Casts and splints

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Removable cast

More doctors shunning cumbersome casts[1] article By Lindsey Tanner, Associated Press Medical Writer Posted 4/15/2006 2:55 PM ET suggests that the black Velcro bandage strapped on to arms and legs are today's answer to the cast.

The plaster or fiberglass casts were the method of choice for fixing broken bones for years. But there are real problems with casts some times called "cast disease".

I got gangrene from a cast being on too long covering some cement rash I got at the same time I broke my wrist. A Canadian study showed that people who wore removable splints for three weeks had better physical function during treatment and afterward.

Wet casts can be a real problem so a removable cast may not only be essential under the cast but can be healthy for the rest of the body.

Being able to move and exercise your limb for circulation and therapy during the healing process is also essential to good health and recovery.

Of course getting the right size and style for your break may require expert advise but you can find removable casts on Ebay and in medical supply stores.

When there is no doctor

What if there is no doctor or experts around to help you and you have to do with what is available.

Depending on your skill and the break you can make one with a variety of materials.

I made one from pvc pipe and vet wrap for a ram with a broken leg and it worked really well.

PVC is light. and mold-able with heat but it is not that easy to work with. You would have to start with maybe thin wall 2 inch or better pipe which many hardware stores or plumbing supply place might have. A short length just laying around is what we used and I used ABS pipe once too. These may may be a lot of work and unnecessary to get something that does not need to stand up to the riggers of a ram on the desert.


You could make one with Plaster of Paris and gauze and then cut it away once you have the form. There is a short video at and a more detailed fiberglass cast instructions at

There is a step by step process laid out at How to Apply a Cast to a Broken Arm

You want to wrap the arm well so that the cast is not to tight when you remove some of the wrapping.

Then pad it with gauze or cloth for comfort. Ace bandage or again vet wrap works good to put it on if you do not have Velcro straps.

Other make shift cast

Apple crate slat method

I know an old cowboy who used and apple crate. He took the thin slats and just wrapped it up with rags. His arm was a little curved but it set that helped out on runaways reaching around and grabbing the bit straps and pulling their heads back. If you do not think that having a curved forearm will come in handy you can try something with a little more control.


You could even make a cast out of paper-mâché. This might actually be the easiest and best way for a light weight removable cast. Strips of newspaper and water and white glue and of course gauze next to the skin. Put saran wrap or cellophane on the arm while you make the mold to keep the glue from the skin.

Two main methods are used to prepare papier-mâché; one makes use of paper strips glued together with adhesive, and the other method uses paper pulp obtained by soaking or boiling paper to which adhesive is then added.
With the first method, a form for support is needed on which to glue the paper strips. With the second method, it is possible to shape the pulp directly inside the desired form. In both methods, reinforcements with wire, chicken wire, lightweight shapes, balloons or textiles may be needed. [2]

Again you are making a removable cast so you do not need it thick for the first layers. Then cut it off or to shape... add to it more strips if it needs reinforcing.

Fasten it with Velcro straps, ace bandages or the old cowboy rag method.

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