Monday, February 17, 2014

Cast Decoration Ideas

On December 13th, 2013, I had the joys of undergoing ankle surgery.  Basically, my doctor went in to clean out all the scar tissue that has built up since my last surgery (in November of 2011).  In addition, he also tightened up my ankle ligament and added stabilizers to improve its stability.

Funny thing is, when I woke up from the surgery, I guess I wasn't ready to talk…but I was FREEZING.  Instead of verbally telling the nurses that I was cold, I caught myself repetitively fingerspelling "cold".   I'm not sure that they ever took notice to my communication through sign language, but I was eventually able to speak again and received two extra blankets from the nurse.

Since then I've had a splint, a cast, a walking cast, a boot, and am now switching from the boot to my shoe (with the help of a brace for 3 months).  I've used a knee caddy, a pair of crutches, and am now in physical therapy.  Yesterday, for the first time, I even drove across town.  My mom had to drive us back home…but hey, I can't complain!  Progress is progress!!

Let's face it.  Ankle surgery isn't fun.  At all.  You're "knocked off" your feet, unable to drive or walk.  You temporarily loose your independence as you learn to rely on others to help you from the basics of eating food, to getting in and out of the shower, to driving you to school or to meet a friend.

Since ankle surgery is naturally pretty lame (did you catch that pun??), I decided to try and have at least a little bit of fun during the recovery process.  Pulling into my sister's (Amanda Howard) creativity, and my own, we had fun decorating my two casts.  (We also tried to google ideas and look some up on Pinterest, but surprisingly there are not many out there in the digital world!)

Again, I started with an ugly, average splint....But then my 3-year-old cousin, Rayna, saw the ugly splint and with wide excited eyes she exclaimed, "It's BEAUTIFUL!!"  She loved the splint, so I wanted to impress her with the casts.  We didn't really decorate the splint - but two teenagers from church had fun adding a ton of hashtags and signatures to it for me.

Rayna's signature.

#anklesurgery #ouch! #stupidcurb
#painful #notfun #icannotwalk

When it was time to get my casts, I asked Rayna, "Hey kiddo - what color cast should I get??  Pink, purple, or blue?"  I really wanted to get blue, so don't ask me why I asked a 3-year-old child her opinion…especially when I know what her favorite colors are.  Her request??  Pink!  Here's what we came up with for decorations that still allowed space for others to sign:

My brother-in-law, Will, also offered a helping hand!

This cast, surprisingly, actually took about 4 hours to create
between the designing and adding of the jewels.  Repair work
had to be done throughout the two weeks I had it on as
some of the jewels would pop off from wear-and-tear, or from
the putting on or taking off the cast protecter for showers.

Ever kid likes shiny and sparkly things, right??

Butterflies and their trails.

What can I say?  I got bored in the DMV.

This is signature is from my oral surgeon who signed
my cast while I was under anesthesia.  A fun surprise!

When I went back for a follow-up appointment with my podiatrist and to get a new cast, all the nurses came out to look at my cast in excitement.  I didn't expect such a reaction from the workers at the hospital (or even the reaction of an occasional stranger at a store), but I am glad others enjoyed it just as much as I did!!

Next, Rayna requested for me to have a purple walking cast.  To quote her in her decision making process, "Pink and purple are my favorite colors!"

I promise you I had at least three people ask me about the
zipper on my cast.  One person even asked me, "Does it really
unzip??  Do you get to take your cast off at night?  Lucky you!"

In memory of the tic-tac-toe board on my last cast.
This is also a chalkboard.

For my passion of ASL!  This is the sign for, "I love you."

A random guy at my college asked me if he could sign my cast.
Knowing I had plenty of space on the back, I told him "Sure?  Why not?"
Little did I know, he was planning to take up the WHOLE back of my
cast - the only space I had for everyone to sign.  After I realized what he
did, I text messaged my sister and said, "COVER IT!!"  And she did.
Isn't she great??

During the first week of school many people asked me, "What happened?"
This was the simplest way I could think of to explain to a mass
audience with the same question as to why I was wearing a cast.
(As you can tell, after a week or so, my decorations started having problems.)

My sister crocheted this sock 11 years ago when I broke
my leg.  I was amazed that it still fit my foot, and that I was
able to find it!!  It was super helpful in keeping my toes warm.

The chalkboard was a hit!!

