Your child has been placed in a Petrie cast to keep the ball of the femur (the thigh bone) in the hip socket. Your child will adjust to the position shortly and resume many normal activities.
Your support in helping your child adjust is very important. If your son or daughter had surgical release of some of the tight structures about the hip, you may see some swelling near the groin area, or private parts. If the swelling becomes worse or does not decrease after one week, call your child's doctor.
Caring for Your Child's Cast
- Keep the cast dry and clean. If the cast is damp, you may use a hair dryer set on the cool setting and blow under the cast. Never use a warm hair dryer as it may burn your child's skin.
- Change your child's position every two hours during waking hours to help prevent pressure sores from developing as well as help with circulation and lung functioning. The bar between your child's casted legs may be used to help when turning him / her from front to back. Pressure sores may develop on the child’s back, buttocks, behind the heels or anywhere in the cast. If your child complains of pain in the cast, please notify your doctor’s office immediately.
- Place a pillow under the upper thigh portion of the cast when positioning your child on their belly.
- When positioning patient for sleeping, lie them on their belly with a pillow under the upper thigh portion of the cast and under the chest. While on their belly, check the skin under the edges of the cast for any signs of redness or drainage.
- You may sponge bathe your child with a moist washcloth, being sure to keep the cast dry at all times.
- Your child's nurse will also show you how to petal the cast with moleskin to reduce irritation of the cast edges.
Your child will need to follow the doctor's activity recommendations for the best healing to take place. Your doctor may recommend:
Home Medical Equipment
Medical equipment you may need at home to help care for your child includes:
- Hospital bed with trapeze
- Bedpan / urinal
Ask your child's doctor or nurse to suggest a home medical equipment company for your use.
Transporting Your Child
Your child should always wear restraints while riding in a vehicle. If your present method of restraint will not work with your child's cast, there are special needs restraints available for rental. Ask your nurse about rental options.
Your child's nurse will help you find the safest restraint to use. The nurse will provide instruction and help you complete paperwork for the rental.
The restraint used may be one of the following:
- Shoulder / lap restraint
- E-Z-ON Vest
- Car seat
- Snug Seat Spelcast car seat
Removal of Cast
When it is time to remove the Petrie cast, your child may need to stay in the hospital for a few days for removal, physical therapy and whirlpool.
Some children may have muscle spasms after the cast is removed, while other children may have pain due to stiffness of the knees and ankles. If your child is in the hospital, traction may be applied for comfort.
When your child has achieved sufficient motion of the legs, he or she will continue with therapy at home or by outpatient physical therapy.