Nov 272011
 

Having a child in a cast, especially a body cast, is no fun. Here is the story of how we survived my son's hip spica cast--tons of tips and tricks included!For all of my regular readers, you may want to just pass on this post.  I’m diverting from my usual attempts at wit and humor to give a shout out to any other parents who might be madly tearing up Google in search of any insight on how to best handle a toddler in a hip spica cast.  That first awful night, when my husband was in the ER and I was home with our newborn, I found enormous comfort and some really great tips from parents who also had wee ones in hip spica casts.  So I just wanted to share our experience in case it could in any way be a help to others.  Here is what we have learned:

1. Bean bag chairs are truly your best friends.  Get them, borrow them, use them.  We found them to be helpful in an array of sizes for different purposes (stacking them so we could position him in different ways, etc.), but it was really helpful to have the very large Lovesac I had bought off Craig’s List last year.  This has been our central hub for TV watching, eating, etc.  It was also nice that it is ours, so I’m not paranoid that we’ll ruin someone’s chair if he spills his juice :)

2. The bigger, the better…We can still pull size 2T shirts over his cast, and I thought I would be able to get away with 4T pants, but this size is even tough.  We have had a lot better luck with size 5 and 6.  The problem isn’t so much the pant legs fitting around the cast legs, but the waist band being able to stretch over the weird spread of the cast.  My son’s break is high on his femur too, so his cast is actually way straighter than most kids in this situation.  Since most of the pairs are too long, we just roll them up.  Obviously, if it’s summer, I would go with shorts all around.  It will probably be easier–and cooler!  Some kids may be fine without pants, but it’s cool here in PA and my son seemed bothered by having his diaper hanging out…

3.  As far as footwear…Some kids might not care, but my son is very weird about wearing socks (he gets it from his neurotic mother, of course), so I just hit the $1 aisle at Target and got cheap socks that wouldn’t matter if they got all stretched out.  Since it was pre-Christmas season when his break happened, let’s just say my son was rocking out Santa socks very early this year (much to the chagrin of his father, who is VERY opposed to Christmas before Thanksgiving).  One other note here: even though my son can’t walk, he seems to find it very important to put on his left shoe (the cast covers the right foot) whenever we go outside, so we do.  Routine is so important to toddlers, and since it will be totally rocked in these weeks, anything you can do to promote consistency is a plus.

4. Battling the pain…At first we tried to be all purest about this and only gave Tylenol to our son when he seemed especial cranky or in pain.  Then I had a chat with our pediatrician and got a little more realistic…we started dosing on a pretty regular schedule.  Has this helped?  Maybe he’s a little less cranky and maybe he sleeps a little better, but in this situation, you gotta cling to the “maybes” that are positive.  We forewent the prescribed Tylenol with codeine b/c this has always made me very sick to my stomach and bought a six pack of generic children’s acetaminophen on www.walmart.com.

5. Diapering, diapering, diapering.  In short, good luck.  It’s a mess.  The good news is, if you haven’t yet potty trained, this is the one time you can give yourself a pat on the back, b/c all that hard work would now go to waste (unless your child would be male and old enough or smart enough to figure out how to use one of those handheld urinals).  See my previous post on this topic (A Sanitary Situation), but after 4 weeks of this, this we have developed this method as our best shot at preventing leak-throughs (you will still have them no matter what you do and this does NOT make you a bad parent):  We put a size 1 with two sanitary napkins stuck horizontally across the inside top back of the diaper.  You cover the whole thing up with a size 4 or 5 (obviously these sizes might be different, dependent on your child’s age/size.  At night we use one of my daughter’s size 3 overnites in place of the size 1 and put it on backwards as since he primarily lies flat on his back, most of the urine collects in the back of his diaper.  As I said, even with all these techniques in place, he most surely still leaks through at least once a day.  We started putting a waterproof crib pad underneath him when he sleeps at night, so we aren’t changing his sheets every morning.  We do try to change him frequently during the day and at least once during the night, but keeping urine from leaking out of this cast is a beast!  As far as poop, good luck.  Constipation is a battle b/c your child is not moving and (especially at first with us), will often eat very little.  However, we have learned those hard occasional poops are far preferrable to their runny counterparts.  Without getting into graphic details, let’s just say secondary to bean bags chair, wipes are your other new best friend…

6. Bathtime–not so fun any more.  I think your particular technique will just depend on your particular child and his/her particular cast.  For us, my husband holds his top half over the tub and I use a cup to wet his hair, I soap it up and then rinse it with the cup.  I then soap up his top half and “rinse” it off with a wet washcloth.  We then wrap a towel around his head/top half, and my husband sits down and holds my son’s top half in his lap.  I hold his feet in my lap, creating a bridge of sorts, take off his diaper and repeat the soaping/rinsing on his bottom half.  I then pull my son up so he is vertically standing in my lap while my husband stands and then takes him from me.  Excuse any tedious detail, but it took us a while to figure this one out, and it works pretty well for us.

7.  Eating is mess.  Some children have more of a seat created in their casts, so they may actually be able to sit up better, but as I said, our son’s cast is very straight, so he largely eats laying down.  We have occasionally propped him on our knee and tried to eat with him at the table this way.  But in general, he is horizontal, and crumbs get everywhere–in and on his cast, on the couch, in his clothes, on the floor…THIS IS WHY YOU NEED A DUSTBUSTER (see previous post, Eureka!).  We tried to do the first week without one, and it was just a no-go.  Even my very money-conscious husband agreed, and crumbs have met their match.  We also had some luck with those new fruit in veggie purees that come in the pouches with the spout.  They are a little harder to spill and you get some of that fiber thrown in.  My friend J did blessedly buy us one of those plastic activity desks, which we are able to get over his lap area some when he is propped up on pillows and he has used this sometimes for eating and playing with toys.  This brings me to my next point…

8. Adaptive devices.  The hospital should provide you with either an adaptive car seat if your child is able to sit, or as in our case, a harness device so he can ride secured lying down across the seat of our van.  Do not get yourself into a frenzied panic pricing out adaptive car seats online and thinking you will have to purchase one at $1200 (not that this Mom of the Year would ever have done that…).  While the harness keeps him safe, van rides are not a fun part of his cast situation, but our treks to the hospital for follow-up appointments have been greatly helped by the car DVD player my MIL lent us.  Other things that have been very helpful have been sippy cups with bendy straws and the now-famous Gyrobowl.  Both of these gadgets help with the whole needing-to-eat-lying-down scenario.  We also got one of those breakfast-in-bed trays and lay him on his stomach on a footrest and set up the tray in front of him so he can play on his stomach.

9. Getting around.  We are now 4 weeks in and he has only figured out how to crawl in the past few days.  Sometimes he army crawls on his stomach and sometimes he scootches himself on his back using his arms to pull and his left leg to push (the cast only goes down to his knee on his leg).  He also also figured out how to roll over.  This does seem to have helped improve his mood somewhat.  Which makes sense–he now has a little more control over his situation and has been able to spend more time down on the floor playing with toys.  A friend also lent us some physical therapy scooters that he has been able to lie on and pull himself around the house on (see The Party House), which has been awesome.

