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Orthopedic Casting Bandages for Effective Healing and Care

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Orthopedic Casting Bandages for Effective Healing and Care

Every year, millions of people worldwide suffer from bone fractures that require immobilization. Orthopedic casting bandages play a pivotal role in the healing process, offering support and stabilization to ensure a speedy recovery. How do you choose the right one and use it correctly? This blog will offer a comprehensive guide.

What Are Orthopedic Casting Bandages?

Orthopedic casting bandages are specialized medical devices crafted from materials that can be molded to fit the contours of the patient's body, providing support and immobilization to broken bones or injured limbs.

Once applied, these bandages harden, maintaining a stable and secure environment that facilitates optimal healing conditions. The primary function of an orthopedic casting bandage is to hold the broken bones in place, preventing movement and further injury while the healing process occurs.

Orthopedic casting tape offers several advantages, including being lighter in weight, more durable, and in some cases, water-resistant, which significantly improves the patient's comfort and convenience during the healing period.

What is Orthopedic Casting Tape Used For?

Orthopedic casting tape is used in the application of an orthopedic cast. It is a newer, more advanced material compared to traditional plaster bandages, often made from fiberglass or polyester. The tape is used for:

1. Immobilization

To restrict movement of a fractured bone or injured limb, ensuring proper alignment and stabilization.

2. Protection

To shield the injured area from external forces that could hinder the healing process or cause further damage.

3. Support

To provide a supportive structure around the injury, aiding in pain reduction and helping to maintain functional use of the uninjured parts of the limb.

Types of Orthopedic Casting Bandages

1. Plaster of Paris Bandages

These are the traditional choices for casts, known for their moldability and cost-effectiveness. Plaster bandages are ideal for cases where a very snug fit is necessary, as they can be easily shaped around the contours of the body. However, they are heavier and take longer to dry than their modern counterparts.

2. Fiberglass Casting Bandages

Fiberglass casts are a more recent innovation in orthopedic casting. They are lighter, stronger, and dry much faster than plaster bandages. Additionally, fiberglass casts can be made water-resistant, offering patients more freedom in their daily activities. While more expensive, the benefits of durability, comfort, and reduced drying time often outweigh the cost difference.

How to Apply Orthopedic Casting Bandages

The process of applying orthopedic casting bandages varies slightly depending on whether you are using plaster of Paris or fiberglass casting bandages, but the basic principles remain the same.


  • Assessment: Evaluate the injury to determine the appropriate length and type of cast needed. Ensure there are no open wounds, and if there are, cover them with a sterile dressing.

  • Materials: Prepare all materials beforehand, including the casting bandage (plaster or fiberglass), water (for plaster), gloves, cast padding, stockinette, and a bowl for water if using plaster.

  • Positioning: Position the patient comfortably, ensuring the injured limb is supported and elevated to reduce swelling. The limb should be in the most functional position possible, taking into account the nature of the fracture or injury.

Step-by-Step Application

Step 1: Applying Stockinette and Padding

Stockinette: Apply a stockinette over the limb to cover the area where the cast will be applied. This provides a smooth surface under the cast and helps prevent skin irritation.

Padding: Wrap the limb with cast padding, starting from the distal end (furthest from the heart) and working proximally (towards the heart). Ensure even coverage to protect bony prominences and provide a cushion between the skin and the casting material.

Step 2: Preparing the Casting Bandage

Plaster of Paris: Dip the plaster bandage roll in warm water, squeezing it lightly to remove excess water. The bandage should be wet but not dripping.

Fiberglass: Fiberglass bandages are usually activated by dipping in water or by opening the packaging if they're pre-impregnated with a water-activated resin.

Step 3: Applying the Casting Bandage

Begin wrapping the bandage around the limb, starting distally and moving proximally. Overlap each layer by about one-half to two-thirds of the bandage width to ensure uniform thickness and strength.

For Plaster of Paris, smooth out each layer as you go to mold the cast closely to the shape of the limb. For Fiberglass, ensure even application but avoid excessive handling once it's in place to maintain its strength.

Apply 2 to 3 layers, depending on the required thickness and strength of the cast. Areas requiring more strength (e.g., the heel for a leg cast) may need additional layers.

Step 4: Molding the Cast

While the casting material is still pliable, mold the cast to the contours of the limb. This is especially important with plaster to ensure a snug fit. Fiberglass sets quickly and requires less molding.

Pay attention to the functional position of joints (e.g., the ankle at a 90-degree angle for a leg cast).

Step 5: Setting and Drying

Allow the cast to set without disturbance. Plaster of Paris takes longer to dry (up to 24-48 hours for complete drying), whereas fiberglass dries and hardens within minutes.

Advise the patient to avoid bearing weight on the cast until it is fully dry and to keep the limb elevated to reduce swelling.


Check Circulation: After the cast has been applied, check the patient's circulation, sensation, and movement in the toes or fingers distal to the cast. Look for signs of tightness, excessive pressure, or discomfort.

Education: Instruct the patient on cast care, including keeping it dry (unless it's a waterproof fiberglass cast), not inserting objects inside the cast, and monitoring for signs of complications such as increased pain, swelling, or numbness.

Applying orthopedic casting bandages is a clinical skill. It's essential always to follow the specific guidelines and training provided by your healthcare institution or orthopedic specialists.

Joy Crown provide various professional medical consumables, including orthopedic casting bandages. Feel free to contact us.

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