Casting and Splinting
Fracture care, or the treatment of broken bones, is a fundamental specialty of Nebraska Orthopaedic Center. A bone may be fractured in any number of ways requiring treatment through the specialized training and experience of an orthopedic surgeon.
(For Cast Care instructions, click on the tab under “Services – Ortho Procedures – Casting/Bracing”)
The three common causes of fractures are:
- Trauma. Motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, etc. account for most fractures.
- Osteoporosis. Individuals with osteoporosis, a disease that results in the “thinning” of the bone, are susceptible to fractures because their bones are more fragile.
- Overuse. Simple overuse of a limb may result in stress fractures, which can be common among athletes.
Types of fractures:
- Closed or simple fracture. The bone is broken, but the skin is not lacerated.
- Open or compound fracture. The skin may be pierced by the bone or by a blow that breaks the skin at the time of the fracture. The bone may or may not be visible in the wound.
- Greenstick fracture. Fracture on one side of the bone, causing a bend on the other side of the bone.
- Comminuted fracture. A fracture that results in three or more bone fragments.
Treatment for fractures:
Your doctor may choose to place you in a splint or cast to hold your arm or leg in place while the fracture heals. Depending on the type and severity of your fracture, surgical procedures may also be necessary to hold the broken bone in proper position by using metal plates, pins or screws. Your splint or cast may feel awkward at first, but how you care for your cast can play a big role in the healing process.
Recovery & Rehabilitation:
Depending on the extent of your injury, a fracture can take several weeks to several months to heal. The pain usually stops long before the bone has healed enough for you to resume normal activity. Limiting your activity even after your cast or brace is removed may be necessary until the fracture is solid enough to handle the stresses of normal use. You will also lose some muscle strength during the healing period because they haven’t been used. Your ligaments may also tighten up and become stiff from not using them. A period of rehabilitation involving stretching and exercise may be necessary before those tissues perform normally and the healing process is complete.
DO NOT REMOVE THE CAST YOURSELF. You may cut your skin or prevent proper healing of your bone. Call our office if you feel like your cast is loose or may need to be changed. Should your doctor want to remove the cast at your follow-up appointment, a cast saw will be used. The saw blade vibrates, but does not rotate. Cast saws are noisy, and the vibrating blade may cause warmth from friction, but will not harm you or cut your skin.
Contact Us: Call 402-436-2000 to speak to a nurse.