10. Welcome to newborn sleeplessness…one of the best ways I can describe this is that it is like having the complete helplessness and sleeplessness of a newborn with the behaviors and demands of a toddler rolled into one child.  The doctor says it’s possible the sleep problems are due to his leg spasming (almost like restless leg syndrome), but in any case, sleep is bad.  And unlike the cries of a newborn, his cries are loud.  And keeps the whole house up…and when a toddler doesn’t sleep…let’s just say I was unaware until a few weeks ago that it was literally possible to throw a 24 hr. temper tantrum.  We have had some luck trying to position him on his side by propping him with pillows.  We also committed a parenting sin and have allowed him to sleep with his sippy cup (of water, not juice) b/c it seems to give him great comfort.

11. Crime and punishment.  One of the hardest things for us has been addressing his behaviors.  They are generally truly atrocious.  But how much of this is because the poor kid is immobilized in a ginormous cast and how much of this is because of bratty 2 year-old personality??  And how do you do a time out with someone that can’t move?  We have basically settled on verbally reprimanding him and then if he doesn’t listen (i.e. throws his bowl a second time), he gets carried upstairs to his room until he can calm down.  I’ll be honest, this has only worked marginally well at best.  We are going to have our “regrouping” work cut out for us when this thing comes off…

12. What to do??  The first 3 weeks or so, it was A LOT of TV.  The kid was in pain, he was super-cranky and we had to be extra-cautious about him moving around at first while the bone initially set, so it worked for us.  Not brilliant parenting by any means, but…we also had a lot of friends lend us toys.  I keep all these new toys in a crate and make a big deal of getting them out as “special toys”, which he thinks is pretty cool.  The Indoor Sandbox was a fantastic idea, and we use lots and lots of stickers…I am also a big fan of getting outside daily.  We lay him down in a wagon (supported by my repurposed U-shape pregnancy pillow–see pic at bottom of Threshold of Hell-ing It) and try to do a walk everyday.  When I go it alone, I put the baby in the baby carrier and pull him in the wagon.  My son also thinks checking the mail is very cool, so we walk out to the mailbox about 16 times a day.  I also try to make a big deal of carrying him out to the driveway to greet people when they come to visit and to walk out with them to wave good-bye when they leave.  Even just changing rooms with him in the house is helpful to break things up.  When I go up to get dressed for the day, I lie him on the middle of our bed and that’s usually when he has his “iphone time” (see Free Skeeball!).

13. Safety issues. Showering is a mess b/c I don’t feel comfortable getting in the shower, and leaving my son and newborn unattended unless there is another adult in the house.  You aren’t supposed to leave kids in hip spica casts unattended in case they roll off of something or fall (esp. at first), but you do have to be realistic.  If he seems secure and peacefully engaged with a toy or TV on the couch, I will wash my dishes in the kitchen.  He also eventually figured out how to lower himself to the ground from his bean bag chair and he does it slowly enough that I’m comfortable with it.  We took away all of his bed except for the mattress so he is very low to the floor.  This would be an instance where not having converted your child out of the crib would be advantageous…

14. Oh the cost of things…It’s a mess.  The diapers, the wipes, the copays, the medicine, bigger pants and socks, bean bags chairs, special cups and bowls, trays, even the cost of gas to trek down to the hospital…and praise God that I am a SAHM at this point in our lives b/c I’m not sure how it would work to take him to daycare right now and that would be a major FMLA hit.  The only thing I can say here is, let people help you–they want to and you will need it.  Borrow toys, pants, chairs, etc. so you don’t have to buy it.  If people want to bring you a meal, let them.  Going out to the grocery store is next to impossible–you obviously can’t take your child out during the day and put him in a grocery cart, and we have found that all hell breaks loose around bedtime here and afterwards, you are so drained from lack of sleep, you want to go to bed yourself, not be looping the aisles at Giant.  Also, children in this situation are VERY demanding and needy and if you have other kids…cooking will not be high on your list.

So bottom line, this sucks.  Rumor has it that it does end, and I’m a believer, but even though it’s rough you’re not alone!  Other parents have gone through this and survived, and I’m told we’ll look back on this time and maybe even laugh about how crazy it was??  In my particular case, taking care of 2 children will seem like a breeze after we are on the other side–maybe then I can actually live up to being a Mom of the Year a little more :)

 

Having a child in a cast, especially a body cast, is no fun. Here is the story of how we survived my son's hip spica cast--tons of tips and tricks included!

Addendum (added 1/5/12):  Should have posted this sooner, but wanted to add this before I totally forgot about it:  PRE-DOSE YOUR CHILD WITH TYLENOL PRIOR TO CAST-OFF APPOINTMENT AND TAKE IT ALONG WITH YOU TO YOUR APPOINTMENT!!!  I so, so wish someone had told me this.  Picture it: my husband and I, all giddy, happy and excited to see our little boy restored to his cast-less state after 6 weeks (actually, one day short of on-the-nose 6 wks.) and as soon as it’s removed, he starts screaming!  And didn’t stop for a few days.  The pain of moving his little joints after not being able to for so long was apparently excruciating, plus his muscles were just so, so atrophied and sore.  It took him 65 days to take independent steps and we’re not fully there with the walking (4 weeks post-cast), but truly, it DOES get better every day–e-mail me: meredithspidel@hotmail.com or post a comment in the meantime for support.  Hang in there!!

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Meredith blogs at The Mom of the Year, dedicatedly earning her title one epic parenting fail at a time. When her kids aren't busy pummeling each other with Legos or requiring their 16th sippy cup refill of the day, she tries to offer quick, relatable laughs for fellow parents of the world and all their empathizers. She remains entirely terrified by crafts, promises to never share any useful household tips, and is fully committed to a less serious look at the world of parenting.

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  125 Responses to “Toddler in a Hip Spica Cast”

  1.  

    This is so eye-opening to me, it is amazing what you can do when you have to do it. I pray for you every single day–two weeks til the cast is off (or a little less!) Think it's great that you took the time to write this out, even if it helps one person somewhere, it will be worth it!

  2.  

    Thanks for the realistic (it sucks) and reassuring (someone else is surviving this too) post on this subject! We're two weeks in with a spica cast for our 22-month-old (also named Isaac, oddly enough). Fortunately, he hasn't been in much pain, but frustration runs rampant, of course. Do you know what sort of activity/lap desk you have? My son's cast is very wide– and then there's that dang bar– and I'm uncertain as to whether a lap desk with side supports will fit around his legs.

    Best wishes for your son's recovery and your sanity!

  3.  

    Love that our sons have the same name! Just wish they weren't in this situation, right? We don't have the bar, but I can imagine that makes the spread a great deal wider. This is the desk we have, except ours is green and without the Toy Story picture:

    http://www.amazon.com/Kids-Only-Disney-Story-Activity/dp/B003UIHMR8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322572324&sr=8-1

    I think my friend got it at AC Moore?? Would it work to buy a student lap desk of some sort, maybe with a really squishy pillow part?

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dtoys-and-games&field-keywords=lap+desk&x=0&y=0

    Keep me posted on how things are going and you and Isaac are in my prayers!

  4.  

