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Can you choose the color of your cast?

Can you choose the color of your cast?

When you break a bone and need a cast, often the first question that comes to mind is: can I choose the color of my cast? The short answer is yes, you typically can pick the color of your cast from a selection of color options provided by your doctor. However, there are some factors that may limit your color choices or require a specific cast color for medical reasons.

What are casts made of?

Most casts today are made from fiberglass or plaster. Fiberglass casts come in a variety of colorful woven fabrics that can be cut and formed to fit your injury. The fiberglass material is soaked in water to activate the hardening agents before being wrapped around the injured limb. Plaster casts use a cotton or synthetic fabric wrapping that is soaked in wet plaster before application. The plaster hardens as it dries around the limb.

Why can you choose cast colors?

There are several reasons why you can typically choose from a selection of cast colors:

  • Fiberglass and plaster casts use fabric coverings that come in different colors. The doctor simply selects the color you want when preparing the cast.
  • Allowing color choice gives patients some control and individuality over their injury treatment.
  • Brightly colored casts can improve morale and outlook during the healing process.
  • Children especially appreciate being able to pick fun and vibrant cast colors.
  • There is no medical reason to restrict cast color choice in most cases.

So for purely psychological and emotional reasons, doctors aim to accommodate requests for specific cast colors when possible.

What cast color options are available?

Most orthopedic doctors stock a standard selection of cast color options including:

Cast Color Color Tones
White Bright white, off-white, beige
Black Jet black, dark gray
Blue Light blue, royal blue, dark blue
Red Bright red, maroon, pink
Green Light green, emerald, dark green
Purple Lavender, plum, violet
Yellow Pale yellow, gold
Orange Peach, coral, bright orange
Pink Light pink, fuchsia

Some offices may only stock the core colors like white, black, blue, and red. Others will offer more variety including neon and pastel shades.

Are there any limitations on cast color?

While you typically have a choice in cast color, there are some situations where your options may be limited or a specific color will be required:

  • If you have an allergy or sensitivity to certain dyes used in cast fabric, your choices may be restricted.
  • For some injuries like broken toes or fingers, only smaller pre-made casts are used which limits color selection.
  • Insurance may only cover the cost of standard color casts.
  • For follow-up x-rays, your doctor may request you switch to a white cast for optimum image clarity.
  • Brightly colored casts can get dirty and stained more quickly than neutral colors.
  • Teenagers and adults often prefer black, gray or blue casts over very bright colors.

Discuss any limitations or preferences with your doctor when choosing a cast color.

Can you customize or decorate your cast?

Beyond just choosing a stock cast color, many patients enjoy customizing their cast even further through decoration. Some options include:

  • Having friends sign and leave messages on your cast.
  • Adding stickers, glitter, ribbons, or appliques.
  • Painting creative designs with acrylic paint pens.
  • Wrapping the cast with colorful duct tape.

However, there are a few safety precautions to keep in mind when decorating your cast:

  • Only use water-based markers and decorations that can be easily removed with water. Avoid permanent markers.
  • Decorate only the outer surface of the cast, not the inner lining next to your skin.
  • Avoid any materials that could irritate your skin if they seep underneath the cast.
  • Do not wrap anything fully around the cast circumference which could cause swelling.
  • Ask your doctor before decorating if you have any skin allergies or sensitivities.

Choosing cast colors for children

Children are often excited by the prospect of having a bright, colorful cast and being able to show it off to their friends. Here are some tips for choosing cast colors for kids:

  • Younger children tend to prefer primary colors – red, blue, green, purple.
  • Involve the child in picking their cast color to give them a sense of ownership.
  • Bright neon casts are a popular choice for an eye-catching look.
  • Girls may enjoy pastel colors like pink, lavender or light blue.
  • Kids often like choosing colors to match their favorite sports team, superhero, animal, food, etc.
  • Glittery or multi-colored patterned casts are fun for girls and boys.
  • Stick with stain-resistant colors for active kids – darker blues, reds, greens.

Cast color precautions

While cast colors give you some creative freedom, there are a few medical precautions regarding cast changes or allergic reactions:

  • Switching cast colors when getting a new cast can increase the risk of a fiberglass or plaster allergy. Stick with the same color when possible.
  • Monitor for any redness, itching, or rash which may indicate an allergic reaction to dyes used in cast coloration.
  • Pale skin underneath a colored cast may take on a stained appearance from dyes, especially with darker colors.
  • Avoid bright colors if you have light-sensitive migraines or epilepsy.
  • Wash any decorative pens, markers or paints completely off the skin after cast removal to avoid skin irritation.


Overall, being able to choose the color of your cast gives patients a fun way to express their personality and take ownership of the healing process. Doctors aim to be accommodating of patient preferences. But some limitations may apply depending on medical factors, availability of color options, or insurance coverage of decorative casts. With some creative thinking and safety precautions, you can use cast colors and decorations to make the best of your recovery experience.