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ZipCast

easy off, easy back on
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Recent events in which an Arctic Cat impacted a cleverly-disguised snowy pothole under low-light, high-speed conditions required me, for the first time in over half a century, to sport a cast over particularly nasty oblique compression breaks of my radius and ulna.

Unfortunately, a previous diagnosis led me to be so severely claustrophobic that I ended up stripping naked at 3 AM and standing outside in the snow, wearing nothing but the cast, in order to 'breathe'. Not ideal to heal the bones only to succumb to pneumonia, or a head injury from a flail-and-fall on the ice.

The doc and I agreed that the neighbours didn't need to see that, and so the cast was removed after only a week. A relatively flimsy removable splint brace in place of the cast was the best option. The brace reminds me to stop using the arm for lifting (beer), but it does not prevent slight twists in my sleep, which then wake me up (not screaming... not anymore).

A better option would obviously be a cast with a zipper (and hinges*). A nice heavy-duty zipper as commonly found on a skidoo suit circa 1970 would work for this application. Instead of winding the plaster or fibreglass around the arm, strips would need to go lengthwise, so that the zipper could be installed in the cast edges along the top of the arm, ending at the thumb. Unzip, scratch the arm, gently wash it, let it 'breathe', then rezip. Ideal compliance, less chance of secondary fungal or staph infections, better healing.

*[MB]'s Betterfly Hinges recommended, using blunt plastic screws to embed in the cast.

Sgt Teacup, Mar 02 2021

https://www.dailyma...ke-alternative.html [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Mar 03 2021]

https://www.graylin...ppered-wrist-splint [a1, Mar 03 2021]

[link]






       Oh.   

       I was hoping for a cast, fashioned entirely from zip ties.
UnaBubba, Mar 03 2021
  

       And I was thinking of the Lempel-Ziv compression algorithm, but this is good too. [+]
pertinax, Mar 03 2021
  

       LZ77 or LZ78, [pertinax]?
UnaBubba, Mar 03 2021
  

       I'm surprised there isn't some version of this. I had a cast on my foot/ankle for a relatively minor broken metatarsel. Me being young and taking advantage of the fact I couldn't drive with a non-flexible ankle, I took advantage of the time off and went mountain biking for a few days a week, the thing was a public health hazard after a few weeks, it would have been great to be able to wash behind it.   

       I reckon you could use the existing medical imaging, an MRI for example, to inform a 3D model to 3D print a hinged plastic cast. Something that size might take a while though.   

       //slight twists in my sleep,//   

       I managed to break both radius & ulna, courtesy of a clumsy motorist... instead of a cast, they pulled it straight* and bolted it back together with stainless steel. I could use it more or less OK the next morning. The problem is, the two bones clearly aren't EXACTLY the same length anymore. So, while bending my elbow at a specific level of wrist twist, the elbow jams, hurts like hell, watch out for that.   

       *before the drugs, the bastards
bs0u0155, Mar 03 2021
  

       [bs0u0155]; 3D-printed casts are a Thing, although not WKTE yet. Adding hinges would be almost a trivial exercise (assuming they were strong enough). I would think 3 or 4 clamps (ratchets like ski boots) would be better than a zip.
neutrinos_shadow, Mar 03 2021
  

       //I would think 3 or 4 clamps (ratchets like ski boots)//   

       You'd need the variable range to compensate for the inevitable swelling.
bs0u0155, Mar 03 2021
  

       //LZ77 or LZ78//   

       Umm, yes; almost certainly.
pertinax, Mar 03 2021
  

       For an arm, 500mm is a big 3D print. Would be good though.   

       A voronoi plaster hole pattern would be cool.
wjt, Mar 03 2021
  

       That's a VERY old compression format, [pertinax].
UnaBubba, Mar 03 2021
  

       {Adjusts hearing aid} Eh? What?
pertinax, Mar 03 2021
  

       Indeed.
UnaBubba, Mar 03 2021
  

       There is a new cast almost exactly as this one is described.
Give me a minute.
  

       Crap. It's a brand new product... maybe even a kickstarter. You zip it on and then harden it under UV light and is removable. This is the closest I could find. [link]   

       [2fries] that is an acceptable substitute for the regular plaster or fibreglass cast, yes, but it still needs to be destroyed to be removed. I'm looking for a more secure on-and-off alternative to the cloth-with-steel-shank brace--perhaps Cast21 with interlocking pieces in a zipper-like arrangement and [n_s]'s hinges.   

       //(ratchets like ski boots) would be better than a zip//   

       No they would not.   

       Okay, well maybe.   

       However, it gives me the heebiejeebies due to similarity to the brace's 3 laces which 'ratchet' around the arm, coming to a point at a wide strip of velcro so durable that it twists the arm when disengaging for repositioning. Ouch.   

       Come to think of it, a true ZipCast could have a zipper installed on both sides; one to zip open, and one to act as hinge.
Sgt Teacup, Mar 03 2021
  

       The zipper is a good idea but sort of defeats the ease of casting which can be laid down around the break. Casting is the best solution for all forms of human and the common positions of breaks.   

       A new method of casting with the zipper is needed.
wjt, Mar 06 2021
  

       //A new method of casting with the zipper is needed//   

       Hence the idea.
Sgt Teacup, Mar 06 2021
  

       Upon review of comments and links, I see that [a1] has discovered that this is idea is baked, but certainly not WKTE by the people you would think would be in the know: Canadian ER docs and orthopedic surgeons, for example. After all, we are not the post-T***p UnTied States of Anarchy.   

       Is this another 3-slice Toaster only-in-Europe problem? Google is really creating tremendous silos in that the 3-slice toaster and this zippered cast DO NOT show up on a search from central Canuckistan IP address, not even 5 pages deep, which is further than most ordinary mortals go.
Sgt Teacup, Mar 06 2021
  

       Don't they already have ski boot style "casts" you can take off & put back on?   

       Could have sworn I've already seen one of those wandering about.   

       But I may just have been dreaming again.
Skewed, Mar 06 2021
  

       //A new method of casting with the zipper is needed// All new zipper idea but no explanation of how to place in the cast at treatment time, is what I meant.
wjt, Mar 07 2021
  

       Instead of a zipper, why not a Velcro strap that is wrapped around the cast in a spiral pattern once the cast pieces are optimally placed? Gives the adjustability requested for swelling, etc.
AusCan531, Mar 08 2021
  

       [AusCan], the brace* has three Velcro™ straps that hold it in place and allow for adjustment as swelling grows or subsides. The problem is the torque on the still-mostly-broken arm when adjusting the straps: sskkkrriiippp---OwWww!!   

       A zipper down the length of the arm would allow for release and 'breathing' (in the case of swelling or PTSD confinement issues): zzziiiip--Ahhh.   

       A zipper on both the dorsal and ventral (or proximal and distal?) sides of the arm, affixed by lengthwise strips of fibreglass or plaster, would solve for velcro torque, pressure sores and/or staph infections, while retaining strength and patient compliance.   

       [wjt], interesting application: use the break(s) as seed points to generate individual Voronoi pattern 3D print casts. Maximum stability!   

       *Braces retain traces of their provenance in a backyard shop where a piece of scrap metal bent in a homemade forge was covered with materials reclaimed from old goalie pads.
Sgt Teacup, Mar 08 2021
  
      
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