    Unfortunately, I've had to pass the link to this blog on three times since it was first sent to me when our bubba broke his femur. The latest was just today. Thought I'd just say “thanks for writing this” and let you know parents everywhere are finding it useful.

  5.  

    Unfortunately, I've had to directly pass this on twice myself and it hasn't even been 6 mo. since our break…I can't think of a worst way to get blog publicity :(

  6.  

    Thank you so much for this! My two-year-old Isaiah just broke his leg on Monday. He has only had this on for 2 days and we’re both already going a little nuts! And I agree with everything you said! but thanks for letting us know you survived! His first check-up/appointment is 11/1/12 and I already feel its a lifetime away. Isaiah does have a stick thing connecting both legs but how and when did you feel comfortable enough to let him have tummy time?

    •  

      I’m so sorry! It is so, so tough I know. I will keep you all in my prayers. Please feel free to e-mail me directly meredith@themomoftheyear.net any time about any questions. I’d love to support however I could. I don’t think Isaac would have wanted to be on his tummy at first. I don’t think it was until we got out that indoor sandbox thing that he got interested in the idea of flipping over. I’d say just do whatever is most comfortable for Isaiah. The first few days were AWFUL b/c he was in so much pain…hang in there and please keep me posted. Prayers.

    •  

      My son nathaniel recently broke his femur bone,he had a hip spica cast, he is 2 1/2 yr.. A jogging stroller was really helpful for doctors appointment and long walks. Also he played game such as baseball ball(soft bat,soft ball) stacking blocks,while laying on his back..He stayed in the cast for 5 weeks. Now he is walking 1 week after cast removal, its gets better, hang in there. My prayers are with you..

  7.  

    Thanks so much for writing this my little boy broke his leg almost 2 weeks ago (even though it seem longer) glad to know yu survived it gives me hope. My problems dealing with a toddler in a cast is his frustrations and demands and also the smelly cast I found that the hair dryer on cool really helps but yu have to be consistent or the smells will quickly return

    •  

      Oh, I’m so glad you could find this post and know that you aren’t alone in this. It is a REALLY hard time–and difficult time of year for it too. Ours was this same time last year! Please know you will be in my prayers and I’m always here to offer support. Keep working that hair dryer and hanging in there!

      •  

        I just wanted to follow up and say Isaiah got his cast taken off on Wednesday! I am so relieved as is he. I also just want to add, keep lotion on hand at all times! The dead skin is driving him nuts and only hours after the removal he was bleeding (not horribly but he broke skin) from scratching so much. The lotion is helping him tremendously and the skin is still slowly falling off. The first two days I kept towels underneath him because he was shedding SO much. I am letting him on his own and he is blossoming already. He likes to play on the floor and sorta “scoot” around. He has one of the walk-and-ride dinosaur toys and he likes riding it and pushing himself places. (he actually pointed to it and it was his idea to pull it back out and use it.) He tried getting on hands and knees and standing by himself already but he hasn’t really tried again once I had to pick him up because he was stuck. He understands his leg hurts and isn’t capable of everything just yet so he is always changing positions and stretching it out on his own terms. Thanks for giving me hope about those awful six weeks and hopefully everyone else out there finds some peace and hope! Good juju, prayers, good karma (whatever you believe in) to all – you’ll need it! :)

        •  

          Cait, thanks so much for adding these tips on. I’m so sorry you had to go through this, but so appreciate you taking the time in case it can help someone else in these same horrid shoes. So glad he out of the cast–YAY!!! And I will be praying that he continues to heal and get on the other side of this whole thing quickly! It sounds like you’ve got great ideas and are on the right track :)

  8.  

    I’m so happy as a mom to read these posts .. i have never felt so helpless ib my life.. my son is 2.5yrs and in Spica cast.. i also have a 10week old baby and the demands of both are weighing on me.. Were almost three weeks in and it seems the nite time screaming is getting worse.. I’m finding it hard to discipline or let scream also because communicating what he needs from me is that much harder when i can’t understand everything he says .. i feel like I’ve been up for 3weeks. The one thing that has helped tramendously is a chair/table his daddy made him.. finally some normalcy.. if Anyone would like to see a picture of it to maybe get an idea for yourself just email me at anglppp3418@yahoo.com

    •  

      I’m so sorry you are going through all of this. I know exactly how you feel, and know that it is such a horrible time–with the lack of sleep, screaming, difficulty disciplining, baby to care for…it is so, so much! This does pass, I promise, but it is so tough getting there, I know. Thanks for taking the time to share this chair/table idea that worked for you and please know you are in my prayers.

      •  

        How long after the cast did it take for him to walk?

        •  

          Christina, it was a month before he stood independently and then a month after that before he was really walking. We should have pursued PT much, much sooner than we did. He has now been out of the cast for a year on Friday, and is still getting therapy, but the improvements are huge!

  9.  

    So then i will definitely pursue pt asap.. when i went to his last appt they were concerned he may need surgery .. his bone is angled 30% which is the peak of what they like to see at his age.. i just pray we won’t have to go back after all this and do surgery then Spica.. but whatever we have to do to make sure he’s able to walk again.

    •  

      I forget the exact angle my son had, but it was pretty severe. It did self-correct (isn’t it crazy how kids’ bones do that?!) to less than 5% and is only supposed to continue to straighten (we’ll learn more at his appt. on Mon.–he hasn’t had an x-ray for 6 mon. now). I will pray too–surgery would be so tough, I know. Keep me posted!

      •  

        His next appt is Monday as well.. i will update then.

        •  

          Will be praying for you! Keep me posted!

          •  

            Gosh i have such severe anxiety .. Aydan rolled over making his arm stuck behind his back screaming for help.. i about had a heart attack thinking now he broke his arm… he’s done it twice now. Am i the only one with this severe anxiety it is now constantly on my mind.

          •  

            This whole thing is such an anxiety-ridden mess, Christina. I found that it did get a bit better for me as we got a little further into him being in the cast, especially when he started to be able to pull himself around more with his arms. But if it’s really bad, I would definitely talk to your own doctor and see if they can recommend anything? Keep us posted.

  10.  

    Well, yesterday marked one week and one day since Isaiah has been out of his cast and I am extremely proud to say he is crawling! His biggest fear was putting weight on his right leg (knee mostly) but he is finally there. He is unable to pull himself into the standing position but with assistance and with much fear he can stand on his own. His legs still fairly widespread but stable. Also, if we hold his hands he will walk/hobble with weight on both legs.. Very similar to when he was first learning one year ago. :) I still have to stretch his ankle for him, it still relaxes pointed and curled in (making him extremely bow-legged) but he is already showing a vast improvement. Obviously, stretching his little ankle in the tub is when he has the most improvement (and it’s less of a fight). His first check-up is January 3rd and I’m hoping things will have only improved more.

    •  

      Yay! This is awesome and sounds like he is doing so well! Hoping the improvements just keep coming and you get a great report on 1/3. Thanks for the update and for keeping us posted :)

  11.  

