In this Facebook Live: All Things Orthopedic, Annette de Lancey (Founder and Owner of CastCoverz!) speaks with Dr. Scott Hoffinger, Medical Director of OrthoPediatrics, and Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon, about rashes and infections that can develop under casts.
No need to worry about infection right off the bat if you or someone you know is in a cast. Casts do not cause infection; however, the environment inside a cast often allows bacteria to grow or spread more easily. We encourage you to pay attention to signs of irritation or pain inside your cast in order to prevent infection and/or a spreading rash.
What kinds of infections and rashes can you get inside a cast?
It is very important a cast is not too tight, as this can lead to pain inside of the cast caused by pressure. Some things that you can get from a cast are simple infections (pimples) and ingrown hairs. You can also get Impetigo (a skin infection) that will be both under the cast and elsewhere (normally above the cast).
Maceration is a condition that is caused by excessive exposure to moisture. Washing dishes, hot tubs, etc… are often the culprits. If you get your cast wet, priority #1 is getting the cast dry. To dry out your cast we recommend The CastCooler a product invented by a dad that wraps around your cast and attaches to your vacuum cleaner. A patented inverter valve blows cool air in your cast (fiberglass only) which dries out the moisture absorbing layers of your cast that are trapped next to your skin. Though rare, maceration can also be caused by unsanitary conditions while the cast was being applied.
The most concerning thing that was found by chance was chickenpox. If someone has chickenpox, doctors will remove the cast at the very least to look at the extremity.
Symptoms to be on the lookout for rash or infection: itching and burning of the skin under the cast (this is beyond the typical by-product of itchiness while wearing a cast). Visual signs of redness on the skin at the cast’s openings. Intense odor (again, beyond the by-product of wearing a cast). FYI… the CastCooler prevents the itch and stench of wearing a cast.
As always, it’s important to keep your cast clean and dry, and let your physician know if you suspect an infection or rash inside your cast.
Stay tuned for our next All Things Ortho! Leave your family-friendly comments below.