simply slip the cover over your cast and secure it in place, and you can bathe or shower with reduced risk.
Similarly, the Cast and Dressing Arm Protector seals efficiently with a self-sealing band, and the cover itself slips with ease over the cast to eliminate any uncomfortable positioning. The sealing band does not pinch the skin, and the cover itself is spacious to accommodate bulky casts. Additionally, some covers, such as this Cast and Dressing Arm Protector, have been designed with antimicrobial properties, helping you to keep your cast feeling more hygienic and comfortable for longer.
What If I've Got My Cast Wet?
Getting your cast wet can result in damage to the cast and, in some case, infection or irritation of the skin underneath it. Depending on the type of cast with which you have been fitted, there are different approaches to dealing with the situation. In any case of your cast becoming wet, you should always seek medical advice as soon as possible.
With a plaster cast is likely to change shape, and may even fall apart. With the cast weakened, the bones will no longer be supported.
While you wait for your doctor or surgeon to advise what you should do, you should not interfere with the cast or the skin beneath it - this includes poking any foreign objects underneath it to itch the skin that has become irritated as a result of the water and cast movement! If you were wearing any kind of waterproof cover to protect the cast, this should also be gently removed to prevent any water vapour from adding moisture to the cast.
With fibreglass casts, many come with a water-resistant lining. However, it is imperative to note that this does not mean it is waterproof; it simply means that it is slightly less likely to become damaged if it comes into contact with a tiny amount of water. If it does become wet, some people suggest that drying the cast with a hairdryer on a cool setting. However, this should be done under medical advice, and it is essential that neither a warm nor a hot setting is use, as this can cause skin irritations or burns.
In any event of a fibreglass cast becoming wet, you should consult your doctor to see if it needs to be replaced. The lining underneath the cast can start to smell, and it may also cause further complications or itchiness, so taking every precaution against incidental wetness will help to reduce this risk.
To find the best waterproof cast support or cover for you, browse our full range by following the link below.