    Well his appointment went well.. altho the dr wouldnt tell me what his angle is now just that its showing signs of healing. If it doesnt heal correctly we wont know for a year if he will indeed need surgery. He wont be getting his cast off Christmas Eve :-/ Got moved to Jan 7th. I Did try to speak to my primary about situation and my anxiety he quickly changed the subject then left… i need a new dr. But i will say my anxiety has gotten a little better but i dont know how well it will stay as im leaving my 12wk old and son and going back to work today… sigh

    •  

      Merideth how was your appt?

      •  

        Aw, thanks for asking, Christina. It’s officially been one year since his cast came off, and the doctor said he’s doing so well! His leg is still off by a few millimeters, but the doctor said this can be normal even with kids who haven’t had such a bad break. It’s been a crazy
        year, but we feel very blessed right now!

        •  

          Im happy to hear it went well.. so will he continue to have appts or was that the last?

          •  

            Christina, no, that was his last! One year after the cast came off and we are now all done with that! (Still doing PT, but no more doctor!) Yay!

    •  

      Christina, this must have been so frustrating to hear about the delay in getting the cast off. We had this same situation–we thought we were getting it off when we went one week, but were told it would still be another week. I kept telling myself it was better in the long run to make sure it was fully healed, but this is so hard, I know! And with going back to work today! Your plate is so full–I do really hope you can find a doctor who you feel like is really hearing you and working with you. Please continue to keep me posted…hang in there, Christina!

      •  

        Thank you! It has felt like alot but i just take it one day at a time .. oddly this cast is slowly beginning to feel “normal ” and just apart of him… but by all means I’m ready for my little man to run and play like he used too :)

        •  

          I am so glad things are a little better and will keep praying…he will get there! It’s so hard, I know, but hang in and go you for being so proactive, smart, and on top of getting him what he needs! Keep me posted as you can…

  12.  

    Wow, such a great post to find! My 2 yr old broke his femur on the 23rd and it was identified on the 24th. He got a spica cast; merry Christmas, right?! We are all adjusting and trying to get used to the awkwardness of everything ( from picking him up, moving him, positioning him, etc). Your post is great, and really helpful! We did get a bean bag chair first thing, when we knew the diagnosis, so we were right on there! I pulled some other helpful tips from your post and also feel comfort in knowing there are so many others with similar experience, questions, etc. Thank you!

    •  

      Oh my, Julie! I am so sorry to hear this! And what horrid timing…I’m glad you got some tips from all of this and please, please ask or check in if you have any more questions. I know this is so hard, and we are here to support! Love on that bean bag ;)

  13.  

    And just like that we have an uncasted little boy :-) i can see it’s going to be a long road ahead still but he has already tryed to pull himself up and walk.. with help he did. i think for him physical therapy would be to slow he wants to run :-) Thank you Meridith for all your wise words and encouragement! p.s. doc said it’s healing just as it should.

    •  

      Yay, Christina! Awesome that he is already doing so well and trying to get on his feet. This will be completely behind you before you know it and thanks for the update!

  14.  

    Thanks for this post!! My 2 yr old broke her femur on Tues 1/29/13, had surgery on 1/30/13. With 3 toddlers in the house, besides her, its been an adventure. Shes still very sore and still having the horrible muscle spasms so not really able to move her around too much. She does enjoy sitting in her carseat that the hospital gave us and pulling herself around a little when shes on her back. I will be investing in the bean bag chair and maybe some other toys to keep her occupied as we have 8 dreaded weeks in the cast :(

    •  

      Brandi, I’m so sorry to hear about this! Sorry also I lost this comment for a week and didn’t respond sooner :( I can’t imagine trying to care for her and manage 3 other toddlers! I will be praying for you! Has her pain lessened at all and did you get the bean bag chair? The first week was the worst for us, and I hope if you got through this okay, this will only get better! Keep us posted and I’ll be more on top of responding!

    •  

      Thanks for these posts. I am a mess over my 2 year old’s recent (2 days ago)femur fracture and spica cast. He is SO uncomfortable/in pain at times. I can’t tell what’s causing the pain… but it’s awful! If you don’t mind me asking what did you use for pain management? Thanks again.

      •  

        So glad you checked in, Meg! I’m so sorry you are going through this. It’s so hard, I know. We found Tylenol (acetaminophen) worked better for him than ibuprofen. And we definitely dosed it around the clock after he first came home. Please ask if you have any more questions and hang in there :(

  15.  

    Oh my goodness. You really went through the ringer with this, didn’t you? I can’t even imagine doing all of that with a 2-year-old. My daughter is so active, and the cast she has on her little leg is enough to break my heart. But this sounds like a MUCH bigger deal. Cannot believe you got through it. I guess you don’t really have a choice when it happens though, do you?

    I shall refer back to this if and when I need to!

    AWESOME info…

    •  

      I’m so sorry to hear about your little girl :( What a poor little sweetie! I will be praying for quick healing and please keep me posted on each step of the way, Dani.

  16.  

    I’m glad to have found this thread and to know that the pain my son is experiencing is normal after spica cast removal. Our son (13) had a left hip osteotomy and reduction as well as bilateral hamstring lengthening done and had his cast removed yesterday at 6 1/2 weeks. We were not told he would be in pain so did not bring medication or give him any prior to his appt. our son is disabled (Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy) which makes these type of situations even more difficult since he does not communicate well. How long does this last and do you have any advice on methods to ease the discomfort other than medication, which we are administering.

  17.  

    Oh gosh, Donna, I can’t imagine all of the extra challenges, and I’m so sorry. We absolutely need to spread the word to medicate up before that removal appointment, huh? The acute pain for my son did pass within a few days, but we just did a lot of babying, a lot of Tylenol and a lot of favorite movies/snacks/etc. We were shocked b/c we thought he would be so happy to get it off, but he was actually MORE miserable and had no increased mobility for days…praying for you and keep us posted.

  18.  

    I am reading this as I am sitting in the surgery waiting room waiting for my 4 year old little boy to have his spica cast out on. I also have a 6 week old and a 9 year old boy as well. I am so happy that I found this information and plan on using every bit of it when we get home. His break actually occurred on a vacation while we were 5 hours away from home and we will have to make a very long car ride home once the release him from the children’s hospital. Although I am panicking and praying every moment I have found so much comfort in your story. Thank you!!!!

    •  

      Stacey, I’m so sorry to hear about your little guy! Please know you are in my prayers, especially for this drive home. Always check in anytime with any questions, for support, or whatever–we’re here for you! You aren’t alone in this!

  19.  

    Thank you so much for posting all of these items, including all of the responses. There doens’t seem to be much online about the reality of having a child in a hip spica cast. My 2 yearl old son broke his femur last Thursday and is now in a hip spica cast. He has been (unexpectedly) handling it pretty well. He is still taking Tylenol with Codeine prescribed by the orthopedic doctor at the hospital. I came across your site because I’m looking for activities for him, other than watching TV or playing on the Kindle. He is somewhat upright, but he’s not able to sit at a table or have a tray sit flat on his lap. We’ve started using playdoh and silly putty, but if anyone has suggestions, I will gladly take them. :)

    Also, I’ve noticed on this thread that, for many of the children, it has taken a significant amount of time to begin walking again. Is that usual? When I asked the doctor about it while we were in the hospital, he said that I’d be surprised at how quickly kids heal.

