Waterproof cast covers have recently gained ground as an alternative to waterproof casts. In this article, we will briefly describe the traditional approach to the problem of bathing or showering with a broken limb. This has traditionally entailed the use of waterproof casts.
We will then introduce the alternative technique of using a waterproof cast cover. We will discuss the pros and cons of this approach compared to that of using waterproof casts.
Casts have traditionally been used for treatment of certain types of bone fracture, such as a fractured arm, for example. The role of the cast is to hold the bone in its proper place while the fracture heals.
Traditionally, casts were made from plaster of paris, which made them heavy and unwieldy. Patients wearing these casts experienced significant loss of limb mobility, especially if they were children.
However, casts today are made from fibreglass, which is much lighter and more manoeuvrable. There is usually a cotton layer underneath the fibreglass. It protects your skin and makes the cast more comfortable to wear.
Bathing or swimming with a traditional cast is risky. If the inner cotton layer becomes wet, the result can be skin irritation and possibly an infection. So the cast must be kept as dry as possible, which traditionally places bathing or swimming out of bounds.
Waterproof casts have the standard outer fibreglass layer. However, the inner layer is made from a special non absorbent material that helps keep the cast dry, even after swimming or bathing.
Disadvantages of Waterproof Casts
These are a step forward compared to standard ones. However, they still present a number of drawbacks:
If you have had surgery as part of your treatment, you can’t wear the cast. If you do, they can increase the risk of infection;
Even if you haven’t had surgery, the cast can’t be worn until the swelling has had time to go down. That can normally take a few weeks.
Although you can swim or bathe in a waterproof cast, you should only do so in a pool, shower or bath. If you try swimming in the ocean, a river or a pond, you can encounter problems if debris from the water gets into your cast.
A waterproof cast actually needs to get wet on a daily basis. That keeps it clean and prevents it being a source of irritation;
They may not be covered by insurance;
They also need to be applied by someone with specialized training. Some health care facilities do not have staff with this type of training.
Waterproof Cast Covers
The drawbacks of waterproof casts have led to the development and introduction of waterproof cast covers as an alternative. You can use the cast cover for showering, swimming or bathing and then remove it afterwards.
The waterproof cast covers sold on this site are made from surgical latex. They use a vacuum seal to protect the underlying cast from water.
Waterproof cast covers enjoy a number of advantages over waterproof casts:
No special expertise is required to put them on or remove them.
They can be used, removed and reapplied as many times as needed;
You can use them even after surgery or if you have an open wound in the injury area;
You can start using them right after your cast has been applied;
They are a much cheaper alternative to waterproof casts, especially if your insurance doesn’t cover the latter.
When using a waterproof cast cover, including the ones below, we recommend the following:
Follow the manufacturer instructions carefully during appliance and removal to avoid getting the cast wet;
Before each use, inspect the cover carefully for holes or any damage.