Daughter Broke Wrist and Cast Is Too Loose

Updated on March 14, 2010
F.S. asks from Albany, NY
13 answers

Hello mommies!!!
Last Sunday, the 28th of February to be exact, my daughter broke her wrist sledding. I took her to the emergency room and they couldn't put a cast on because of the swelling, so they had me make an appointment with the orthopaedic doctor the next morning to put the cast on. We went to the doctor the next morning and had the cast put on, and everything seemed to be going fine until a few days ago when my daughter brought to my attention how loose her cast was. So, I called the orthopaedic doctors office that put her cast on and the receptionist told me that the doctor wasn't in that particluar office and advised me to call the other office. I called the other office and he wasn't there either. The receptionist at that office was very unpleasant, and very rude, and suggested I take her back to the emergency room that I originally took her to. I am now on the fence about taking her back to the emergency room that I originally took her to only because I am not fond of that ER. Who knows if they are going to be able to put another cast on, or even have the capabilities. The ER has a bad reputation for not knowing what they're doing. Plus, my daughter has told me that her wrist does not hurt anymore. I'm really at odds here, and am not sure what to do. Any kind of advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance

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So What Happened?

After numerous attempts of trying to get a hold of the original orthopaedic doctor, and getting no response for a referral, I called my daughters pediatrician and asked for a referral to a different orthopaedic doctor. Before she could do a referral, she needed to see her first. It was the next day that the pediatrician saw my daughter and made the referral for that very same day! It was right in the same building just one floor beneath the pediatricians office, so it was real convenient. It took awhile to get in and see the doctor, but it was well worth the wait. They did another xray, and sure enough it was still broken so they took the old cast off and put a new one on. They want to see her in a week to make sure the cast is fitting alright and to do another xray. I'm so glad I made the decision that I made. Thank you for all of your advice and support!!

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answers from New York on

Dear F., A similar thing happened to me years ago only i twas my foot that was broken. Once the swelling went down the cast was rubbibg and irritating my leg every time I had to walk (I had 2 boys 7 mos and 23 mos) You did not mention her age. I don't think you should take her back to the emergency room. It is only 2 weeks and the break may not be healed. I would try to tape the cast so it does not shift and get her back to the doctor that put the cast on. An x-ray should be taken and a decision made as what to do next. It is possible that a soft cast with velcro could be used and adjusted if necessary. Grandma Mary

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answers from New York on

Dear F.,

I just want to concur with the other moms. It takes about 6 weeks (maybe 4, with a very young child) for a broken bone to heal. Pain is the body's initial signal that something is wrong, but the pain will abate long before the healing process is complete. And while it's healing, the bone will be very vulnerable -- your daughter could easily re-break her wrist if she doesn't get a new cast ASAP. My recommendation is to go to another orthopedist entirely. Call your pediatrician's office, tell them what happened, and ask for a referral to another ortho. Even if it's a little bit of a drive, it'll be worth it.

Best wishes,




answers from San Antonio on

It needs to be recast...when my daughter broke her leg our pediatric orthopedic doc told us that if there were problems with the cast...i.e.cracked, loose, stuff gets inside and it is after hours to take her to the ER and get it recast immediately. During office hours, just bring her in and they would re cast it there...but his point was not to wait around, that it needed to be fixed and fixed promptly. Because skin infections happen very very quickly within hours and then you are dealing with a whole different problem.

Good luck, hopefully you can get it fixed quickly...I prayed the whole time for quick healing and no problems because our deducible is so high it is all out of pocket and expensive. (I hate to admit thinking about the cost...but it is just so expensive to make the wrong calls).

You might call the ER and ask if they have someone available on duty to recast her wrist.

Sending you a great big hug!!



answers from New York on

Get it re-cast TODAY, and any Dr or nurse at the practice you had it put in can do it, most likely.

Pain can go away very quickly once the fracture is not put under pressure, but bones cannot heal in just a few days. A loose cast can have two big problems I know of: skin infection which can become a serious pain, and improper healing. If your daughter can move her wrist within the cast, even just a tiny bit, the bones may not set right, and then she'll have trouble for the rest of her life, or need surgery...

So get it recast ASAP.



answers from New York on

Defiitely call another doctor's office. Your doctor will surely understand since he/she wasn't available. Also, Make sure you let your doctor know about the receptionists if the office being unhelpful.



answers from Columbia on

I would make another appoinment, maybe not with the same doctor, or office and ask if they can put on a tighter cast or if there is anything else they can do. I never take the word of a receptionist, b/c some of them don't know what they are talking about and then other times it is if you are bothering them.

Good luck!!!



answers from Dallas on

Let me just tell you from experience that jsut because it does not hurt anymore does not mean that the bone has healed. She will need a new cast put on I suggest taking her to a different orthopaedic doctor to have it done.



answers from New York on

Go back to the doctor's office to have it looked at. Just call and make an appointment to see any orthopedist there, the scheduler should be happy to give you an appointment and collect a copay.



answers from Chicago on

Most doctor's offices have an option for you talk to a nurse. I would also make an appt with a different doctor in the office. The nurses are usually the once who put the cast on anyway.

From experience the wrist will not hurt all the time once the cast is one, but she still needs it on for at least 6 weeks. My oldest broke both of her wrists at the same time. She actually had to have her casts changed after a few weeks.



answers from New York on

I would definitely have it looked at again. The wrist will not hurt after a short while (I know this from experience breaking my wrist!), but it still takes a while to heal. However, children heal VERY quickly, so it's important to get it corrected asap if it is out of proper alignment.

I am really surprised that they had you come back the next day for a cast ... the swelling typically increases over the first 24 hours, not decreases! Oh well, what's done is done. The wrist is probably okay, but should it be healing out of proper alignment, it can cause extra bone weakness and other problems in the future. When bones don't heal properly, the only way to fix them is to re-break them surgically -- it seems highly unlikely that a too loose cast would cause her to have problems that would warrant that, but I would definitely have it looked at sooner rather than later.

The ER could remove the cast and put another on. However, this isn't really an emergency, so I'd avoid the ER. I would definitely either call the orthopaedist again or just call around to a bunch of orthos and see who can get your daughter in asap. At least if you have a doctor look at it you won't be wondering if it's okay or not!



answers from Buffalo on

A co-worker just went through a similar situation. She did not have the cast re-set, and now her daughter had to have surgery to have a pin/rod put in her wrist and arm! If you don't like the Orthopedic Dr you saw, call your reg. Ped. for a reccomendation for a new one. Your daughter may have complications for the rest of her life if you don't have it looked at. Better safe than sorry! Good luck!


answers from Chicago on

I agree with the other mom. Just because it doesn't hurt, doesn't mean that it's healed. Schedule an appointment to get the cast redone. Either with the original doc or another orthopaedic doc. No need to go back to the ER.



answers from New York on

First, I am sorry for your daughter! I broke my arm when I was a kid and it's no fun! As for your question, I would just show up at the doctor's office and demand to see any doctor that is in! If her cast is too loose, you run the risk of her damaging her arm further or it not healing correctly!! They are not suppose to be loose. The whole point of a cast is to hold the bones in place so that they can heal as the doctor as set them! If the cast is loose and she can move it you might as well m=not even have one on!!!

Good luck