Common Cast Problems and How to Handle Them - A Guide

Girl looking at her broken arm cast


Casts and slings are necessary for many different injuries and breaks. If you sprain your arm or break your leg, you will likely need to wear a plaster cast to stabilise and heal. No one likes having to wear them, but ultimately, it is for the benefit of your long-term health.

If you don’t wear a cast correctly, you may make problems worse.  However, there are a few cast problems that people face, which can put them off wearing them.  But did you know that those issues are often easy to remedy?

In this guide, we will take a look at some of the more common cast problems and complaints wearers have, and we will also look closely at how you can find relief.  How can cast covers help?  Read on and find out.




Itchy Skin

Man with an itchy broken arm

 We all have to deal with itchy skin.  It is often healthy to give it a scratch unless you have received advice otherwise!  However, when you start itching underneath a cast, things can begin to get a little tricky.  You can't take off your cast to relieve an itch, which can make things unbearable for some wearers.

However, there are a handful of things you can try to relieve the irritation.  Whatever you do, never insert a foreign object under your cast.  Doing so could irritate a wound, and may even cause infection.

One of the best ways to relieve cast itching is to blow air through it.  That could be from a hair dryer, for example.  However, you will need to make sure it is cool air, as warm air could make things worse.  It is surprising how effective this method is.

If your skin is itchy but exposed at the edge of a cast, try using a cold compress.  You could use a small ice pack or bag, for example, wrapped in material and pressed gently against anywhere that is itchy and sore.


Getting Your Cast Wet

Dani wearing short leg cast cover in the spa pool

Rule number one of wearing slings and casts is to never, ever, get them wet.  Wet casts and bandages will put any wounds or injuries you have at risk of deterioration.  Bruises, sores and cuts need to be kept dry.  What’s more, any cast or bandage that is fully submerged is going to lose its form and purpose.  Therefore, you should always keep injured limbs out of the water.

But this isn’t always possible.  People need to bathe!  What’s more, plenty of people with casts want to be able to keep enjoying water-based activities such as swimming.  This is where cast covers can be a huge help.

Waterproof cast covers are entirely water-tight.  They can cover the whole of your cast, and enable you to submerge them in the shower, the bath and the pool.  These covers are super-flexible and come in a range of sizes, too.

Waterproof covers are useful for all ages.  Children, in particular, may need guidance when it comes to looking after their casts, and keeping them out of the wet.  Other options for avoiding getting your wounds or dressings wet is to strip wash rather than risk a shower.  With a waterproof cast, however, you are much more flexible.



In some cases, your arm or leg may feel swollen while wearing a cast.  It isn’t unheard of for a cast to be a little uncomfortable when you first start wearing it.  However, if symptoms persist, there are a few things you can do to for relief.

Swelling can often occur as a result of problems to do with blood flow.  You should try moving your toes and fingers whenever possible, as this will help to circulate blood.  Furthermore, make sure to elevate your cast - whether on an arm or a leg - so that blood can safely drain back towards your body.  Otherwise, you may be at risk of blood pooling in your extremities, which can be quite uncomfortable or even painful in some cases!

There are some scenarios, however, where you will need to look for medical support.  Compartment syndrome is a condition where the body part underneath a cast swells due to pressure.  This can make things quite painful.  It can also result in tissue damage as a result of pressure placed on your veins and muscles.

If you are having difficulty moving your toes or fingers, or if you notice your skin becoming pale or blue, you must call for medical assistance as soon as possible.


Smells and Odour

Unfortunately, the longer you wear a cast, the more likely it is going to start to smell.  This makes sense, as you will be unable to clean beneath it!  Therefore, a bad-smelling cast is much more common than people may consider.

Smells are natural, but if they are particularly strong, and you notice other symptoms such as discomfort or pain, your wound or affected area may be infected.  The only way you are going to be able to address this is, of course, is to see a medical professional.  Make sure to call for help as soon as possible.


Dirt and Debris

Man with dirty broken arm cast cover

While casts and slings should resist most dirt and foreign objects, this is not always the case.  Any leg or arm casts are going to fall prey to dust, for example, and it is, of course, essential that you keep the wound you have dressed completely clean of anything intruding.

