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Rady Children's Specialists

Care Following Cast Removal

General Guidelines

Skin Care

Immediately following cast removal the skin may be dry and scaly. To avoid damaging the new skin, do not scratch, pick or peel this area . Gentle daily cleansing, not scrubbing, and application of body lotion helps the dead skin to slough off and softens the new skin.


The casted limb may look smaller then the non-casted limb. This is due to lack of use and returns to normal with regular activity over time.

You may notice some swelling after the cast is removed. Elevate the limb and limit activity to decrease swelling.

Return to Activity

In general, rigorous activity—such as bicycle riding, rollerskating, skateboarding, and contact sports—should be avoided for about the amount of time that the patient was in the cast (Example: 5 weeks in a cast = 5 weeks decreased activity following cast removal). Other specific restrictions may be given by your physician, such as the need for crutches, a wheelchair, or a splint following cast removal.

In some children (e.g. children with cerebral palsy) fractures can occur following cast removal since bone loses strength while immobilized in a cast. Special care should be taken when positioning, exercising, and moving these children.

Joint Mobility

It is not unusual for joints to be stiff and to not move easily immediately following cast removal. Motion and function will return with time and normal use. Therapy is not usually needed. Active children provide their own therapy. Be patient and do not push them to increase activity until they are ready.

A limp or altered gait is common for up to several months following leg cast removal and should not cause alarm. A limp can persist for six months following a femur fracture. BE PATIENT.

Notify Your Physician if your Child:

1. Has open sores in the area where the cast was.
2. Has increased pain not relieved by Tylenol.


For more information, see this KidsHealth article.