While a mud cast may not sound like the most effective tool for supporting a broken bone, it certainly beats the alternative of nothing. If you don't have access to plaster for a real cast, the methods outlined below will do wonders to help you out of a bad situation.
1. Find Some Clay
Mud with high clay content is ideal for this cast technique. Check out river banks and other wet areas for clay that is moist and ready to go. You’ll need about one quart of clay-rich mud for a forearm cast.
2. Wrap the Limb
Rolled gauze is a great medical item, but any cloth will work for the initial limb padding. Wrap strips of cloth around the injured limb and add a few sticks for stabilization. Wrap your material over the sticks to keep them in place.
3. Add Mud and Cloth
Begin to add a layer of mud over the cloth, and add additional strips of cloth. Add more layers of mud and fabric until the desired size and shape are reached (roughly the size and shape of a normal cast).
Once the mud dries, this crude-but-effective cast will be much heavier than a modern orthopedic cast. However, it is very supportive and made from available materials in almost any location.
It's important to keep in mind that this sort of cast will be a great deal heavier than an ordinary cast made of fabric and plaster or fiberglass. And while it may seem quicker and easier to simply slather mud on the affected limb and let it dry, applying cloth in alternating layers will go a long way towards strengthening and supporting the shape, much like rebar in cement. You should also wet the cloth first, as it will stick to the skin better and it will form a stronger bond with the mud.
This is an awesome take on backwoods first aid; it's certainly something worth adding to your mental skills checklist. For more tricks like this, check out Outdoor Life.
Featured Image via Outdoor Life