Fracture reduction - closed - aftercare; Cast care
Closed reduction is a procedure to set (reduce) a broken bone without surgery. It allows the bone to grow back together. It can be done by an orthopedic surgeon (bone doctor) or a primary care provider who has experience doing this procedure.
After the procedure, your broken limb will be placed in a cast.
Healing can take anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks. How quickly you heal will depend on:
Rest your limb (arm or leg) as much as possible. When you are resting, raise your limb above the level of your heart. You can prop it up on pillows, a chair, a footstool, or something else.
Do not place rings on your fingers or toes until your doctor tells you it is OK.
You will likely have some pain the first few days after getting a cast. Using an ice pack can help.
For pain, you can use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn). You can buy these pain medicines at the store.
You may also take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) for pain relief. If you have liver disease, talk with your doctor before using it.
Do not take more than the amount recommended on the bottle or by your doctor.
Your physician may prescribe a stronger medication if needed.
Until your doctor tells you it is OK:
If you have been given crutches to help you walk, use them each time you move about. Do not hop on one leg. You can easily lose your balance and fall, causing more serious injury.
General care guidelines for your cast include:
You can use a special sleeve to cover your cast while you shower. Do not take baths, soak in a hot tub, or go swimming until your doctor tells you it is OK.
You will likely have a follow-up visit with your doctor 5 days to 2 weeks after your closed reduction.
Your doctor may want you to start physical therapy or do other gentle movements while you heal. This will help keep your injured limb and other limbs from getting too weak or stiff.
Call your doctor if your cast:
Also call your doctor if you have any signs of infection. Some of these are:
See your doctor right away or go to the emergency room if:
Also get care right away if you have:
Wood GW. General Principles of Fracture Treatment. In: Canale ST, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 53.
Nettina SM. Musculoskeletal health. Lippincott Manual of Nursing Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2010;chap 32.
General principles of fracture care. In: Eiff MP, Hatch R, eds. Fracture Management for Primary Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 2.
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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