General Question

cak's avatar

What are some ways to get past that claustrophobic feeling from a cast on the leg and foot?

Asked by cak (15750 points ) April 28th, 2009

I’ve been in casts before; however, this one – and it’s only been a matter of hours, is leaving me with this horrible closed in feeling. Which seems completely ridiculous, to me. I’ve never had one that was this big – foot and leg, just shy of my knee. I can’t stand to feel confined and it’s already leaving me fighting that feeling. Any hints on how to get past that feeling?

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17 Answers

Staalesen's avatar

Dont know, but if you find out how, telle me…Ended up in a cast aswell

cak's avatar

@Staalesen – Great, we’ll go crazy together!

Staalesen's avatar

@cak
Yep, but then again I just think we have to cope with it..

DIVIDEandCONQUER's avatar

cut the leg off.

casheroo's avatar

Are you wearing a boot? I had to wear one, it was removable, maybe you can go without it if you aren’t walking? I know I took mine off sometimes.
btw, what happened?

cak's avatar

@DIVIDEandCONQUER – I considered that already…a bit messy though.

@casheroo – no, it’s a full on cast. Green, too.

A few months back, I fell and had a small fracture – they put a splint on it, until I finished chemo. I was supposed to have it looked at right after chemo; however, the stubborn butt that I am, worked in the yard, with my husband and re-injured my ankle, this time, doing serious tendon damage and somehow I now have a bone fragment to deal with, as well. I’m in a cast, for several weeks, then I’ll be reevaluated for surgery. I’m just a klutz, it’s that simple.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

Take long mirror and sit down legs out in front of you. Put the mirror between your legs with the reflective surface facing the good leg. When you look at the mirror, it should look like you have two good legs. One in the mirror and your good one. The idea is to trick the brain into thinking your leg is not in a cast. You can do the same thing if you itch in the cast. It’s called mirror therapy.

3or4monsters's avatar

Does hiding the leg (say, under big skirts) help, or is the claustrophobia tripped off by the sensation of your leg feeling the cast?

RedPowerLady's avatar

What exactly is causing the claustrophobic feeling? Is it seeing something, feeling something, thinking something? It could be very helpful to identify what you are doing/thinking/feeling right before the feeling comes on intensely.

If it is a matter of your thoughts then once you recognize it occurring you immediately need to get yourself thinking about something else. It is much harder to get out of once you let it develop. Start watching a movie, doing a craft, or interacting with your family. Anything to get your mind off it. I find cooking helps. Absolutely do not let yourself go back to that thought. If this becomes stressful there may be herbal teas or smells you can use to relieve the tension. Such as lavender oil which works brilliantly for me.

lollipop's avatar

Cak, Is it possible they put the cast on a little too tight? Or possibly the ‘color’ green that triggers the feelings you are having? Did you pick the color? If not maybe they can put a white cast on an it wouldn’t ‘stand out’ as much so you wouldn’t be as prone to looking at it hopefully. Or is it just because it goes up to your knee that is bothering you? Maybe they could lower it a bit….

Or if this is a real difficult problem and gets worse maybe your doctor can give you something to help with the ‘claustrophobic’ feeling temporarily. I feel for you as I do get claustrophobic myself in some situations so can relate to the feeling and it is NOT FUN! Unfortunately, in your situation You can’t even get away from the problem since it is your leg an foot!

I will pray that the ‘feelings will diminish’ quickly for you! Hope you heal real fast!

cak's avatar

@RedPowerLady – I can’t stand anything that feels confining! They did allow some room; however, I finally figured out what was going on. It’s a combination of the lack of movement and the fact that my foot is forced into a position that I’ve been trying to avoid for days now – well, a few weeks. There is a lot of pain involved and the pain meds made me sick. I’m just miserable. The pain is really bad.

I have very few true fears that really will get to me, but any form of confinement can send me into a panic. I really didn’t think about it, before they put it on me.

I will try the teas and oil, if it becomes too much. Thank you for your time!

@lollipop hi! I was down to three color choices – the hot pink really was hard to look at, the purple was really ugly – green was about it. I think it’s just that getting used to it – adjustment time that I am not allowing myself to do, along with the pain and true dislike (and fear) of anything confining. Can you wear I don’t wear super tight clothes? I’m still feeling yucky about all of it, but I am trying to relax. trying

@Russel D SpacePoet & @3or4monsters – I covered my leg! I fell asleep for a little while, until I moved my leg, I almost had phased it out – I’ll try that again!

lollipop's avatar

Cak, there is a great herbal tea you might already know about called “Tension Tamer” I believe it is by Celestial Seasons possibly. It does work for me when I am tense or stressed, you might give that one a try.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@cak I understand. I’m also claustrophobic myself. Not in elevators or small spaces really but when it comes to being confined I get panicky as well. For example I hate the covers being over my head or getting tangled up in them. It makes sense that this issue would arise especially if there is pain involved. I would suggest finding ways to de-escalate the panicky feeling although I understand it is easier said than done.

@3or4monsters That was a wonderful example of Hakomi therapy (suggesting hiding the leg). :)

YARNLADY's avatar

When I felt overly confined in a sleeping bag once, I put on headphones and listened to my favorite jazz CD. Another trick I’ve hear of is to suck on a cough drop of lemon drop. It apparently takes your mind off the pain.

cak's avatar

@YARNLADY – I just read your suggestion, my daughter fished some lemon drops out of a bowl – I always have a few around. Sometimes, after chemo, it was the only thing I could stand. Thanks!

@everyone – thank you for answering my question. It might have seemed silly, but I was really having a terrible afternoon. This evening is a little better, I’m putting some of the suggestions in use and feel a bit better.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

I spent a summer in a cast like that once. I used a plastic ruler to dig down into it and scratch the itches I got. But aside from that small piece of advice, all I can do is commiserate and hope they take the damn thing off as soon as they can.

Kcmartini02's avatar

What worked for me the best was a hair dryer on cool setting….and alot of xanax :-)

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