In medical terminology, a total contact cast denotes a cast that is used in treating ulcers on a person’s foot. Such ulcers may vary in degree of seriousness like serious and deep sores.
The total contact cast is made of either fiberglass or plaster shell with a bar on the bottom. The shell, fitting very closely around a human leg and foot, follows the shape of the entire foot.
Due to its very shape and design, it is termed medically as a total contact cast. This medical device distributes the body weight along the entire sole of the foot to protect its skin from having developed ulcers.
A Total Contact Cast has a soft layer made of a foamy substance or soft pad so that the ulcerous portion of the leg or skin does not get hurt. This helps the healing process of ulcerous portions follow a quick route thus curing the disease in a short span of time.
The bar on the bottom of Total Contact Cast balances the body weight and keeps this weight off of the affected portion or ulcerous portion while standing, sitting, or walking.
The cast is being used extensively all over the world. It is found to be very useful to heal foot sores and ulcers affecting mainly diabetic patients. Its medical efficacy has been proven.
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What is a Total Contact Cast?
This is fabricated or made of a highly developed casting technique to heal diabetic foot ulcer cases. Here, it is necessary to mention that it is based on medical science and several scientific factors concerning the foot of a person suffering ulcers have been taken into account to create it.
This medical device is useful as in the initial stages of Charcot fracture-dislocations, it can greatly aid a person to stand on his or her own legs and walk.
In the case of those who are suffering from diabetes and prone to different foot problems including ulcerous development, this comes as a great help. That is why the Total Contact Cast is used extensively in medical science.
Total Contact Cast has grown to be almost an integral part of treating cases of diabetes, including neuropathy and vascular disease. The ulcerous infection gets subsided in a short time with its help.
It is more so as it matches perfectly with the foot size of the patient. Its functionality ensures that the pressure is not put on the ulcerous portion and areas affected by it. This is done by a perfect balancing of the body of the concerned person according to his or her weight and the exact size of the foot.
What Causes A Foot Ulcer?
This can be caused by neuropathic factors. In the first place, neuropathy can result from paralysis of small muscles in the foot. This may cause clawing of the toes which in turn, causes a prominence of the metatarsal heads.
The metatarsal heads mean bones closest to the toe on the bottom of the foot and knuckles on the dorsum (top) of the foot. This results in excessive pressure on the foot. Often foot sensation is also reduced due to neuropathic factors.
A layer of skin may get infected or broken causing foot ulcers. This infection usually grows. As a result, the movement of the person suffering from it is restricted or put into difficulty. Here, the Total Contact Cast can be of great help.
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Who Needs a Total Contact Cast?
A Total Contact Cast can be needed by those persons who are suffering from diabetes on foot ulcers that are persisting due to the nature of diabetes which is retarding the process of healing.
Even if the sore is small, it may take larger forms in the coming weeks or months. Hence, the healing of sores or ulcers at the very initial phase is very much required. Besides those suffering from sores and ulcers, persons with serious skin damage problems can also use this for quick healing.
What Do I Need to Know About My Cast?
There are certain facts about the cast that you need to know to understand its medical efficacy and usefulness. The firsthand knowledge of these factors may help you with its method of use and how it protects the ulcerous portion of your skin with medicated covering.
Following are the main points that you need to know about it:
- This may take 24 hours to dry after it is first fitted on your foot. While the cast is drying, the person should not put weight on it.
- After the cast dies up, one should restrict the walking to a minimum level possible.
- If nobody pressure is put on the cast, the sores and ulcerous area may heal up comparatively in less time.
- Since the leg with the cast is longer than the other leg, a minimum walking is suggested. Putting strain on the cast may result in pain in the back or hip.
Can I Get My Cast Wet?
The answer to this is an emphatic no. No, you just cannot afford to get your foot cast wet or expose to water. It must remain absolutely dry for quick and better results. Wetting it or exposing it to liquids directly means you are damaging the cast and putting into jeopardy the healing of the wound: ulcerous portion.
One must keep in mind that a shower may not be possible in this case and one should resort to water-sponging of the body. Don’t venture to go out of your home if it is a rainy day.
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Things to Consider for Total Contact Cast
There are certain things you need to consider or certain things you need to know. The following medical tips or suggestions may help you greatly:
- Don’t put your fingers or scratch when having some fort o itching in the ulcer affected areas of the skin covered under the cast.
- Don’t ever put any solid or strong substance like a thin wooden stick or pencil to scratch the itch in the sore area. This may damage the skin undergoing healing inside the cast.
- Follow a particular sitting posture: always put your leg up on a chair or on a pillow to avoid hurting the foot.
- Don’t ever rub the foot undergoing mediated treatment with the hand or the other leg.
The total contact cast is an extremely useful way of medical treatment of ulcers or sores in the foot as it heals completely. This process may take some time but cures totally.
No wonder, this system is being used all over the world with proven results. Modern diabetic neuropathy treatment just cannot be imagined without this method.
You should check the condition of the cast on a daily basis. If it is found that the cast has loosened, you must immediately inform the concerned doctor or medical clinic to allow them to set it right. The cast must remain tight on your leg to prompt the treatment of the affected portions.
It should also be kept in mind that if you happen to notice any fissure, dent or other physical damage to the cast, inform the nursing home that has fitted it on your leg. They will come to mend them. Don’t ever resort to do-it-yourself in the case of the cast.