What is a Hip Spica Cast?

What is a Hip Spica Cast?

A hip fracture can be treated in different ways, and one of the options is called a hip spica cast. This type of cast is used by orthopedic professionals to keep the hip and thigh still if someone has injured their upper leg. In particular, a hip spica cast is used for hip and femur fractures in children.

This spica cast comes in many shapes and sizes. In some situations, the doctor may use a single hip spica which covers only one leg. In other cases, a double hip spica might be needed, particularly if there are bilateral hip fractures. Furthermore, some doctors might even use a spica cast that extends up to the trunk. This is more common in young children, such as toddlers. If someone has suffered a hip fracture, the doctor may discuss the possibility of using a hip spica cast to keep the hip and thigh immobilized while the fracture heals.

How Long is a Hip Cast in Place?

Most hip spica casts are going to be kept in place for several weeks. In some situations, the fractures might heal completely in six weeks. In more severe injuries, the cast may be kept in place for three months or more.

If the doctor is planning on keeping the cast in place for an extended period of time, the cast will probably be changed every six weeks. When the cast is changed, the doctor might decide to change the length of the cast as well, depending on how the healing process is progressing. The doctor might also order periodic x-rays to assess the progress of the fracture healing.

Fitting a Spica Cast

Like other casts, it will be important to make sure that this cast is working well. There are a few tips that everyone needs to keep in mind when there is a hip cast in place. These include:

  • Make sure that the toes are both pink and warm. This assures that the cast is not constricting the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the lower leg.
  • Ensure that there is no numbness or tingling in the toes or feet. This assures that the sensory nerves that feed the lower leg are not compressed.
  • Check to make sure that the toes can still be wiggled slightly. If the toes are wiggling, the motor nerves that supply the lower leg are not compressed.

If the lower leg goes numb or turns pale, call the doctor right away. The cast may be too tight. Once the cast is adjusted, the numbness, tingling, and paleness should resolve quickly.

After the Hip Fracture Cast is Removed

Once the hip fracture cast is removed, it will be time to restore strength and mobility to the hip and lower leg. With the thigh and hip unable to move for a couple of months, this joint is going to be stiff. This is where physical therapy can be helpful.

A trained physical therapist will be able to restore strength to the muscles that feed the hip and leg. Over time, strength, flexibility, and mobility will return to the leg. Most people who suffer a hip fracture will eventually make a full recovery.

Sacramento Hip Fracture Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Hip Fracture Lawyer. A hip spica cast can be used to treat certain types of hip fractures. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a serious hip fracture following an accident due to the negligence of another person or entity, please call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. I would be happy to share free, friendly advice.

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Image Citation: The picture used on this page was found first on Unsplash and has been shown here with permission. 

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