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How Does a Cast Work to Heal a Broken Bone?



How Does a Cast Work to Heal a Broken Bone?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.03

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    suspect, purpose, operation, material, molded, unhealthy, x-ray, meantime, medical, location, especially, itself, possible, fitted, necessary, addition


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How Does a Cast Work to Heal a Broken Bone?
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     If you've ever broken your arm or your leg, you probably already know more about a cast than you ever wanted to. You know that a cast can be itchy and even smelly. It stays on for weeks, and it's not much fun. But if you are lucky enough to never have needed a cast, or even if you have, you might be wondering - how does a cast work?
 
2     A cast doesn't heal a broken bone as much as it allows the broken bone to heal itself. Taking good care of the broken bone at every step of the way can help the process to go smoothly. To begin with, if you suspect that someone has broken a bone, get medical care as quickly as possible. In the meantime, try not to move the arm or leg with the broken bone any more than absolutely necessary.
 
3     At the doctor's office, the doctor will examine the injured area. He or she will probably take an x-ray to see what it looks like inside the arm or leg. If the bone has broken through the skin, the wound will be cleaned and cared for. The doctor will make sure that the parts of the broken bone are lined up properly so that the bone will heal straight. If the parts of the bone are not lined up right, it is called a displaced fracture. The doctor will have to line them up the way they should be before a cast is put on. This is called setting the bone. If the break is very bad, an operation may be done to put in metal pins to hold everything in the right place. Thankfully, for most breaks, this is not necessary.

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