    •  

      So sorry to hear about your son, Erin :( And so glad you checked in. Are you able to lay him on his side or stomach at all if you put a bean bag under him? We did this a lot and then he could play with his cars or whatever on the floor. Also, see this post about setting up and indoor sandbox: http://www.themomoftheyear.net/2011/11/lemons-angels-and-sandboxes.html#.UVwC0JOsiSo
      If the weather was nice, I would prop him up with pillows and blankets and take him out in the wagon. I also would just try to move him from room to room with me as much as I could. This is hard, I know, but I think helped break monotony a bit, even if he was still just laying somewhere…

      As for walking, it did take him over a month. I imagine this is different for every kid. We started to see real improvement when we began therapy, and I wish we had pursued it sooner. The doctor didn’t initially suggest it, but it has been wonderful for us. Doesn’t hurt to check out your options?

      Keep us posted and I hope the next few weeks fly by for you!

  20.  

    Hi my son who will be 2 in 2 weeks has a hip spica on due to a break in his leg
    Just wondering if this has happened to other kids
    Every night since he has had this cast on he has been spewing once he falls asleep at night and not just a few times but a few all night long
    I have been sitting him up and not giving him a bottle while he falls asleep but it don’t matter what I try it still happens
    He has had the cast on for 2 weeks now
    Any ideas

    •  

      Wow, Kellie. That sounds so awful–for him and for you. We didn’t have this experience, but I would definitely talk to your doctor about this. Maybe something with a medication? Ugh, so sorry…

  21.  

    Hello thanks anyway just thought someone might have had the same problem
    He isn’t taking any medication now and only did for the first week it’s coming up to his 3 rd week in the cast and every night it has happened
    He spewed 3 times last night and they weren’t just a little amount
    He seems to be loosing weight and also doesn’t seem to get that much any more
    Thanks any way
    Off to the doctors again to see what they can do to help him

    •  

      Oh goodness, Kellie. Hope the doctors can provide some answers and help. So sorry you guys are going through this and I so hope the little guy starts feeling better so soon.

  22.  

    Thank you for this information, unfortunately we have a spica-casted 22 month old now! We go beanbag chair shopping tomorrow thanks to your great tips.

  23.  

    Thank you so much for this!!!! My 2 year old broke his femur 3 days ago. This has helped tremendously!!!! I am terrified of the next 6 weeks and beyond, reading this has helped put my mind somewhat at ease…..

    •  

      Oh, I’m so sorry, Colleen. I’m so glad anything here was helpful, and please be in touch if you have any questions or just need more support. I will be praying!

  24.  

    Hi, Wish I had read this sooner, my son just got out of cast 2 weeks ago, after being in it 8 weeks. He is crawling everywhere.. I can’t wait to have him back to normal, running, walking and playing. Any tips on helping him with his fear of stepping on it?

  25.  

    My 8 month old is going to be put on a cast. Now my concern is that our drive to and from the children hospital is a 8 hour drive. Any ideas in how or what kind of car seat to use and the day of the surgery does the child stay at the hospital over night? Any suggestion, ideas, or comments will help.

    •  

      Ugh! What long drive, Ana :( You will be in my prayers. My son was in the hospital overnight (for one night) after being put in the cast, but the poor little guy was so drugged and out of it, he really had no idea what was going on. And the hospital should provide a car seat or at least give you information as to how to get the proper one–ask for the social worker and/or physical therapist to help you with this. I think they should even help you get it in the car? Keep me posted and check in as you need to!

    •  

      Mine was in the hospital 2 nights due to pain and he had some PTSD from the accident and was not resting. The hospital should be able to provide a car seat, and what a long drive hope they can figure out something for yall GL and prayers!

  26.  

    Well my little one is 10 days out of his spica cast and is taking his first unassisted steps today!! Walked across our living room several times!! I am one happy mommy to finally be getting my kid back. Praying for all those going through this, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks again for this information its helped us so much!

    •  

      Colleen, thanks so much for the update! And I’m so happy to hear your little guys is doing so well already! That just makes my day and I’m beaming for you :)

  27.  

    I am so happy I found your blog!!! My son broke his femur a week and two days ago. He is a full hip spica cast and it has been so tough! He is very uncomfortable and I feel helpless. I am still giving him Tylenol with codeine at night because he wakes up crying every hour saying his leg and back hurt. His cast is so high up on his chest that it’s very difficult to find a position that takes pressure off his back. The cast digs into his back unless a pillow is placed just above it, but then it puts his back into crazy alignment. I just started putting him on his stomach, but he isn’t to fond of it. He is also very demanding and grumpy, which I don’t blame him for, but it makes for very long days. Luckily my parents have been incredibly helpful! I am also so sad to hear that your son had such a hard time after his cast was removed. I was hoping it would be just a few days of discomfort, so hearing that your son didn’t walk for such a long time afterwards really puts things into perspective. I hope he is back to himself by now! Also just for other parents information, there is a lady who makes special chairs for kids in spica casts. We just ordered it and haven’t used it yet but I am hopeful that it will really improve our little guys next few weeks. The website is called ivy rose spica chairs.

  28.  

    Shannon, those first few days were absolutely the worst. I am praying the pain and the discomfort starts to even out for you soon–I really think it will! And it gets easier too as you start to figure out tricks and ways to handle positioning, etc. better. Keep hanging in there and take it one step at a time–you can deal with the walking and all that junk later. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Smart find with those chairs! And I’m so glad your parents are being helpful…keep us posted and prayers…

  29.  

    Hi again! We are 4 weeks post cast and my little one is doing GREAT! He started walking independently 10 days out and has not slowed down since. His foot is still turned out a bit and he’s got a slight limp as well. His leg that was casted is slightly shorter than the other one, which they are telling me will even out with time. His hip movement is also improving but not quite normal yet, nor is he moving well enough ti run yet. Once your little one got moving how long was it before he was normal again and limp-free so to speak?? I know every kid is diffrent just looking to see how other kids have done post cast. Prayers to all those going through this, it gets better :)

    •  

      Colleen, thanks for the update and checking in again. I’m glad to hear things are going relatively so well! My son had the same thing with one leg being slightly shorted. My son took much longer to walk on his own, so sounds like your little guy is doing great. He still gets therapy (and has been for almost 1.5 yrs. now). This sounds depressing, but if you didn’t know what you were looking for, you would watch the little guy and think he was 100% normal, so he is really doing great. I would say after a couple months, he was really moving around pretty well? And yes, thanks for the reminder to all–this REALLY DOES get better! Yay!

  30.  

    My son is almost 3 and I’m a few days away from his first check to see if it can come off. This article was very helpful. However I’m having trouble keeping the diapers to stick to the cast. What tape did you use to hold the diapers in place? I’m going through a large roll of tape per day

    •  

      Sorry to hear you’re in the situation, Don. We never really had trouble getting the diapers to stick–maybe it’s the summer humidity? Sorry I don’t have an experience with this–would duct tape work? It always seems to hold everything! Keep us posted and hope the check up goes so well!

  31.  

