How to travel in an arm cast

Written by marie jones
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How to travel in an arm cast
(Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

An arm cast is designed to support and protect your arm after a surgery or an orthopaedic break. Arm casts are made from plaster or fibreglass and immobilise the arm and provide stability while it heals. The inside of a cast is lined with a thin cotton material to prevent the skin from chafing and drying out. Because arm casts are so durable and strong, travelling with an arm cast is generally a very safe experience.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Bag with wheels or tote bag
  • Sling

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  1. 1

    Find out what your airline's broken bone policies are. If you are planning to fly, contact the airline to see what their regulations are for passengers with broken bones. Some airlines require you to wait at least 48 hours after receiving your cast in case you experience any swelling in your arm.

  2. 2

    Pack lightly. Whether you are driving or flying, pack as few personal items as possible. This will make moving around, boarding and de-boarding as quick and painless as possible. Calculate exactly what you will need for your trip and figure out what bulky items you can purchase at your destination, rather than bringing them from home.

  3. 3

    Use convenient baggage. If flying, use a small suitcase or bag with wheels. You will be able to pull this easily through the airport without added pressure to your arm or shoulders. Avoid using a backpack or bulky bag that requires you to use your broken arm. For a bus trip or car ride, use a small tote bag with large straps that you can access easily from a sitting position.

  4. 4

    Ask for help. If you choose to travel using public transportation, contact the bus station or airline before your trip to arrange for help. You can also ask for assistance at the ticket counter. Airlines will be able to arrange for you to take a cart through the airport to your gate. This will prevent you from walking long distances. Someone will also be able to help you board the plane and stow your carry-on baggage. When travelling by bus, the bus driver will be able to assist you in getting a handicap-accessible seat that will allow you room to sit comfortably with your cast.

  5. 5

    Wear a sling while you travel. Most arm casts are very heavy. Wear a sling while you travel to give your shoulders and back relief from holding the weight of your cast. You can get a sling from your doctor's office or in the First Aid section of most stores.

Tips and warnings

  • Check with your doctor before taking a trip with your arm cast. He may want to periodically check the cast while your arm is healing to ensure that the cast is still strong and that your arm is healing properly. If you are planning an extended journey, your doctor may be able to help you arrange continued care at your destination.

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