Care After Arm Cast Removal - Is a Sling Necessary.

Updated on December 28, 2012
R.R. asks from Round Rock, TX
11 answers

My 2 year old son's arm cast came off today after an elbow fracture. His elbow seems to have healed after a cast of 4 weeks. (Doctor took a fresh set of xrays). He seems to be in pain. I gave him advil. He refuses to wear a sling and the doctor has advised to wear a sling. Is a sling really necessary? How many of your toddlers really wore a sling after arm cast removal and for how long?

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answers from Los Angeles on

If the doctor has recommended it, I would do it.
In what position does he want the splint? Would a sling help?

Now, with that being said,I obliterated my left elbow almost 2 years ago and it still hurts SO bad...EVERY DAY! I wake up and am in pain and it takes a good 30 mins of easy bending to get it to loosen back up and stop with the shooting pain and move to the dull constant pain that I seem to have to live with....but I never had to wear a splint. I had a cast for 4 weeks and then just a sling and had it wrapped for another 4 weeks, for support.

It is great that he seems to have healed, kids are so resilent! I broke my elbow in Jan. and the part my forearm where the doctor had to break it to put me back together took until September to heal!

If you really can't get him to wear it, I would call the doctor and ask how important it is that he really wear it....b/c maybe just a sling would help?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

If the doctor is advising it, then yes, but is the doctor also advising physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and tendons?

You have to present this as something that he simply has no choice about. If your son had a hearing impairment and needed to wear cochlear implants or he was vision impaired and had to wear corrective lenses, there wouldn't be any choice in the matter. If he required daily medication for diabetes, you would make absolute certain to follow the doctor's orders in spite of any resistance he gave you.

When a cast comes off those first few weeks, it's exactly the same thing. If he doesn't wear the sling when he's supposed to he could easily re-injure the arm and require some serious physical therapy to try to correct long term damage.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

YES!!! My daughter had a broken arm and the doctor gave her a sling for a few weeks to ease the arm back into action and it eased the pain. Plus, we were told if she put too much pressure on it too fast, even tho it was healed, it could very well break again.

Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If the orthopedic surgeon said to do it, then do it. Neither of my kids has ever had a broken bone (which is astonishing to me, but that's another post) - but my husband plays rugby, and has broken just about everything once or twice. We have had many casts, air casts, surgeries, metal pins/plates, and physical therapy. And through all of that, I have learned that the orthopedic surgeon doesn't suggest things for the fun of it. If you don't do what the ortho says, you risk re-injuring and possibly doing it even worse the next time (husband has been there, done that). Make your son wear the sling until the ortho says he can take it off.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Call the doc.

Usually... Yep. Necessary to avoid stretching the tendons and ligaments (leading to dislocations, sprains, and reparative surgery).

But not always.

There are recalcitrant kid slings that are like Velcro bracelets, that don't require cooperation.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

If he's hurting, keeping the arm in a sling will ease the pain. That arm has been immobile for six weeks - it needs to be eased back into use, hence the sling.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

His muscles are weak. He needs the extra support. You are the grown up, he is a toddler. Put it on him, wrap something around him to secure his arm in the sling where he can't take it off then just deal with the temper tantrum that will follow. His can re-break the arm without the sling.

Sucks having to be the bad guy but sometimes it's necessary. Sorry you are having such a hard time with the little guy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

haven't read other answers (yet). my 7 year old was in a cast recently for 4 weeks as well (fracture right near his elbow too) and the doctor said for him to wear his sling for 3 weeks after the cast came off. BUT the difference in my story and yours is that I had my son taking Traumeel, which is a homeopathic medicine (in pill form) that I got from Whole Foods. It's for temporary relief of pain BUT it's also wonderful for the quick healing of connective tissue, bones, etc. He took it 2-3x/day for the entire time his arm was in a cast. X-rays after the cast came off showed that his arm was healed too and while I did have my son wear a sling for a week to 10 days after, my child experienced virtually no pain and so he was allowed to go sans sling after that.
It's not too late to have your son take Traumeel. It's all natural and will not hurt him. I think the sling and taking Traumeel would be ideal for a couple of weeks. BUT I will add that since your child is younger and coordination not as good as a 7 year old's, it may not be a bad idea for him to wear the sling for a while.



answers from Honolulu on

It is important to wear one.
The limb joint does not just get back to "normal" after the cast is off.
It takes time for it to adjust back to normal.

As an example:
A friend of mine broke her hand & wrist. She was in a cast for about 2 months.
After the cast came off, she had x-rays and it was fine and the bones set correctly. But she still had some pain and stiff joints. Which is normal. She then had to have physical therapy for her hand, and also a part of that was massaging of her hand, by the Therapist. It is not just something that could be done willy nilly by anyone, because she still had pain, the bones are still fragile and any hard pressure on her hand (as in a handshake) caused her pain, nor could she lift anything heavy, with that hand/arm.
So, there are a lot of things, that still needs to heal and adjust... even after a cast comes off.
My friend even after her cast came off, she still had to wear a hand brace, daily. And for about a month after, the cast came off.
She does not wear the hand brace anymore... BUT, she still gets pain sometimes and especially if someone grips her hand hard, while handshaking.



answers from Portland on

If the doctor says he's to wear a sling then he's to wear a sling. I suggest that he's having more pain than necessary because he's not wearing a sling.

I suggest that you can take a large dish towel or scarf and tie it around his chest in such a manner that he will have difficulty removing it. You can also tell him that if he doesn't wear the sling he has to stay seated or laying down. And then enforce it. I know that means spending every minute with him until he learns to comply. I suggest it's that or deal with the pain and possible reinjury to the elbow or arm.

I'd call the doctor and tell him your difficulty and see if he has any suggestions. He may say it's not worth the battle to keep him in the sling but I'd only not use the sling with the doctor's approval.



answers from College Station on

A sling is not really necessary. Just remember, his little muscles were not moving for 4 weeks. Moving them is going to hurt. He needs to rebuild his strength as well. A little ibuprofen may help.

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