I think my favorite addition to the cast was Rayna's sweet
bandaid.  Currently she is a, "doctor for toys", and was a little 

shy at the idea of treating an actual human.  :-)
(Again, the cast decorations were having problems after a while!  At this point
the butterfly left-overs pretty looked like a bug that hit a windshield on a car…)
Towards the end of my time with this cast, we (as in just my sister…ha!)
 did do some touch-ups to fix the broken and worn-out parts.

When it was time to get the purple cast off, the hospital staff was impressed once again.  The nurse who was removing, however, it looked at it with a disgusted look and asked with a scrunched nose, "What is all of this??"  I guess he was having a bad day…but it's alright that he didn't like it…the decorations were meant mostly for Rayna's enjoyment, and my own.

Oh, and here are some photos of my sweet ride that I decked out with animals, a basket, and at one point a horn (the horn fell off, sadly):

Rayna and I decided that the elephant is named "Mr. Blueberry"
and the giraffe is "Mr. Grape".

Rayna loves taking a ride on the scooter!  And she
loves it even more when Mr. Bear joins in on the fun!

Have you ever had fun decorating a cast??  Share your ideas!!

The Travelin' (and temporarily immobile) chick,

PS: Although I am thankful to be in matching shoes again and that I am starting to walk again, I have to admit that I am starting to miss my chalkboard on the cast!!


  1. I am so glad to read all this. You see, in about 2 weeks I am having left ankle surgery. I have a stress fracture and a torn ligament. Doc says it is "not quick surgery" but he plans to do it at the outpatient surgery center. I wilk be out of action on a knee walker for 6 weeks and then have some therapy. I am nervous abiut it, but I don't want to be in a boot again all summer. I am not sure if all the details . But I may reach out for moral support. Thanks again. Jackie

    1. Truthfully, I think I underestimated my surgery. I knew they'd be doing work, but I thought I'd be back at work and behind the wheel by now. I do have to admit though: Everyone was telling me that I was having a LOT of work done, and I would respond with, "Eh. Not too much. I'll be back to my normal sooner than later."…and I insisted to my boss I'd be back sooner than later (it's a standing job, working with kids - and I could tell my boss was a little doubtful regardless of my insisting). It wasn't until recently, once I started back at school with 18 units, that I realized how much work had truly been done. Starting back, I was exhausted and worn and the reality hit. I guess I should have listened beforehand! But I will say, all the little moments of progress can go a LONG way and can be a major highlight any day and week!! You just have to learn to celebrate the progress, whether it be big or small, in the slow process of healing…while you allow yourself to take the time TO heal.

      Anyways, keep me updated on your surgery and how things are progressing!! I'm sure things will go great, but I will be praying - and if I can be any source of moral support, let me know! :-)

    2. omg, i just went through the same thing. I told my boss I was sure I'd be back after a month. Here I sit, 4 months later, still in a cast, unable to drive to get back to work. My boss had the same reaction as yours.

  2. wow very nice plastercast pictures mmmmmmmm,and i like your cute nice toes xo .

  3. my cast is fully purple and i wanted to decorate it but i don't know any colors that you can see on you know any colors?

    1. I'd love to know what you ended up doing! I'm sorry for my delay. For future reference, you can always use a silver Sharpie. :-)

  4. The pink cast and the purple cast were very nice decorated.Has your ankle tottaly healed?Hope you feel better and dont hav any pain.

    1. Hey! Thank you so much! My ankle surgery actually takes up to a year and a half to heal from. It's currently October, so I still have a few months to be at my 100% - but I can't complain! I can drive, walk, and get around so much easier - and I'm out of my casts and boots! :-)

    2. It seems that you broke your ankle very bad.Was this the first time you broke your ankle?Best wishes and take care.

    3. I first broke it in 2009...But my first injury to the ankle was a bad sprain in the 4th grade, and then a bike accident in the 6th. Good times! ;-)

  5. So how did you do the chalkboard? glue it on, or paint it on?

    1. We used chalkboard paint on a piece of cardboard and then hot glued it on. Hope this helps! :-)

  6. I am getting my cast next week, I'm a picky person so I'm just gonna leave it plain, cause I know if I decorate it I'll change my mind. Lol. I have(I forget the actual name) a compression fracture. Its very rare. It took them a month to figure it out, and now I need a cast for six weeks, and possibly surgery. Do you have any tips?

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  9. It looks painful. But you really did survive the gloomy days with fun. You can use walking stick to walk a bit. At early stage of healing, you certainly need support of these items so that broken leg do not face so much pressure all on a sudden.

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  16. Sure you are fully healed now, I must say your toes are immaculate, must have taken some caring for despite the pain and hardship.