What Is Casting and Splinting?

Casts and splints are devices used to support and protect injured or fractured bones and joints. They are used to immobilize injured areas to keep the bones in place until they are fully healed. Casts and splints differ in various ways, including:


Provide more support and protection for a limb that is broken or injured. They are made from plaster or fiberglass and can easily be molded to the shape of the injured area.


Provide less support than casts but are easier and quicker to use. They can also be loosened or tightened easily if swelling of the injured area decreases or increases. Splints are available read-made or can also be custom-designed. Splints are sometimes used immediately after an injury due to swelling. Once this swelling goes down, a full cast may be applied.

What to Expect During the Casting Process

To begin the casting process, a stockinette (a layer to wick sweat from the body) is placed around the area that will be covered by the cast. Then, a layer of padding will be rolled on to protect the skin. Plaster or fiberglass material strips are then moistened and rolled over the padding. This material will begin to dry in 10-15 minutes but may take 1-2 days for the cast to completely harden.

How to Take Care of a Cast

When you are placed in a cast, your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to best care for it. However, general rules for taking care of a cast include:

  • Keeping the cast clean and dry.
  • Avoid putting pressure on the cast.
  • Do not place objects inside of the cast.
  • Do not break or file off rough areas around the edge of a cast.
  • Call your doctor if you notice any unpleasant or strange smells coming from the cast.

How are Casts and Splints Removed?

To remove a cast, a special cast saw will be used once your bone has fully healed. The cast saw can safely cut through the cast without injuring the skin underneath. Scissors will be used to cut through the protective padding, which is then removed.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about casting and splinting, please contact Neaman Hand Surgery for your personal consultation. We welcome hand surgery patients from the greater Portland, Salem, and Eugene, Oregon, areas.

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