One of the best ways to protect against dirt and dust getting into your cast is to wear a decorative cast cover.  Decorative cast covers do more than look great.  They are flexible and air-tight, which means your dressing is wholly protected against anything minute getting underneath.

Protecting your cast or arm sling is going to take a fair amount of vigilance.  That’s why it is so essential to make sure you have plenty of supplies and resources to help you!  Decorative and designer cast covers are perfect for not only showing off your personality but keeping anything likely to infect or aggravate your injury at bay.

It is worth remembering; however, that decorative cast covers are not for use with weight-bearing casts.

When Should You Call a Doctor?

Nurse applying a cast to a broken arm

There are some cast problems and concerns which will need medical attention as soon as possible.  These should be addressed as quickly as possible, as it may put you at risk of further injury or infection. 

For example, if you start noticing problems with your cast itself, such as spots, cracks or other damage, you should get in touch with medical help.  A doctor, nurse or other medical practitioner will help to redress your wound or injury as safely as possible.  That is important as failure to act could mean that your wound gets worse.  It could lead to you taking longer to heal.

If you are experiencing any kind of regular pain, you should contact a medical professional.  That can include pressure pain, stinging or soreness.  While, as stated, you can care for many cast problems on your own, if you are in severe pain or discomfort, you must inform a professional as soon as you possibly can. For they could be a sign of complications with the healing process, which you will need to address immediately.

Medical professionals will give you advice on what you expect from your cast when you first have your dressing put on.  They may also provide more information on what to expect when it comes to common cast issues and concerns.

Why Should I Wear Cast Covers?

Cast covers can help to protect against dust, dirt and water from getting in and affecting your healing.  However, it is worth noting that they cannot safeguard against itching or swelling.  If either of these conditions occurs, you should take the above advice, and wherever possible, seek the help of a doctor or medical professional.

Cast covers can not only help to make your life easier and more flexible but can also help keep your cast or sling looking great.

Cast covers come in various sizes and designs.  However, you must make sure that you take the above advice into account before buying!  Otherwise, you may risk being disappointed in the long run.


Further Support and Guidance

Please note that the above guide is advisory only, and should not replace any medical support or guidance.  We recommend asking any questions you may have regarding your cast and injury during consultations.  Do always take care with your cast, and never over-exert yourself.

However, if you are interested in buying a cast cover, there are plenty of great choices available online.  Why not take a look at our range, or call our team for more information?



Customer Testimonials

We've helped thousands of people find relief while they are recuperating and we're an ACC approved vendor. 
Meet a few of our customers and see how Cast Covers has impacted their recovery:

'"We have just returned from a 2 week holiday in Rarotonga. Before we left our 8-year-old daughter fell off her scooter and broke both bones in her arm. This was a huge blow for us as our holiday was all booked and we were nearly packing to leave. I went online and google searched cast covers and thankfully you guys came up! I was absolutely blown away by how amazing this product was … no more plastic bags, yay !!! Our girl was able to enjoy the holiday just like the rest of us, even diving and jumping into the pool and snorkelling out in the lagoon for hours on end. We have just had her cast removed but will be holding onto this wee gem for the future, thanks so much!!!  I can’t stress enough how awesome your product is. Even after using it every day for 6 weeks in plaster it’s still in absolutely pristine condition." 

Jenna Sayer, Queenstown

" I would just like to congratulate you not only on the great service, but also the great product i.e. Waterproof Protector. My wife received hers yesterday, she has been suffering from an ulcer on the lower part of her leg which has required heavy bandaging twice a week for some time, and today had the first carefree shower that she has been able to have for many weeks. We will both be eternally grateful for this great product. Thank you so very much."

Neville & Dian Butler

"Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know how I am going with my evenup. 

I have been using it every day since going from a cast into a moonboot and honestly do not know what I would do without it! Although I am still uneven due to my moonboot having a particularly large sole to it, the evenup at least reduces the strain on my other Achilles’ tendon and my hips and back. 

I have been interested to observe that few physiotherapists are even aware these are available and are very impressed with the concept on seeing mine." 
Louise Manders

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