    Omg this is very informative my daughter only have been in the case for 3 days im not so much as going crazy im guessing because I know my daughter is a lil diva bossy so she is being her normal self but it kils me when she says it hurt it hurt she too fractured her femur bone we were in a turnover car accident n she is only 2 but everything u said she has been doing n my dad bought a wagon we just decided we will be home bound for the first 2 wks until her first check up I never thought about the medicine when taking cast off and even not wanting to walk after but thank u so much I will make sure im prepared physically n mentally for that. Im gettin her bean baf this wknd right now she is enjoying the tv she is in a upright position n can lean on pillows she has her own couch covered with pillows blankets sippy cup with straw n toys her tv is right in front so she stays occupied. Thanks again for this post n please pray as I still have a very long way to go

    •  

      Kyara, I will be praying and I’m so glad you found some stuff here that may be useful to you! Please keep me posted and it’s sounds like you are already on your way with so many good ideas to make this yucky situation somewhat tolerable. Stay strong, Mama!

      •  

        my son is 4 years old and broke his femur bone I was told he will be in spica cast 3 months it has just been a week I do drawing and learning activities with him to keep him entertained doing other things than just tv and I switch him positions every 3 to 4 hours. I would like to take him outside in the afternoons but its pretty hot im afraid its to hot for him…tucking in a diaper is a great idea on the good side my son is potty trained..we still have a long journey but I know god is with us and will help us get through this…I heard that his leg will get skinnier after the cast removal and that worries me my son is already a thin boy is this true? and how often and how long due they have to go to therapy for. im on fmla right now but if its a longer run than 3 months I might loose my job..though my son is my everything and his health is the most important to me

        •  

          Joanna, I’m so sorry. I know it’s tough. I think the good news is that after the cast comes off, he will be more mobile and while it will take him a while to get back to himself, you will be able to do more things (like return to work!). I think therapy is different for everyone, but I wouldn’t worry about his leg. Muscle tone will probably be lost at first, but I think kids recoup this pretty quickly? my son’s leg started to “look” normal shortly after cast removal. Please know that I’m praying!

  32.  

    I have read and re-read this post. It just puts things into perspective for me and reminds me that I am not the only person who is living with a toddler in a hip spica cast. Thank you for a wonderful post!

    May I suggest to other parents who are in this situation, a couple of things that have made this a lot easier on a daily basis for us are:

    1. A commode chair. We rented an adult one (without wheels) from the local healthcare store for $20 a month. It has been a total lifesaver because my little guy doesn’t slip off the chair like he does the toilet, and it saves me from having to carry him across the house to get to the bathroom. I just keep it in the living room. This is a link to an example of what one looks like…this is not where we rented ours from.
    http://www.1800wheelchair.ca/product/5178/medpro-versatile-homecare-commode-chair-with-adjustable-height

    2. Thai fisherman pants. Measure the widest part of your child’s cast (probably the knees), the leg length, and order a bunch of them. These made my life a million times easier. On the plus side, if you have a seamstress in your family, they can make a few more pairs in cute fabrics. I ordered the large size for my almost 4 year old.
    http://www.tribalbeach.com/kids-fisherman-pants-p-104.html

  33.  

    Thanks for replying and the prayers seems so long since I wrote this we go for our 2nd check up Monday which they stated they might be taking it off . Her last check up went well they stated its healing great but its healing where her leg could be shorter than the other by centimeters but also said since she is 2 and will be growing for yrs to come it wouldnt look shorter..I have a big concern n I was hoping for answers my daughter is basically walking with the cast on she doesn’t have pain or anything at first it was just crawling now she gets off the couch n walks im terrified but she seems fine she really isn’t putting pressure on her leg she is sliding it and walking on the leg thats okay were anyone else baby doing the same?

    •  

      My son could not walk in his cast b/c it went up so high, but they told us it was fine if he figured out a way to move around in. I know other people have said their kids walked in it. Check with your doctor, but I am thinking this seems normal? Hang in there, Kyara!

  34.  

    Your blog has been a lifesaver!!! My 19 month old is in a hip spica cast (chest down to both toes) & we felt clueless on how we were going to manage. Reading your blog has helped so much! Great tips and advice! The only other thing I’d like to share that has been a huge success is “Cool Cast” (google it!). Since our 19 mo eventually peed down both legs inside cast (trust me, we were just as shocked since we’ve got 3 layers plus pads inside trying to catch urine!) the cool cast literally sucked the moisture right out! Helps keep him cool & dry. I really recommend it!
    Thanks again for the great tips!

    •  

      Stephanie, what an awesome idea! I have never heard of this and thank you so much for sharing this! Prayers for the rest of your son’s time in his cast too…

      •  

        Thank you! Greatly appreciated! Also FYI for anyone reading your blog:
        Don’t double ride down slides! This is how my 19mo old son fractured his femur. He rode down an enclosed spiral slide on his cousins lap (17yr old) and sometime during the ride stuck his leg out. His cousins wt/momentum kept them going and that’s how he got his spiral fracture. The ER doctor at the children’s hospital said slides, monkey bars, trampolines, & abuse are the main ways the leg gets broke in children. Be safe & smart!

  35.  

    Thank you for this helpful advice. The spica cast is very daunting. We are on day 3 for my 22 m.o. Son. Noticing a
    Trend with these crazy toddler boys. Also 9 months pregnant and hoping baby will stay put for as long as possible. We are also moving in two weeks. When it rains it pours. :) This is a very sad situation and hopefully won’t make me a paranoid mom. I’m happy to hear that life does return to normal. Just taking this one day at a time and giving him as much patience as I can muster. Thank you so much!!

    •  

      Oh Laura! My heart hurts for you b/c I know this time is so tough. But no! You will get through this, you will be on the other side of it and no paranoid mama! At first, it will be weird, but trust me–we are now 2 years out from his break, and you will all be playing happily and normally soon, with this well buried behind you. Praying for you and hang in there, Laura!

  36.  

    We are 10 days post spica cast and my 4 year old has taken her first steps (she is VERY determined to twirl as soon as possible). Unfortunately, we are headed back to the Ortho doc today for an emergency x-ray due to extreme pain in her leg. I’m convincing myself that the pain comes from her overdoing it, but short of duct taping her to the couch, I’m not sure how we are going to prevent her from moving.

    I cannot agree more with your blog on well…everything!! If anyone is just starting this journey, they should read this. Everything from the bean bags to Tylenol dosage to behavior is right on the money. I didn’t see this blog until today, but just wanted to give a resounding “AMEN!” :)

    •  

      Aw, thanks, Moriah! And I hope the follow-up appt. went well? Sorry about this pain :(, but congrats on getting through the cast! That’s huge! And I know, duct tape seems to be about the only thing that would work…mass quantities of it, huh? Hang in there, and hope your little sweetie is back twirling before you know it! Thanks for checking in!

  37.  

    Well we are at week 1 of our 2 yr old daughter’s Spica cast.Its going to be a long 8 weeks or so. I Will read and over and try to use your examples and advice. Our daughter was hurt by a falling display in a costume store. which broke her femur. I will start the search for the bean bag chair Immediately. Thanks

    •  

      Sean, I can’t even imagine this being the cause of the break! So crazy, and I’m sorry :( Hopefully some of this info can help a bit–otherwise, hang in there and know that you are in my prayers…

  38.  

