Despite my many injuries, I have been fortunate in that I have never had to wear a cast. (Immobilizer, yes; cast, no.) I don’t envy those that have had to wear one. I’ve heard they are itchy, and that your skin gets quite papery while encased in plaster.
While I’ve never had to adapt the movement of my arms every much, I do know what it’s like to go for weeks at a time without putting any weight on your leg. Your calf muscles will atrophy, and even driving can be a strain due to the loss of strength. Working with a physical therapist, both as the cast is placed and particularly after it comes off, can be a big help when recuperating and returning to your daily activity.
How does physical therapy help after a cast comes off?
The adult human body is made up of 206 bones. (We’re born with 270, but over time, as we grow, some fuse to give us 206 around the time we turn 30.) Unfortunately, many of those can break or fracture, leading to a cast in order to heal. So what happens after the cast is removed? What is necessary in order to return to normal activity?
A variety of factors will affect the length of time needed to heal, as well as how physical therapy will help you regain your pre-injury range of motion and level of activity.
The American Physical Therapy Association, or APTA, points out that there are several levels of bone fractures. The simplest is defined as a non-displaced fracture. This means that the bone may be broken, but the pieces are still properly aligned within the body.