After weeks of wearing a cast, your foot is likely to feel a little strange when it comes off. Apart from looking a bit pale and wrinkled, your foot may also be swollen and a bit stiff. But once the cast is off, your foot will feel lighter and easier to manoeuvre. But just because the cast is finally off doesnt mean you can just pick up where you left off. There are a few things you should do first to make your transition back to normal life as easy as possible.
The first thing to note is that the skin that was under the cast will be a lot more sensitive than usual, so you should be particularly gentle with it for the first few days. This includes resisting the urge to scratch, as tempting as it may be, as this can easily damage the skin, break it, and put you at risk of developing an infection. For the first few days, you should give yourself a warm (not hot) foot bath twice a day for about 20 minutes, very gently patting yourself dry with a towel afterwards.
If the skin on your foot appears red, you can also wrap it in a towel soaked in cold water for about five minutes. Once the foot is completely dry, you should apply moisturiser to the affected area. Be sure to use an unscented moisturiser, as the scented ones could contain ingredients that will irritate your skin.
You may notice that the hair on the leg that was covered appears thicker and darker than the hair on your other leg. This is perfectly normal, and will disappear naturally as the hairs experience a greater amount of friction than they did in the cast. If you want to shave your legs however, you should wait until the skin no longer feels sensitive, which usually takes at least 3 days. Shaving before this makes it very likely that you will cut your skin, worse than usual, and greatly increases your risk of infection.
No matter the extent of your injury, your foot will feel weaker and more sensitive than usual after spending a few weeks in a cast. This means returning to normal levels of activity gradually, taking slow, easy steps at first, and supporting yourself whenever possible. As time goes on, begin putting more and more weight on the injured foot, until you begin to feel improvement.
Finally, you should do some foot exercises about four times a day, to help reduce any pain or stiffness felt. Fortunately, there are lots of simple exercises you can do yourself to help this process along. The first is to curl your toes as tightly as possible, and then to stretch them out as far as possible, holding each position for a few seconds. Another option is to point your toes out like a ballerina, rotate the foot ten times clockwise, and then ten times anticlockwise. To really give your feet a stretch, sit down with one leg fully extended. Get a piece of cloth such as a scarf or bandana, hook it around the ball of your foot, and pull back with both hands so the top of your toes point back towards you. Try to hold this for at least 10 seconds.
As exciting as it is to finally get your cast off, the last thing you want now is another foot problem. You may be tempted to resume your normal life as soon as possible, but your foot will be a little more sensitive and vulnerable than usual, so take it slow, follow the steps laid out above, and you should be able to get back to normal in no time.