What is a Walking Boot?
A walking boot can be defined as a medical device worn during the treatment and recovery of a variety of foot injuries including soft tissue injuries. A walking boot is usually used as a part of the holistic orthopedic treatment that includes casts and leg braces, in addition to the boot in order to immobilize the injured foot and reduce the weight that is being put on it as a result of day-to-day activities.
Walking boots are also available in a more sophisticated form – known as CAM boot which is essentially a controlled ankle motion walking boot. It is a below-knee boot that facilitates the treatment as well as stabilization of severe pains, fractures, tears of the ligament or tendon injuries.
Walking Boots for Injured Foot, Ankle Sprains and Stress Fractures
Walking boots usually go by a number of names, including but not limited to orthopedic boot, medical boots, air cast boots, cast boot, and walker boot!
Some of the conditions for which your podiatrist might recommend the use of a walking boot may include – Ankle Sprain, Ankle Fractures, and Broken Foot (Plantar Fasciitis). These boots also come in handy to shorten the healing process after a surgery for broken ankle.
As you may have come to guess by now, the applications of walking boots are myriad, and so are their shapes, sizes, make, and models! For instance, depending on the condition you are suffering from your doctor may recommend you a specific type of walking boot a soft cast or a hard cast walker, air cast boot, short walking boot, tall walking boot, or an ankle cast!
Types of Orthopedic Walking Boots
Let us take a quick look at some of the most commonly used walking boot types, and what each of them entails.
High-Top Walking Cast
Also known as Tall Walking Boot, this boot type is the most popular one. Wrapping around the patient’s leg, right from the middle of the calf to the toes, such a cast is usually made of a hard, durable thick plastic layer on the outside, with superior cushioning inside for complete comfort. The boot can be easily strapped onto the leg, through the Velcro bands provided.
Tall walking boots prove to be ideal for – Sprained Ankle and/or Calf Support
Low-Top Walking Cast
As the name suggests, these walkers are built to offer protection to the leg starting from the toes to the lower part of the calf, often just above the ankle. That apart, they are quite similar in build to high-top walking casts.
Short Walking Boots such as the Ankle Walking Boot can prove to be ideal for enabling the healing of conditions of the ankle, heel, or lower leg in general.
Air Cast Boots
Air cast boots are a step forward from the conventional walkers, in the fact that they comprise a supportive air cushion that surrounds the leg to offer an additional level of support and comfort, that can be customized as per the user’s need. Not only does it offer added comfort, but such cushioning is known to ensure faster healing and enhanced mobility!
Yet another aspect that sets these boots with air cushions aside is that they can be used to transition between the phase of plaster casts to no cast at all. These boots offer much-needed protection to the leg while allowing the user to build up strength and enjoy a greater level of mobility than they had with the plaster cast.
FAQs About Ortho Boot
Does a walking cast help plantar fasciitis?
Yes, in fact, walking boots can be said to be one of the most effective treatments to heal the plantar fascia, and other injuries in the lower leg.
How long should you wear a walking boot for plantar fasciitis?
Orthopedic boots can often work wonders for immobilizing the injured area, while also reducing the pressure on the patient’s heel. While the duration to be worn is usually decided on the basis of the orthotist’s recommendation as well as the condition of the soft tissue trauma, an orthopedic boot can be easily worn for up to two weeks at a time.
Should I wear the boot while showering?
While it is ideal to keep wearing the boot while showering to avoid putting any undue weight on it, if you do not prefer getting the boot wet, you can simply remove it, and sit on a chair for your bath time. Of course, you can also cover the boot with a large plastic bag if you want to take a standing shower. This will help keep the boot dry while ensuring that you do not put any unwanted weight or pressure on the injured foot.
Should the walking boot be tight?
Not necessarily. The idea is to ensure that the foot is snug, and not tight, as excessive tightness can cause skin irritation by putting undue pressure. Besides, in hot climate areas, wearing the boot too tightly may prove to be a hindrance in keeping the foot dry.