Plasters, Casts and Crutches

Bergholt Ward

Tel: 01473 702194 or 702195

Information for parents, guardians and carers

Your child has a plaster cast in order to immobilise their affected limb which will promote healing and reduce trauma.

You can expect the cast to be in place for 4-6 weeks unless the medical staff have told you otherwise.

Your child should return to the Emergency Department immediately if:

  • severe pain develops in their affected limb which is not relieved by raising the limb and pain relief medication
  • there is marked swelling of their fingers or toes
  • their fingers or toes become blue or white
  • their fingers or toes cannot be moved
  • there is numbness or pins and needles in their fingers or toes
  • any object becomes lodged under the cast.

Please telephone the ward or Plaster Room for advice if your child’s plaster:
a) cracks or softens

b) becomes wet

c) becomes loose

d) becomes uncomfortable.

Your child should:

  • exercise their fingers or toes and limbs as instructed
  • raise their plastered limb as much as possible
  • use a sling if advised
  • use walking aids as instructed (please return them to the ward when they are no longer required)
  • have regular pain relief.

Your child should not:

  • stand or press on their cast until it is dry – 48 hours for plaster of Paris casts, 20 minutes for synthetic casts
  • get the cast wet
  • write on the cast until it is dry
  • poke anything under the cast
  • keep their arm in a sling longer than instructed
  • cut or interfere with their cast
  • play sport.

Crutches should not be used on stairs unless your child has been specifically taught.

To stand, your child should:

  • hold both crutches in one hand
  • push up from the chair
  • once standing, transfer one crutch to the other hand, then
  • put the crutches in front of them and get their balance.

To sit, your child should:

  • have the chair immediately behind them
  • take both arms out of the crutches and put them in one hand
  • hold the chair arm with the other hand, then
  • sit down gently.

To walk:
a] If your child is allowed to put weight on their injured leg he or she should:

  • put both crutches forward
  • put their injured leg one step forward just behind their crutches
  • take their weight onto their hands and bring their good leg alongside their injured leg, then
  • put both crutches forward.

b] If your child is not allowed to put weight on their injured leg he or she should:

  • put both crutches forward keeping their injured leg off the ground
  • take their weight onto their hands
  • bring their good leg forward, just behind the crutches (they must not swing in front of their crutches), and
  • keep their injured leg close to their good leg.

If you have any concerns about your child’s cast or limb, please telephone the following numbers for advice.

Monday to Friday, 9am-5 pm:
Plaster Room on 01473 702066

All other times:
Emergency Department on 01473 702036

You can also contact the paediatric physiotherapists on 01473 702185.

Please keep the follow-up outpatient appointment.

Please return the crutches/wheelchairs to the ward when they are no longer required.