Today’s conventional orthopedic cast dates back to the 1850s. Although minor improvements have been made over the years, casts have remained essentially the same: a combination of cloth and plaster that, once hardened, encases a limb at 360 degrees in order to immobilize that limb and give the bone time to heal.
Two main problems arise from this method. Firstly, encasement leads to little breathability, trapping sweat, bacteria, and heat, which often leads to discomfort, itchiness, odor, and greater chances of infection and soft tissue damage.
Secondly, traditional casts are permeable. Because of this, patients cannot wash affected areas since doing so will damage the structure of the cast and skin. As many clinicians know, casts often end up getting wet anyway which leads to more recasts and more office visits.