How to Fit Your Walker Boot
Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Walker boots have changed the way we recover from fractures and tears in our lower legs, with smelly and inconvenient plaster casts dispensed of in favour of the removable and reusable alternative. Walker boots, also known as controlled ankle motion walking boots (or CAM boots for short), are an ideal option when immobilisation is needed but a small amount of weight bearing is still permitted. Like most pieces of medical equipment though, a walker boot will only do its job if it's applied correctly, so we've put together a short guide with some tips to make sure you get the correct fit, every time.
Walker Boot Basics
Whether you're using an Aircast Airselect Elite Walker Boot, an Ossur Rebound Air Walker Boot, or another alternative, your walker boot likely conforms to the usual design. This consists of a soft inner lining with hook and loop fasteners, a rigid frame to immobilise the leg, a hard plastic shell for protection, and an adjustable closure system to keep the fit firm and secure. As long as your boot conforms to this design, our short guide should be able to walk you through the fitting process.
Step One - Apply the Sock Liner
To start off, you'll need to apply a sock to prevent any discomfort during long hours of wearing the brace. An ideal option is the Aircast Walker Boot Replacement Sock, as it's long enough for most boots, and is designed to absorb sweat to prevent friction and discomfort. Apply the sock gently by scrunching it down, inserting your toes, and then slowly unbunching it as you pull it up, as you might with tights or nylons.
Step Two - Fully Open the Boot
To avoid discomfort while applying the boot, it should be as open as possible before you apply it. This means detaching ALL Velcro straps, which you can then hold back with one hand and place behind your injured leg before application.
Step Three - Slide Foot in and Release
With the Velcro straps still held by one hand to avoid obstruction, gently slide your foot and ankle into the open boot. Without obstruction you can slide your leg in without having to bend your ankle, making it as comfortable as possible. Once your foot and ankle are fully in, you can release the Velcro straps for tightening.
Step Four - Tighten the First Strap
Start the tightening process with the first strap closest to your toes. Pull it through the threading loop on the other side of the boot and attach it to the Velcro on the other side. The tightening of the first strap is especially important, as it will dictate how much the boot constricts your foot and will guide the tightness of the other straps. It should be tight enough to restrict foot and ankle movement, but not so tight that it cuts off circulation.
Step Five - Tighten from the Bottom-Up
From this point you can start tightening all of the straps to the same level as the first strap, starting with the lowest and ending with the highest. After that you can tentatively stand up and test if it's comfortable to place weight on the boot.
Walking with Your Boot
Walking with a walker boot may feel slightly odd at first. Most walker boots are rounded to provide a roll from heel to toe, therefore taking any of the normal ankle movement out of the walking process. If you feel pain walking with your boot at first, it is recommended that you try walking with a cane or a crutch until the pain subsides.
It's also recommended that you wear a shoe with the same height as your walker boot to avoid uneven pressure and an awkward walking gait. An ideal solution for this is an Evenup Shoe Balancer, which allows you to wear your normal shoes while providing an ideal level of elevation.
Can I Wear My Walker Boot While Asleep?
Depending on your injury, it is usually recommended that you sleep with your walker boot on so that you continue receiving support, and some added elevation. We would normally suggest that you leave the boot on, but with the straps loosened for comfort. You may find it useful to surround your injured foot with pillows to maintain support and prevent displacement, giving you some extra comfort and peace of mind while you sleep.
Any Other Walker Boot Tips?
These are the best tips from our experts at Health and Care, but the greatest innovations come from experience. If you have any tips you use with your walker boot, or any questions, feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter!