Is My Cast Too Tight?

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Published:  July 2, 2019

Is My Cast Too Tight?

Getting a cast can leave you feeling a little anxious. They often fit tighter than you expect, which can leave you wondering if your cast is too tight.

It’s helpful to know how your cast should fit. This can help give you peace of mind and reduce anxiety. There are also several things you can do at home to help keep you as comfortable as possible immediately following your injury.

If you think your cast may be too tight, call you orthopedist. You may need to be examined and possibly fit with a new cast

Proper Cast Fit

Your cast should feel very snug, maybe even tight, for the first few days after your injury. This is normal. A cast is meant to help your injury heal by protecting it from movement. Feeling a reasonable amount of tightness means the cast is doing its’ job!

Signs Your Cast Is Too Tight

If your cast is too tight, you’ll probably know it within the first 24 – 48 hours. This does not happen often, but it’s good to know what to look for.

  • Numbness, tingling, or burning in the injured extremity
  • Pain or swelling that gets considerably worse over a short period of time
  • Difficulty moving your finger and toes

If you experience any of these symptoms, promptly call your orthopedist.

How To Reduce Swelling

Swelling typically makes your cast feel tight and uncomfortable immediately following an injury. Reducing the amount of swelling will help reduce your discomfort and decrease the risk of your cast becoming too tight.

  • Elevate your cast above your heart line if possible. This will help drain the blood and fluids away from the injured area. Use some spare pillows, cushions, or blankets to elevate your arm or foot so that you’re supported and comfortable
  • Rest! Yes, it’s very important to rest as much as your can during the first few days of your injury! Overuse of an injured body part can stimulate blood flow to that area and increase the swelling.
  • Chill your cast from the outside. Wrap a plastic bag of ice or ice pack with a thin towel and place it directly over the injury for 10 or 15 minutes. Double bag to avoid leaks. Remember to keep your cast dry!
  • Ask your doctor about taking medicine to reduce inflammation. Taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and inflammation. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any medicine.

This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.