drying out a cast...
August 19, 2006 2:26 PM   Subscribe

How do I best dry out a soft cast?

I just got a soft cast on my foot to recover from tendonitis. I tried to put a bag over my foot to protect it, but water still got in. A sizeable amount, too. I know I need to dry this out thoroughly or else nasty, nasty stuff will happen tot he skin. How do I best do this? I do not have a hairdryer on hand, so that it out of the question. I do have many box fans, will they be enough or should heat be involved as well?
posted by piratebowling to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
Warm air, circulating is usually the best formula for drying water from any absorbent material. But you need actions that match all three words of the formula. Warmth without circulation does little good. Circulating warmed air, if it's only a little air, doesn't work well either, if you're trying to dry a sizeable amount of water. No, you need plenty of air to move, plenty of warmth in the air, and plenty of circulation for optimal results. Thus, a hair dryer is the usual recommendation.

But, you don't have one. Let's MacGyver then, shall we?

Standard box fans may help with circulation, somewhat, but they can't maintain enough air pressure to move much air down inside the cast. If you can work some folded terry cloth down in there to set up capillary action, and change it frequently, that may help.

Do you have a vacuum with a hose? That's usually the next biggest high velocity air appliance in the home. Even better if it is one that allows the hose to be attached to the outlet, to make a kind of blower. Shop vacs are very good for this. You even get some warming of the air flow, from the slight compression of air as it flows through the motor's turbine, and over the armature.

If you are going to have this awhile, you may want to pickup some small desiccant packs in case this happens again. You can reuse them a number of times by baking them out at low temperature in the oven, and they are fairly easy to slide down inside the cast, and shake or fish back out easily.

But if you're out and about finding desiccant packs at shipping supply stores in the neighborhood, it might be useful to spend $10 on a hair dryer, too.
posted by paulsc at 4:58 PM on August 19, 2006

Do you have a neighbour or a friend with a hairdryer you can borrow?
posted by Joh at 5:08 PM on August 19, 2006

Sleep in a room with the air conditioning turned up as high as you can stand it, bundle up under the blankets and leave the cast exposed. The A/C sucks moisture out of the air and will speed the drying of your cast.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:32 PM on August 19, 2006

Be absolutely sure it's dry, or turn yourself in back at the doc's. It wouldn't be the first time they cut off a wet cast.

Next time, there's a trick to it. You use a sturdy garbage bag (maybe one of those new ones that have fibers in the plastic in a square pattern), tie it off once, then wrap something like a hand towel around the leg above the tie, and tie it off again. That way, the towel catches the drips before they make it into the cast. I recommend #217 rubber bands for this, but whatever works.

You can cut a sock off and rubberband it over the toes. Naked toes look so drafty and informal, especially at the office.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:15 AM on August 21, 2006

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