How to Apply a Plaster Arm Cast

Written by rebecca macken
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How to Apply a Plaster Arm Cast
Applying a plaster cast to a broken arm is a relatively simple procedure. (thumb 1 image by askthegeek from

A broken arm can be a painful and burdensome injury that requires time to heal. When the arm is broken it is necessary to apply a plaster cast to allow for the break to heal correctly. Often this is performed by a physician or nurse, but when one is not available a plaster cast can be applied by anyone equipped with the correct supplies and knowledge.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Soft cotton roller bandage
  • 2 3-inch rolls of plaster
  • Bowl of warm water
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Position the hand, wrist and arm in alignment with each other. The arm should be aligned in a functional position.

  2. 2

    Wrap the soft cotton bandage in a circular motion around the arm. Start at the hand and extend to below the elbow, ensuring that the bandage is smooth and even when wrapping. Provide extra cushioning around the wrist area by wrapping the cotton around the wrist several times.

  3. 3

    Open the 3-inch roll of plaster and dip it in a slightly warmed bowl of water. Fully immerse the plaster in the water in a vertical manner. Massage the immersed plaster to allow water to evenly absorb into it.

  4. 4

    Take the softened plaster out of the water and squeeze out excess liquid.

  5. 5

    Apply plaster first to the forearm, using a circular motion. Unroll the plaster roll evenly, smoothing the plaster onto the soft cotton bandage.

  6. 6

    Repeat Step 3 with the second roll of plaster.

  7. 7

    Apply the second roll of plaster over top of the first, still damp, plaster application. While applying the second roll of plaster, fold any loose edges of the cotton bandage between the first and second layer of plaster.

  8. 8

    Smooth the layers of plaster with wet hands to ensure that it keeps shape with the arm.

  9. 9

    Trim excess plaster from around the thumb area with scissors.

  10. 10

    Allow plaster to dry.

Tips and warnings

  • It is recommended that this process be undertaken by three people: one to hold the arm in place, the second to prepare the plaster and the third to apply the bandage and plaster.
  • Be sure that the water used to soften the plaster is not too hot or too cold because this will effect the pliancy of the plaster.
  • Have the injured person see a doctor as soon as possible to make sure the arm is properly tended to.

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