How to apply a short leg fiberglass cast

Updated February 21, 2017

When a bone is broken, a cast is applied to prevent it from moving as it heals. Fibreglass bandages have replaced those made of plaster in modern medical applications. Fibreglass is much stronger than plaster, and does not soften when splashed with water the way plaster casts do. Applying a fibreglass cast is not difficult, but special attention to detail must be paid. If you are injured, leave this task to a medical professional.

Position the foot at a 90-degree angle to the leg. This is called a neutral position, and will make walking more comfortable.

Slip a stockinet, which is a soft, surgically sanitary sleeve, onto the foot and lower leg. It should extend a few inches past the ends of the toes. Cut a dart in any excess material located at the joint of the foot and leg to make it lie flat.

Set the foot on a cast stand, which will hold it at the 90-degree angle. You will wrap the rest of the material around the foot and stand.

Begin wrapping rolled padding halfway up the toes, leaving the tips unwrapped. Wrap it around the toes a few times, then wrap around the ankle a few times in a figure-eight.

Wrap the entire lower leg, from below the knee to above the toes, with rolled padding. Apply several layers to prevent the fibreglass from rubbing against the leg.

Put on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands.

Unwrap a roll of 4-inch fibreglass bandage and dunk it into a bucket of water. Squeeze the roll slightly to fully saturate the fibreglass. The water activates the curing process.

Wrap the foot in a layer of fibreglass bandages, beginning midway up the toes. The padding should extend slightly from the bandage.

Wrap the bandage up and around the ankle in a figure-eight pattern and back down the foot. Continue wrapping the foot and ankle until the roll is used up.

Make a few 1-inch cuts in the fibreglass around the foot. Fold the fibreglass back to strengthen the end.

Pull the stockinet back from the toes and over the fibreglass. This procedure provides a barrier between the fibreglass and the end of the cast, preventing the foot from rubbing against fibreglass. All five toes should be exposed.

Prepare a second roll of fibreglass bandages.

Wrap the upper portion of the leg, moving from the ankle to the top and back again, until the roll is used up. Wrap over the pulled-back stockinet at the bottom, leaving only a small band of fabric exposed around the toes.

Pull the stockinet at the top of the cast down over the fibreglass, the same way you pulled it up at the toes.

Prepare a final roll of fibreglass bandages and wrap it around the entire cast, from top to bottom. Leave a small ring of fabric exposed at the top of the cast as you did at the toes.

Smooth out the entire cast with water.

Slide the foot and cast off of the stand.

Ensure that the foot is still at a 90-degree angle. If it is not, reposition it before the fibreglass hardens.


Apply any excess bandage at the end of a roll to the foot rather than the leg, as the foot is the weight-bearing surface.


Do not wrap the foot too tightly or you may cut off circulation.

Things You'll Need

  • Stockinet
  • Cast stand
  • Rolled padding (2 to 3 rolls)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Fibreglass bandages (3 rolls)
  • Bucket of water
  • Surgical scissors
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About the Author

Alex Smith began writing in 2006 and brings a combination of education and humor to various websites. He holds a Master of Arts in theater and works as a professional makeup and special-effects artist.