Once a cast has been removed, your child’s limb will still require some time to complete the healing process and return to normal function. During this time your child will need to take a extra care and avoid some physical activities.
What to expect
Immediately after cast removal
Dizziness and/or nausea can happen after cast removal. This can sometimes be delayed. If this happens, please take a seat and inform a member of staff immediately.
It is not unusual for joints to be a bit stiff immediately after plaster removal. Elbow fractures can take as long as 12 months to regain full elbow movement, while forearm and ankle injuries will recover faster.
The limb may swell for a few months after the cast has been removed. Lower limb fractures (thigh and shin) can cause a limp for three to six months, depending on the injury.
Physiotherapy is usually not required for children with simple fractures as their joints return to normal through everyday use.
Care at home
Your child may feel the urge to scratch the dry skin off the limb. Try to prevent this as the skin will be very sensitive for the first few days and must be treated delicately.
Moisturise the limb regularly to help the skin return to its normal condition and relieve any itching.
Keep it clean
Gently wash the limb with mild soap and a soft cloth.
- Wash and moisturise the area — dry and flaky skin is normal after a cast is removed.
- Exercise all joints through the full range of movement — as much as can be tolerated. Swimming and splashing in a pool is a good way to gently exercise the limb.
- Use the limb for light everyday activities
Avoid high-risk activities
High-risk activities should be avoided for the same amount of time as you were in the cast. These include:
- Monkey bars
- Flying foxes
When to seek help
Seek medical advice if you notice any of the following:
- a deformity or progressive deformity developing.
- Your child has increased swelling or redness to the affected area.
- the injured limb appears to be shorter than the other.
- limb function has not returned to pre-injury level in the prescribed amount of time.
- you have any concerns that you want to discuss with a doctor.
Orthopaedic Outpatients Department
Level 1, Queensland Children’s Hospital
501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane
t: 07 3068 2493
t: 07 3068 1111 (general enquiries)
In an emergency, always call 000.
If it’s not an emergency but you have any concerns, contact 13 Health (13 43 2584). Qualified staff will give you advice on who to talk to and how quickly you should do it. You can phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.