    Hi! Thank you so much for your blog. My 2 year old is on day 2 of her spica cast (broken femur) and I feel like I haven’t stopped crying. She is definitely being a trooper but it is difficult. Her cast smells very badly of urine. I blowed it dry and tried baking soda. I cant imagine the odor from this in 6 weeks. Any tips?? I am using sanitary napkins with her diapers but somehow the cast is still getting wet. Is this normal???

    •  

      Carrie, sorry this has taken me so long to get back to you on this. Blame my poor response to comments this past week on sickness, but basically I’m just really sorry. I know what those early days are like. So, I bought those water-free bath wipes things and also started using Febreeze towards the end to cut down on odor. No doctor recommended this, so not sure how okay this is for their skin, but I just couldn’t take the odor any more.

      Also, we found that as his body shifted, muscles deteriorated, etc., we kept having to modify the perfect combo of pads and diapers to keep him try. Little things like shifting the pad a little further back, or forward, or using two pads, or no pads…it was crazy. And I felt like we were sinking our life savings into pads and diapers.

      Also, IT IS NOT YOU. Sounds like you are way on top of this. The whole thing of this cast with toddlers is beastly and it is just impossible to keep it perfectly dry and clean.

      Please feel free to e-mail too if you have any more questions, meredith@themomoftheyear.net, and I promise to be waaay more timely in getting back to you, Carrie! Hang in there and I’ll be praying!

  39.  

    My grandson was just put into one of these casts last night, and I quickly googled and found your article. I sent the link to my daughter and SIL, and they both were immediately. SO ENCOURAGED! Right away she put out a Fb request for a bean bag chair, and several responded. Another mom has lent them their wagon! Even though she is a pediatric nurse,and has, therefore, handled several kids in this condition, there’s NOTHING like hearing what it’s like from a real mom who’s been there, done that. Thank you so much for sharing your blog.

    •  

      Aw, Lisa, thanks for sharing this. It sounds like they have such a good community and I love that she is a nurse so she has that knowledge to help her out. Will be praying that they keep figuring things out and keeping putting this whole yucky situation together piece by piece!

  40.  

    Thank you so much for your blog. My godson goes for surgery on Thursday. My niece and I have been researching and trying to figure out what we can do for him while he is cast. I know it is going to be rough having a 22 month old cast for anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months. He has DDH of the left hip so we are unsure if it will be an open or closed reduction. They live with me so I’m trying to get us all prepared for the changes that are coming our way. Thank you for all for your information. It is great to see so much information from everyone. Prayers to everyone.

  41.  

    Thank you for this blog post! My 21-month-old daughter is in a spica, and we’re 1 week into a 5-week cast. What I’m finding the most distressing is her night tantrums. She wakes up in the middle of the night (some nights, not all) and screams uncontrollably. I know she’s frustrated, but… it’s so stressful. The doctors assure us there’s nothing more to it. Did you experience increased tantrums? Did it improve?

    •  

      Christy, I am sorry. I know this is so hard. For us, the middle of the night waking and the tantrums did let up a bit after a couple of weeks, after he got more used to the cast and the pain lessened. I also found managing the behaviors really difficult (hard to discipline when you couldn’t put them in time out, etc.) Praying it lets up a bit soon and keep us posted. Take care (as much as you can!), Christy.

  42.  

    Thank you so much for your blog. It released some of my anxiety after first googling “spica cast” .You are to be commended for helping others. Again I appreciated your time & effort.

  43.  

    THANK YOU! The tip about giving him some OTC pain meds before the removal will be great.
    Your situation sounds like mine. My newborn was two weeks old when my son fell and had a spiral fracture to his femur. Now he’s in a spica (to the armpits) for 6 weeks, we’re half way through.
    I know it’s been a while, but any tips for keeping him calm during the removal?? My son is terrified of loud noises and doctors…..and b/c he’s so young they can’t give him anything as a sedative. He even cries during the xrays and when the doctor just comes in the room.

    •  

      Oh Jamie, I’m sorry! I know this won’t be fun for you or him. Sorry nothing more solid to suggest than staying focused on the end goal–and maybe take an iPad and his favorite toy/lovey in with you. I know they had to “prep” him a bit and then we had to wait a bit until they actually cut it off, so anything to help distract and comfort will help a little. Praying for you and congrats on getting through so much of this ordeal already!

  44.  

    First off, thank you so much for your helpful information! My 26 month old just got a serious spiral femur fracture on August 2nd while simply playing in a bouncy house. After a quick run to the local ER and being transferred to a children’s hospital where we were admitted, I felt frantic. But it wasn’t until after he came out of surgery on Sunday afternoon and I saw a bright blue SPICA cast from chest to tip of toes with a bar between ankles that I really freaked. Then the Dr told us it would be on for at least 8 weeks :-( We are now almost one week into it and my little one is being a real trooper. One of his favorite things is an auto mechanics creeper that we pad with pillows and let him use his arms to get around the house (we have hard wood floors). It gives him great independence and allows us to get a moment of sanity! The bean bags of multiple sizes are a blessing as well and a wide stroller that we can recline with pillows to pad! I’m hoping that the next 7 weeks scurry by but until then … we survive and make the best of it! Again thanks so much!
    ~ Heather

    •  

      Heather, I’m so sorry! What a mess, I know and so hard. The creeper is a brilliant idea, and you will keep thinking of more tricks to get you through. Prayers in the meantime and YOU CAN DO THIS!

  45.  

    Our daughter ( 2.5 ) broke her femur last week. So, we are still trying to figure it all out. We were looking around for info and tips so thank you so much for this Blog! I saw the question about keeping them calm during removal. Our hospital had an amazing women on staff and it was her job to distract. They had to “fix” a mistake to our daughter’s cast with the saw. They put huge sound proof ear phones/ muffs on her and we held up a towel so she couldn’t see and they played a game blowing bubbles and she had to pop them and they also had a bubble popping game on an iPad. These measures really helped what could have been a traumatic situation. GOOD LUCK AND PRAYERS TOO ALL !

    •  

      Oh my goodness! The “fix” sounds so traumatic, but you handled it so well with the bubbles. Keep hanging in–I know it’s so rough. And yes, prayers, so many prayers, Dawn!

  46.  

    thank you soooo much ,whole Google didn,t provide that much advices as your post did I am writting after I,ve just calmed my 2 year old screaming at night.. he is eight days wearing spica cast , 5 more weeks to go… if you have experience can yo tell me if me moving him and carrying around the house is causing him bone pain? can I happen, that I can cause bone movement by accident or spica cast is usually tough enough? Nowhere I can find an answer if I can move him around or he should just lie down calm on his back? how long after bone placements it can cause pain?

    •  

      Sabina, so sorry, b/c I know this is such a tough time! From what I understand, the cast should protect from the bone moving, but I know my son was in significant pain for about 2 weeks. I would carry him from room to room, but he largely didn’t move around much on his own b/c I think he felt so slugglish and was in so much pain. Talk to your doctor, but I know it was a really painful thing for us. Praying for you, Sabina!

