When you break a bone, you should visit an urgent care center right away for an evaluation. A technician can collect an X-ray to determine what type of repair is required to help the broken bone to heal. Open fractures will require surgery to close the skin opening and to fasten the bones together, but closed fractures are easier to stabilize with a splint or a cast. The good news is that an urgent care center’s physician can perform casting and splinting services at its on-site location so that you don’t need to visit a hospital for the service.
Casts are customized to fit the body part of the patient, but splints are ready-made. Splints have adjustable straps to hold the devices in place, but a cast will remain on the arm or leg until it is removed by a physician. A cast or splint may seem tight when it is first placed on a limb because the tissues surrounding the broken bone will swell. After a few days, this swelling reduces, leading to a device that is more comfortable.
There are things that you can do to decrease your pain along with helping the injury to heal faster, including:
- Elevation – support your broken bone at a higher level
- Exercise – wiggle your toes or fingers to increase blood circulation
- Cold therapy – fill a plastic bag with ice to reduce the swelling
Despite having a splint or cast, a complication from a broken bone is possible, so you should contact a physician for these problems:
- Inability to move your fingers or toes
- Additional swelling
- Stinging or burning sensations
- Numbness in the broken limb
- Increasing pain
If you have any problems, then return to the urgent care center for additional treatment.
You may need to wear a cast or a splint for several weeks or longer, so you must learn how to take care of it correctly.
- Cover the device with plastic to prevent moisture damage
- Keep dirt away from the item
- Leave the cotton padding inside the device
- Don’t stick any objects inside the splint or cast
- Watch for skin infections
Make sure to return to the urgent care center to have the cast removed by a physician.