Several types of casts, braces and splints are available, depending on the part of the body that is affected and the injury being treated. A plaster cast is made from gauze and plaster strips soaked in water, which are then wrapped around the injured part to harden in 24 to 48 hours. A synthetic cast is made from fiberglass or plastic strips, making it lighter than a plaster cast. A splint, which is also called a half cast, is made from slabs of plaster or fiberglass held in place with a bandage wrap. Splints are often used temporarily when swelling is present. They are usually replaced with a more permanent cast after the swelling goes down. A brace is made of hard plastic and can be removed by you or your child. A brace might be used to correct a genetic disorder, such as scoliosis, or prevent pain from a sports injury, often in the knee or elbow.
You or your child may be given a sling if the cast is on an arm or shoulder. If the injury is in the hip, knee or foot, you may receive a cane, a walker or crutches to help you get around.