You broke a limb, and now you struggle to maintain everyday hygiene? Or you want to take a shower, but not sure how?
When you break an arm or a leg, it doesn’t only affect your ability to move. Every part of your life is concerned, including basic hygiene. Due to reduced movement ability, taking a shower becomes a more complex task, and decreased movement is not the only problem.
When you have a cast, you must also watch out not to expose it to water. However, even though showering with cast seems complicated, it is not insurmountable. Let’s see what you can do when it comes to showering with a cast.
Waterproof your cast
Depending on which limb you broke, this might be the simplest solution. Since your cast may not come in contact with water, the best thing to do is to make it waterproof. I will show you the simplest ways to do that.
1. Use a cast cover
At first, you can buy a special cast cover. This is by far the best solution since it is made primarily for covering the cast. Cast covers are shaped as long sleeves, made of specific waterproof material.
Cast covers are sold in different sizes, so you should be able to find the perfect one no matter how big or small your cast is. Note that some cast covers also come with a specific pump that sucks air from inside of the cover, creating a vacuum-like space.
Another great thing is that these cover casts are very affordable. You can also ask your doctor to recommend the best one for your cast.
2. Alternative methods
Okay, you might not be able to get a cast cover right away, or maybe you can’t buy it in your town. Some alternative techniques can do the job.
For example, you can use plastic bags. No matter if it’s a newspaper bag or a trash bag, it can still help. You just need to pull the bag over the cast and seal it with a rubber band or a duck tape. However, note that a rubber band will allow you to reuse the bag.
Also, you have to make sure that there are no holes so the water can’t get in. A good idea is to use multiple bags, just in case, and be sure that the seal is strong enough. Even if it feels a bit uncomfortable, it is still better than having your cast soaked.
If you are unable to find a decent bag, you can use a plastic wrap. However, although this is the cheapest solution, note that you may end up with some gaps if you don’t wrap the plastic properly.
The idea is to wrap the plastic all the way around the cast, and then seal it with a rubber band or a duck tape. If the plastic is wrapped tightly enough, it should leave no gaps, and your cast will be secured.
No matter which method you choose, note that a towel or a washcloth can be handy. If you wrap it near the top of the cast, it will prevent water from slipping underneath.
The fact is that even if you are entirely sure that your cast is secured, there is always a possibility that it will come in contact with water. Note that if the water reaches under the cast, it can lead to skin infections.
3. Sponge bath
Taking a shower can be especially tricky if you have a broken leg. However, a sponge bath might be your best choice. This method is also more recommended by doctors. You can sponge bath yourself near the sink, and it will be much simpler than taking a shower.
4. Shower while keeping the cast out of the water
A good idea is to take a bath instead of a shower. Especially if you have a broken arm, this shouldn’t be a big deal. Simply lay in the tub full of warm water and keep your broken hand outside, for example, on the edge of a tub.
However, even if you keep your broken limb out of the water, don’t do it without a cover. As a matter of fact, even a tiny amount of water can be very harmful to a cast, which might then create additional problems.
A thing to note
Although cast covers are the best solution, they might not always be ideal. Depending on the shape of your cast, you might be at a higher risk of getting your cast wet, even if you put on the cast cover.
If this is the case, you should consult your doctor first. Not every waterproof material is the same, and your doctor should know which one is the best for your cast. Also, note that cast covers are not 100% waterproof.
Another thing that you should consider is a proper shower head. Not all shower heads are the same, and based on the way it shoots out the water, you should find the right one that shoots in only one direction. This will give you more control over the water and prevent it from going in unwanted directions. There are also special shower heads for low water pressure. They don’t cost too much, and you should definitely get one if you want to ensure the maximum cast protection.
How to shower with a leg cast
If you broke a leg, then you might find it even more challenging to take a shower without exposing cast to the water. However, don’t worry. There are a few solutions to that problem, and I will explain them to you right now.
5. Using a detachable shower hose
This is one of the most natural methods. However, even when showering with a removable shower hose, you should have some kind of a cast cover. This method is pretty good since it allows you to have more control over the direction in which the water will go.
6. Use a chair or something like a chair
This can also be very useful. If you are showering with a broken leg, you will have to sit on something. Many people state that lawn chairs are the best solution. However, you should consult your doctor first to prevent any possible injuries.
You also need to make that your chair is completely secure because if it slips, it might cause even more injuries. A good idea is to put the chair on a bathmat. This will drastically reduce the slippery and make the chair more firm.
If you used a chair when showering, make sure to dry yourself while still seating. While you attempt to raise out of the shower, you want your hands to be dried.
In the end, you should know that there are special shower chairs that you can buy. They usually have a rubber on the bottom and are designed specially to help people with a cast maintain their hygiene.
A few more things to note
If you have a wheelchair, make sure that it won’t slip as you try to get out of the shower stall and sit back in it. Also, note that showering with a leg cast is more complicated and dangerous than showering with an arm cast.
Therefore, if you want to attempt to shower, you should consult your doctor first. Your doctor is the only one that knows the exact condition of your leg and will decide if you should shower, or wait a few days.
Also, if you have a leg cast, consider getting a shower boot. If you are not sure what it is, check out this video which describes what is and how to properly use the shower boot.
What if my cast gets wet?
This is a crucial question. Before you even try to shower, you should know what to do in case your cast gets wet. The reason is that if it gets wet, you will have to react very fast and know what to do. Otherwise, you might ruin the cast and cause more trouble.
Dry your cast
If your cast gets wet, you should try to dry it as quickly as possible. It will not only reduce the chance of ruining the cast but will also decrease the risk of potential skin infections. The best way to dry your cast is to use a hairdryer. However, make sure to use the “cool” settings, since the warm settings might harm the cast.
Call the doctor
Even if you managed to dry your cast, you should still call the doctor. The fact is that your cast might need to be replaced as soon as possible. Try to make an appointment right away to prevent any possible skin infections.
Some doctors prefer fiberglass casts since they are more resistant to water. The fact is, you won’t have to worry too much about your cast getting wet, but there is another problem. This cast can still let the water in, which can cause infections the same way as it would with the classic cast.
As you can notice, showering with a cast might not be as difficult as it seems. The first thing to do is to make a proper cover for your cast. Even if you are sponge showering, you cast might not come in contact with water.
Anyway, make sure that your broken limb, although covered, is always away from the water direction. It might take time to shower properly, but don’t rush. Also, if you have any doubts, be sure to contact your doctor first.
Have you tried showering with the cast already? Or maybe you have some questions that we didn’t answer? Please let us know in the comments below…