We see a lot of clients needing casting and the great thing is there are different options to choose from. Sometimes we meet very confused people who think they have a waterproof cast and do not. For those who are not sure what casting options there are available, here are the ones that are most common:
Plaster of Paris
This is the traditional casting material that is white in colour, and powdery. To apply it can be messy and usually involves wetting the plaster in water and applying to the arm. They are often used following surgery or initially after an injury when swelling is present and are made in this instance as half casts (not going the whole way around the arm). It a plaster of Paris cast becomes wet, it will soften very easily, so they must be kept dry at all times. Half casts are usually held in place with a bandage and can be removed easily. Full casts need to be removed with a plaster saw.
Synthetic casting material is lighter than a normal plaster of paris cast, and will often last longer as it can withstand stress better. It comes in lots of different colours and can also come in patterns, such as dinosaurs, or army camouflage. There are then options of what type of padding goes under a synthetic cast. Having a synthetic cast on alone does not mean it is waterproof. The waterproof part of a cast is mainly to do with the padding that is applied underneath the cast. Some synthetic casts have a cotton wrap or cotton wool type padding underneath – this is not waterproof! These casts need to be removed with a plaster saw.
This is very popular, especially at summertime with our water lifestyle. Waterproof casting is simply a synthetic cast with waterproof padding underneath. When you have a waterproof cast, you can get in the shower without putting a bag on, and can swim in a pool (depending on your injury). The water will flow between your skin and the padding. It is quick drying and therefore there are no bad odors. It is lightweight and comes a variety of bright or modern colors.