Casting and Bracing

If you have been injured, it is natural to have many questions regarding wearing splints/casts. Our experts at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center in Greater Columbus can help. Schedule an appointment with us today!

How is a Cast Removed?

Your doctor will carefully remove the cast with a special cast saw. The flat, rounded metal blade will vibrate to cut through the plaster without harming any of your skin beneath.

Afterward, a unique tool is used to spread and lift away each segment before scissors are used for cutting out additional layers, such as padding and stockinette fabric.

What Our Patients Say

“I have had great care from all staff at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center. Very friendly and professional. Very clean environment. They helped me so much with my foot surgery. Their nurse practitioner was very helpful and caring. I love how they put my cast on and removed my stitches. They are very gentle and explain everything they are doing.” — Mary B.

What Are a Cast and a Splint/Brace?

Casts and splints are custom-made orthopedic devices that are used to support and protect injured bones, joints, and soft tissues. These orthopedic devices keep the injured limb (injured arm or leg) immobilized and the bone in place until it completely heals.

A cast can be made out of fiberglass or plaster. Fiberglass is a type of plastic that can be shaped. It has many advantages in comparison to plaster, including:

Plaster materials cost less than fiberglass. In certain cases, it is also more easily shaped than fiberglass.

A patient with a foot brace in Columbus, Ohio.

What is the Difference Between a Cast and a Splint?

A patient with an ankle cast.

Casts offer a greater degree of support and protection for broken or damaged limbs when compared to splints. As casts are commonly crafted from plaster or fiberglass, they can be easily molded into the exact shape of your injured limb.

While splints (also referred to as half-casts) provide less support than casts, they are less restrictive, faster, and simpler to use. A splint acts as a “half cast” because it does not fully surround the injured area. They also can be adjusted (tightened or loosened) easily as the swelling in your leg increases or decreases.

Whether you need ready-made off-the-shelf splints or a custom-designed splint, there is an array of sizes and shapes to choose from. For added ease, splints come equipped with Velcro straps that make it simple to secure on (or remove).

When Are Casts and Splints Used?

Casts and splints may be used when a bone is broken or post-surgery. Splints are sometimes used immediately following an injury to lessen pain and manage swelling in the injured area. After the swelling subsides, your doctor might switch to a full cast for better stability of the injured limb.

As the swelling decreases and the cast no longer fits closely, it may be replaced by a splint. This allows for more mobility during recovery than what was provided with your original cast.

Tips for Caring for Your Cast

Follow these essential tips to care for your cast properly:

Potential Cast Complications

Potential complications from wearing a cast can range from minor to serious. The intensity of these complications may vary according to the length of time that you have worn your cast and may include:

  • Pressure sores: It is possible for a sore to develop on the skin that is underneath the cast.
  • Compartment syndrome: A serious issue induced by an overly tight or inflexible cast. When too much pressure builds up within the cast, it can permanently damage your muscles, nerves, and blood vessels underneath if not identified and addressed rapidly.

If you require casting or bracing of your foot or ankle after experiencing a serious injury, schedule an appointment at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center. Our specialists in the Columbus, OH area are ready to give you the support you need.
Contact us today!

Medically Reviewed by Sarah M. Abshier, DPM

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