Keeping your cast dry while showering is often more difficult than it should be.
If you’ve broken a bone, then you know that the pain doesn’t end after the cast has been put on. Trying to keep your cast dry and protected for weeks or months at a time can really take its toll.
So, the question is, how do you keep your cast from getting wet in the shower and avoid the complications that come with water damage? Whether you have a cast for a broken arm, foot, or related areas, this post will help you determine the best way to keep a cast dry during the healing process.
Let’s start by going over the importance of keeping your cast dry when you are showering or bathing.
What Happens If Your Cast Gets Wet?
If you’ve recently had a cast put on then you’ve probably been warned about getting it wet.
However, accidents can happen and it’s important to understand the consequences and the follow-up action you should take.
If the padding inside of your cast gets wet the moisture will be trapped there, which can cause significant problems. A wet cast can begin to soften and fail to keep your bones in place so that they can heal properly. A few additional concerns include skin irritation, infections, and even permanent scarring.
So, what do you do if you get your cast wet? Even if your cast appears to have dried on the outside, it’s critical to get in touch with your healthcare provider to see if you need to get your cast checked our replaced.
Ideally, you’ll be able to avoid getting your cast wet in the first place. In the next few sections, we’ll go over some common methods of cast protection and explain how to keep a cast dry in the shower.
Waterproof Cast Covers
The first method to protect your cast from water damage involves using store bought cast covers that have been specifically designed for this purpose. Although showering with a cast can be difficult, it’s possible to keep them dry with these products.
These cast protectors, also known as shower bags for casts, slip right over the injured area and use self-sealing technology to cling to your skin and keep water out during a shower. There are a couple different types of cast covers, which include:
- Arm Cast Covers: These are ideal for injuries to the hand, wrist, and elbow.
- Leg Cast Covers: These are a great option for injuries to the foot, ankle, and knee.
Not only are these products more effective than do-it-yourself methods but they are also more cost effective over the long-term. If you’re interested in using these products to protect your cast, you can buy your cast covers here.
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Cast Protection Methods
If you’re looking for some DIY options for waterproofing your cast, the two methods below may be helpful. While they have the potential to keep your cast dry, they are known to be less effective than professionally made cast covers.
A different option for protecting your cast while in the shower is using a plastic bag and some duct tape.
If you decide to go with this DIY method, you’ll want to make sure that the plastic is free of tears and thick enough to keep water out. For this reason, garbage bags are typically recommended because they are sturdier than other types of plastic bags. It’s also essential to use tape that will keep water out. Avoid weaker types of tape, such as scotch tape, and go for a stronger type like medical tape or even duct tape. There is also the option of using thick rubber bands to secure the plastic bag around your limb.
While this can be an effective way to keep your cast dry, the hassle involved with wrapping your arm up every time you need to shower can get old — and expensive — pretty fast. There may also be some skin irritation that occurs with the removal of the tape when you’re finished.
Another common DIY strategy involves using plastic or cling wrap to cover up your cast before getting in the shower. This section will detail how to wrap a cast for the shower.
If you go with this method, you’ll want to make sure to go over the cast area multiple times to create a thick layer between your cast and any water it might come in contact with. You’ll also need to wrap above and below the cast and use some tape to create a tighter seal.
As with the plastic bag strategy, use tape that is strong enough to avoid losing stickiness if it happens to get wet. Keep in mind that plastic wrap can be riskier than some of the other methods on this list since there is the possibility of leaving a small gap that allows water to seep into your cast.
Keeping Your Cast Out of the Shower or Tub
This last method is probably the most difficult and least effective on the list. However, it provides another answer to the question: ‘how to keep a cast dry in the shower?’
While you are in the shower, you’ll need to keep the cast out of the tub to keep it dry. This is somewhat simpler with a cast on your hand or arm, with a foot or leg cast, it can be much more difficult and also cause some potentials issues with losing your balance.
Pairing this strategy with the plastic bag or wrap methods can help to make it more effective. It can also be helpful to use a shower bench or chair to make it easier to get in and out of the shower and avoid falls when you’re trying to extend your cast away from the flow of water.
Whichever method you decide to go with, it’s critical to be consistent and take precautions any time you might come in contact with water.
Keeping your cast dry in the shower or tub is critical and requires consistent effort in order to avoid water exposure and potential damage. Here is a list of takeaways to consider as you determine the best method for you:
- Store bought cast covers can be both more effective and affordable than homemade covers, which have to be replaced after every use.
- Many people find it easier to bathe than to shower because it affords them the option of keeping their limb outside of the tub — which really isn’t an option in the shower.
- It can be very easy to injure yourself while in the bathroom — especially if you are trying to protect your cast in the shower. Take the necessary precautions to simplify the process and keep yourself safe.
- While you can’t (and shouldn’t) avoid the showering/bathing process completely, using products like dry shampoo can help reduce the number of times per week that you’ll need to wash your hair, which can help minimize your cast’s exposure to water.
- You should use some form of water protection for your cast every single time you shower or bathe.
- If your cast happens to get wet, you’ll want to pay a visit to your doctor to check it and see if it needs to be replaced.
- The type of cast you have will determine how water can damage it and may have different care instructions.
- A plastic stool or bench can help people with leg, ankle and foot casts by making it possible for them to sit down and extend the injured leg as far away from the water as possible. It also decreases the risk of slipping and falling while showering.
- No matter what type of cast protection you decide to use, make sure to never submerge your cast in water or allow it to stand under running water.
On a final note, if your cast does get wet, make sure to get in touch with your doctor to determine next steps and make sure that your cast doesn’t need to be replaced. It’s better to be overly cautious than to deal with the consequences of a wet cast.
Are you interested in learning more about how to keep a cast dry in the shower with Waterguard? Visit our products page to learn more today.