Difference Between Cast and Splint (With Table)

Whenever we injure our limb or bone, we require a certain amount of medical attention to recover. A broken bone can lead to the disability of that part. It can lead to serious issues if not treated with care. Cast and splint are two medical devices that help us to recover from limb and bone injuries. Both are needed in different kinds of injury, and one can not replace the other.

Cast vs Splint

The difference between cast and splint is that cast is a custom made tool that gets moulded over the swollen limbs in order to heal it. On the other hand, splints are not custom made, but they do the same work. The cast is not adjustable, but splints can get adjusted.

A cast is a tool that is made of fibreglass and plaster, and it gets used to cure injury of bones and limbs. It keeps the limbs and bones unmoved and steady, which is very much needed to recover from a bone fracture or injured limb. A cast is not adjustable, and that is its USP in serious injuries.

A splint is used as a preliminary treatment. It can also be used if the injury is minor and mild. It is adjustable, and thus it can get altered when the swollen limb gets healed. It does not encircle the injured place entirely. It is fixed with the use of Velcro straps.

Comparison Table Between Cast and Splint

Parameters of ComparisonCastSplint
Definition A cast encloses a limb entirely.A splint partially encloses a limb.
MakingA cast is custom made.A splint is not custom made.
RemovalTo remove a cast, it has to get cut with the help of a blade.To remove a splint, you just need to unstrap it.
AdjustabilityA cast can not be adjusted.A splint can be adjusted.
Making timeMaking a cast takes more time compared to a splint.A splint takes lesser time to be made.

What is Cast?

A cast is a medical tool that helps to heal an impaired limb or broken bone. A cast holds the limb and encloses it entirely. To heal from a limp or bone injury, one needs to keep their bone motionless, and a cast helps to do that. After a bone injury, doctors place them back into the right place again but to get it set, you need to give it some time. During this time, the movement of the bones is not desired at all. Therefore the injured place gets encircled by the cast.

The cast is non-adjustable, and it makes sure that no movement takes place and the injury heals as soon as possible. Hence the concern of movement of the limp or bone can be eliminated from the mind. It is a part of orthopaedics.

Generally, casts are made of fibreglass and plaster. The removal of the cast includes cutting it off. In some cases, when the swollen limp get recovered, the cast may become loose and get removed easily. If the patient still needs to keep the injured place immobile, then a new cast will get made for him/her. Casts are completely customised and can not be reused once removed.

What is Splint?

Splints are an orthopaedic tool. A splint does not encircle an injured limb entirely as a cast does. It embraces the broken bone or injured limb to heal it. You can adjust a splint according to the swell of the limb. A splint is easy to use, an emergency medical technician is trained to set a splint. A splint can be used as a preliminary treatment till the injury is looked further into by professional doctors.

As a splint hold the limb partially, it can be called a half-cast. A splint is fastened with Velcro straps. Even though splints appear to come with more advantages, you can not choose that overcast according to your preferences. It is the job of the doctor to decide the tool according to the depth of the injury. Splints are not customised. They can be fixed with the help of Velcro straps. These are ready-made and easy to use.

Main Differences Between Cast and Splint

  1. A cast surrounds the limb entirely. It covers 360° of the limb and encircles it as a whole. But a splint does not encircle a limb. Rather it covers the limb partially.
  2. A cast can not get adjusted at all, it is completely immobilised, and thus it can heal better, but A splint can be adjusted if swollen occurs.
  3. A cast is tailored according to the patent‘s need, but splints are not custom made.
  4. A cast also takes a long time for making comparatively than a splint.
  5. Splints get attached by Velcro straps, or sometimes even bandages are used. But cast can not be fastened with Velcro straps as it is supposed to enclose the limb wholly.
  6. The only way to remove a cast is by cutting it off. But splits just need to be unstrapped to get removed.

Conclusion

One might think that a splint is rather better and more convenient than a cast, but one is not allowed to choose between one according to their convenience. The doctor will determine which one you need and which one will cure your injury faster. Both have significant use in the field of medical care.

Both are responsible for keeping the injured area steady and motionless. This is needed in order to heal the area. A splint is easy to adjust and use, but one might need to have a cast depending on the gravity of the injury. You can not point out one and say it is better than the other as their work varies on the situation and injury. One can not take over another’s place.

References

  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/international-journal-of-technology-assessment-in-health-care/article/costeffectiveness-analysis-of-cast-versus-splint-in-children-with-acceptably-angulated-wrist-fractures/E066283B5347D0455F5C8615E88F8A7D
  2. https://journals.lww.com/jaaos/fulltext/2008/01000/cast_and_splint_immobilization__complications.5.aspx
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