Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Kid in a Leg Cast

Scooter had a spiral break to his right tibia after a playground accident at school in the beginning of May.

We saw a wonderful pediatric orthopedic specialist and Scooter got a full leg cast on for 3 weeks.

After 3 weeks Scooter had x-rays and had the option of getting a shorter cast on.  He took that option.  He'll have the short cast for 3 weeks and then get more x-rays.  If all looks well, he'll be able to get a removable cast for a short time. 

We've learned a few things about legs casts.  It's different for every child, depending on the age and personality.  So our experience with a cast may or may not be similar to someone else.

The first few days I slept in Scooter's room to comfort him and give him his pain medication.  There were lots of hugs and prayers.

Scooter got to play lots of video games the first few days to distract him from the pain.  We let him draw on a small chalkboard, look at books, and even drive a remote control car around the house and outside.  We let him draw on his cast, which was a highlight for him.  Eventually he was back to his usual routine, just a little slower.

While the full leg cast was on, I made some spants for Scooter to wear.  It kept his bare leg warm, but helped keep the cast cool.  And when we were at home, he sat around in his underwear.  When the weather got warmer Scooter would wear loose shorts.

Crutches are hard for kids, so Scooter got a walker.  He used it more and more as his leg started to heal.  Eventually Scooter was walking around on his long cast without the walker.  You can see how the toe of his cast got a little beat up from that.

For the first three weeks we washed Scooter's hair under the kitchen sink and wiped the rest of him down with cloths.  Now that the shorter cast is on we put him in the tub sitting on a bucket.  We wrap his cast in a plastic bag for extra protection and have him hang it over the side of the tub.  For when the boy got itchy....let's just say we let him do something that's not encouraged, but is done by a lot of people in casts.  He had his own special scratcher....and we made sure that it wouldn't damage the cast or skin in any way. 

We used a stroller to transport Scooter long distances.  He went back to school a week after the injury.  I pushed Scooter into school with the stroller and his teachers used it to transport him longer distances.  His classroom was on the second floor, so we had permission to use an elevator key.  Scooter did use his walker in the classroom.  Of course, he couldn't do PE or play on the playground.  He drew lots of pictures during playtime and his classmates joined him at times.  At home we had to put Scooter's mattress from his loft on the floor.  With the shorter cast on, he's back up in his bed now.  And he even played mini golf. 

Daily Grind
We just kept telling ourselves that it would get better everyday and it did.  Scooter's on his way to a full recovery and we'll just have to keep an eye on his leg as he grows.  If he complains about pain in it as he's growing, we'll have to take him for x-rays to make sure it's growing properly.  And we're hoping this is the first and last broken bone we'll have to deal with in our family.  I told Chewy she's not allowed to have any.  And neither Biker Boy or I have ever broken a bone.  I've just dislocated my shoulder a couple times, but that doesn't count.  And thank you to all who have been praying for Scooter's recovery (and mine from infections), we truly appreciate your loving kindness and prayers.

Psst....Find out what happened when Scooter got the first short cast off here. (Updated June 30, 2011)

What's your experience with broken bones?


  1. I am so sorry that Scooter broke his leg!It must have been so chalenging having a handicapt son in a cast, using a waliker, usingcrutches... I feel so sad!

  2. Did Scooter need a weelchair?

  3. No, he didn't need a wheelchair. He's light enough (35lbs then) that my husband and I were able to carry him around for the first few days. The doctors wanted him putting weight on his broken leg (in the cast) as soon as he felt comfortable doing it. This is suppose to help the bone heal better. Scooter started using a walker about the third day with a cast, though we made him try it a little every day. Eventually he was walking on the full leg cast. He only had it three weeks before getting the shorter casts, which were easier to walk on. I did use a folding stroller to get him into and out of school, but that was mostly because it was easier and quicker for his teachers to get him around.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story. My 4 1/2 year old is going in for surgery to repair a severed tendon tomorrow and I have been dreading the resulting full leg cast. I appreciate the suggestions on keeping him distracted. I think our cast story will follow the same pattern as yours. Full leg to partial to boot. Good times ahead!

  5. Thank you for your post ! My 5 year old broke her tibia last week. I have just moved from carrying her around to a stroller. Yes....the crutches have been a failure. I love the walker idea ! I feel like we can see the light now. : ) You have been very helpful.

  6. Thanks for stopping by pint size pilot! I hope your daughter is on the road to recovery. Hopefully she'll be running on that cast and not even need the walker! Good luck with her recovery! I'm hoping she comes out of this with a healthy leg and eventually can't even remember which leg she broke! It's been nearly 2 years since my son broke his leg and he barely remembers it!

  7. My 4 year old broke his tibia and fibia after a wall fell on him. I keep saying it could be worse so 6 weeks in a cast is fine. This has helped do much I could cry. I feel brave enough to leave the hospital :-)

    1. You can do it! It's amazing how resilient kids are, it's so tough being the parent and watching them go through something so painful and hard. But your son will be just fine! My son barely remembers what leg he broke. We actually had to go back to the casting room in the hospital after a bike accident recently and the nurses remembered him, but we were glad he didn't have to be casted again! I'll be praying for you tonight! You'll get through this and find ways to make your son comfortable. It only gets better with each passing day and pretty soon it'll just be a memory.

  8. Our 5 year old just had the same break tonight, and I'm trolling the internet to find stories of people surviving this with kids. Thank you for your chronicle! It makes me hopeful. Right now, I'm just exhausted and am going to sleep. What a day! Tomorrow, game on . . . with a whole new list of challenges. I'm tired just thinking about it! Thanks again for your blog!

    1. You'll survive! Make sure you get your rest! And I hope your 5-year-old has as wonderful an outcome as my son has had. He broke his leg when he was 6 (in kindergarten) and now he's a healthy 9-year-old in third grade. The kid snowboards, runs, bikes, jumps, and does all sorts of things. You'd never know he broke a leg. Kids are amazing and resilient. I worried like crazy, but my kid came through it. Yours will too! I wish you all the best!


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