  47.  

    We are too experiencing the pain of a hip spica cast. It sure is tough on the parents and child. Our little boy (4) had his broken at daycare/pre-k. Ya, a spiral fracture. :(
    Week 1 of 6 down and trying to figure out the eating challenge and the school work challenge. Too many emotions of having to send him back there.

    •  

      Oh Jennifer, what a mess. I am so sorry and know this is so hard–emotionally and otherwise. You are strong and hanging in there! Go you for acing week one and praying you can keep sorting stuff out…

  48.  

    Another thank you for your story….I think the fact that so many of us keep finding it even after all this time says something about the amount of useful information that is out there!! I sent you an email as I’m struggling to find answers about what to expect after. I’ll post here too in case someone else can possibly help me. We are a week post cast (was on for 4 weeks after breaking his femur on his 2nd birthday…yay…happy birthday little man!) He is doing well, crawling, bum scooting, kneeling pulling up on the couch etc, but he will not put his foot flat. I don’t just mean won’t put weight on it, but he will only let his tip toes touch the floor. Is this normal in your experiences? I just want to make sure that it is and that there isn’t something else wrong that was missed.

    Thanks so much everyone and good luck to us all!!

    •  

      Mandie, we did chat over e-mail, but I am just copying my response in case it is helpful to others. Happy birthday indeed to your little guy! ;)
      “I think that’s awesome that he is already moving around so much! My son didn’t do this for at least a month! My major regret is that I didn’t immediately pursue PT. Our doctor told us he wouldn’t need it and I listened–I should not have. He did need it and just finished 2.5 yrs. of it (and is now totally fine). We went through our county’s intermediate unit, so they came to our house and we never paid a dime.

      It sounds like your son is doing far better than mine (maybe it’s just a little hesitation or need to build that muscle back up?), but YOU are his mom and you know your son–if you have any concerns, I don’t think it hurts to at least explore PT options?

      Let me know how you make out–and again, it REALLY sounds like you guys are doing well. Go you for getting through the worst part!!”

    •  

      Hi

      Just thought I would share our post cast story. Our son Tom (2 yrs) had his cast off on 30 September. He has just started walking unaided yesterday 13th October….13 days after cast came off. Proud mummy right here. But I wanted to let you know that he also wouldn’t flatten out his foot. When he would stand he would stand on tippy toes. He only flattened it out like 2 days ago so your son walking on tippy toes is perfectly normal as far as I can tell. We did no physical therapy at all. We just let him work it our on his own. Tom is not back to full on running yet but he is walking unaided if a little wobbly but he is getting better by the minute.

      Thanks for this blog and good luck!!

  49.  

    Hi there. Just another momma stopping by to say thank you for your words of wisdom and experience. My four year old son broke his femur on sept 11, then spent a very traumatic week in skeletal traction. He was then casted, and at his 2 week follow up the ortho found that his femur had shifted, so he had to go in for surgery to be reset and recanted. We are now going on six weeks, and we have been told his cast would be on for anywhere from 8-12 weeks. This has been hard, but I can honestly say that it has gotten easier as the days pass. The first week or so I was just sure that there was no way I could competently care for someone in a spica cast – but…I was wrong again. Our next appointment is 11/12, I’m pretty nervous, but hoping that it will go smoothly, and hey! Maybe that big ol’ cast will be gone by thanksgiving! I do have a question for you, about removal. From reading I see that it took your son a while to begin walking, which I am expecting. But was he able to bend his leg immediately? It’s weird – I am a planner – and I am trying to figure out if he will be comfortable sitting in his normal car seat, or if I should count on using the harness a little longer.

    •  

      Hey Bekah, wow! You have been through so much. I’m not sure about the car seat, but my son DEFINITELY could not bend his leg post-surgery. His muscles had completely atrophied and his pain was immense. Talk to your doctor, but I really wish I had thought to pre-dose him with Advil before cast removal–he began crying in pain as soon as they took it off. I’m sure every situation is very different, but this was ours…I love your perspective and yes, prayers for booting that thing by Turkey Day!

    •  

      I remember my son was only two at the time but he couldn’t sit by himself for like 3 days. He had to be propped up against the couch. I couldn’t sit him in the bath tub, it hurt him too much. And I kept him in the car seat we borrowed from the hospital for another week just because his leg rested at the wide-spread angle. But, he just had to regain his confidence.

      •  

        Caitlin, thanks for sharing your experience! Yes, it definitely felt like at first after the cast came off, there was no real difference…

        •  

          Thank you both for your insight. We are in the process of moving about an hour away (cause life wasn’t crazy enough right now…), so I was thinking of bringing his normal car seat to his appointment since our travel time is increased, but I think I will just use the harness even if they do decide the cast can come off. Thanks again!!

  50.  

    Thank you so much for posting all of this info! My son broke his femur this past Sunday (5 days ago). Do you remember how long the pain lasted? I’m wondering how long to expect before we can move him around more to make him more comfortable. He doesn’t want to be moved much yet and I’m worried about getting him off his back to clean him better and give his back a break! Thanks for any info you can recall!

    •  

      Oh Kerri! So hard, I know. I would say the bulk of his pain was for the first 2 weeks–he didn’t move around much at all and I could tell he felt terrible. We did necessary stuff like bathing and changing him. I would also try to shift him around in a different position (on his side, propped up with pillows, etc.), but I let him basically just chill and watch DVDs the first couple of weeks. He felt so miserable, didn’t want to do anything else and we were told not to move him around too much because any falls or jolting movements at first wouldn’t be good. Does this help at all? Praying for you guys…

  51.  

    Thank you so much for your post! Such a relief to know I’m not the only mom completely clueless…. As a PEDIATRIC NURSE for 3 years and NURSE for a large Family Practice, I thought “oh I got this. We’ll figure it out.” Yeah Right! Boy was I ever wrong!!! COMPLETE SHOCK! I didn’t even know where to start. Jace, my 3 yo son, fractured his right femur completely in half on Monday Oct. 27 and surgery was done to put in 2 rods to hold it in place for the next 6-8 months. He is also has the dreaded Spica cast for 6-8 weeks. The worst of all is the urine in the cast. My son developed a “diaper rash” with open lesions just 2 weeks in. This has been the worst. And the SLEEPLESS NIGHTS!!!! Ugh!! When does this end???? He’s driving me nuts!!! It is just like you said…. like a newborn but so so much louder!!! Thankfully I am on FMLA until all this is over, so sleep isn’t so huge right now. Just wondering when you finally started getting some rest?!?!?

    •  

      Oh Samantha! I’m so sorry and know this is so very hard. Hopefully this is some encouragement because while the journey was far from over for us at 2 wks., things really did start to turn at that point–namely his pain and the sleeping got better. And I am sure you have tried all these tricks, but we used a warm hair dryer often to try and dry stuff out b/c I know, it is impossible to keep the urine away from the cast. Also, I’m sure you read my post, but we made an art form of shifting sanitary pads and diapers all around for weeks before found the best combo–and then we still used waterless bathing wipes and Febreeze. It’s terrible, I know. Praying for you and hope he can start sleeping more so you can!

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